The Poet by Yi Mun-yol

The Poet is an interesting read from out of Korea. Yi tells the story of Korean poet Kim Pyong-yon; his poems and his life while wandering around Korea. Yi offers insight as to how changes in Kim’s life affected his poetry style over time. He also touches on the universal themes; love, family, and prejudices. This is a novel, based on fact and national legends of Korea’s homegrown poet.

I found this book intriguing, but difficult to read. Perhaps it was just an issue of the flow getting lost in translation. Perhaps if I had read the poems of Kim Pyong-yon previously or had heard the legends of his life I would have had an easier time reading Yi’s novel.

I did appreciate the descriptions of Korea, the sense of Korean culture and the history that Yi portrays in his book. Despite the difficulties I had while reading, I am always interested in discovering new and different cultures.

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