Poets sometimes write a short commentary called “start note.” It is about their feeling when writing a poem or short words on their work when announcing a new poem. In fact, a start note is not common. Most poets refrain from adding explanations to their work. A poem should fly to the heart of a reader and live there as it is. If a poet’s commentary is added, the poem becomes heavy and will not be able to fly.
I, however, love all the start notes in the world. They are like poets speaking disrespectful about their own poems. Furthermore, poets write good start notes. Even if they are prose, they often read like poems. They contain more informationㅡand in a clearer wayㅡthan poems. So they are hard not to be interesting.
I came across this poem by Kim Sang-ok while looking through books published in the 1970s. There was a start note and it was about pride as a poet. He said there is part of him that wants to earn money with his poems but he will not be swayed by it. “Poetry is more valuable than any treasure and poets shine brighter than any personality,” Kim wrote.
This is the opposite of the mainstream understandings of the world. To say there is something more valuable than money is a forgotten philosophy and a belief far away from the mainstream. But what is forgotten does not mean it should be forgotten. I believe in his noble pride, his resolution that has stepped away from the mainstream. The poet tells us to live with less shame in a world, where wrinkles grow as day after day. Why do not we follow his advice even if it will not last even for three days? Because we are in a season, when the sun is dazzling.