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Longings pile up in poet’s bookstore

Posted July. 10, 2021 07:43,   

Updated July. 10, 2021 07:43


It has been five years since the author, a poet, opened a bookstore specialized in poetry collections in front of Sinchon Station in Seodaemun District, Seoul, in 2016. It was relocated in 2018 on the upper floor of the city’s famous old bookstore Dongyang Seorim in Jongno District. The place is full not only of books of poems but also of stories shared by people that the owner encounters at the bookstore.

You come across a feeling of excitement and hope that fills in every day on each page of books. A melody resonates across the bookstore without any hustle and bustle. Merely browsing through every corner of this lovely space makes the author feel content. Visitors are always welcome here.

Such small pieces of thoughts are compiled in 40 proses. A wind chime, a gift the author received, hangs on an air conditioner with a clink being part of the space. A mug of coffee shares a daily dose of sweetness with those who stay for a while at the bookstore. The author describes lightings, music sound and a spiral staircase up to the bookstore with the feelings and emotions that the bookstore arouses in his daily life as if he chitchatted with his close friends.

“People still love the spiral staircase. When you climb it up, I watch your crown of the head, face, chest and waist coming up in order. Once the whole of you appears in front of me to complete you as an avid reader of poetry, I get unbelievably captivated by such a marvelous sight. I feel the same when looking at you disappearing in reverse order,” says the author.

The author tells that he receives more than money that visitors pay for a book of poetry. Even in an era where just a few clicks deliver books to your home and workplace, we miss warmth of someone else – an interactive moment by way of books.

That is why the owner of the book says that not books but inquiries from visitors fill in the space. On a rainy day, a patron with puffy eyes from crying asks him what will help. The owner’s recommendation is Kim Yong-taek‘s poetry. He says with witty frankness that the most wanted question is, “Where can I find your book?”

Dusting books off with a gentle touch, he starts reading the stories that people leave in the bookstore after only books fill the void in a time of silence.

Seong-Taek Jeong neone@donga.com