Poet Oh Eun points out absurdity of Korean society, modern civilization
Poet Oh Eun points out absurdity of Korean society, modern civilization
  • Deputy Feature Editor Yeu Min-yul
  • 승인 2022.08.26 17:44
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'Pigs of Hotel Tassel' draws a lot of attention as a collection of his poems

Poet Oh Eun, born in 1982, made his debut in the monthly magazine, “Modern Poetry,” in 2002 at the age of 20. His first collection of poems, “The Pigs of Hotel Tassel,” drew a lot of attention. In this anthology, he deconstructed, reassembled, and pointed out the absurdity of not only Korean society but also modern civilization in his own way. Reviews were mixed. Some even regarded it as merely the simple style of a young poet, some even called it revolutionary. The evaluation of him was as hot as the confrontation. Perhaps the heat could be the poet's own enthusiasm already embedded in his play of cold words.

Poet Oh Eun
Poet Oh Eun

That heat made him continue his next move. The following collections of poems, ‘We Love the Mood’ and ‘Existence to Existence,’ the people's situation was getting worse. The rules that move Korean society are being replaced by the 'survival' rules, and there was only loneliness and anxiety in the replaced place. The heavy atmosphere of this society was captured and overturned by the poet's intentional 'sense of playing with words'. Archimedes, a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, said, “If you give me a lever and a place to support it, I can move the earth.” Under the thought, only with a light pen and paper, he can lift a society that's sinking, no matter how heavy it is, Oh Eun wrote poems lightly. The heavy atmosphere surrounding us was lifted lightly in his poetry book. “I wanted to write the heaviest poem with only the lightest words,” the poet said.

A collection of poems connected from “My Left Hand Hurts My Heart” to “I Had a Name.” By the poet Oh Eun's light sense of play, which he picked up from the heaviness, and the poet's own rhythm, which the poet Kim So-hyeong named 'Oh Eun language,' he had a microscopic view of human beings rather than the macroscopic view of society taken in previous poetry collections. He listened to life rather than the structure of society, and to the inner feelings of ordinary people around us rather than special people such as eccentric persons or masters. Poet Oh Eun said, “I wanted to record the people who influenced me without my knowledge.” However, in this private record, the special emotions that reside in ordinary humans, the society that is immersed in their lives, is still wriggling with his play of words.

According to Wikipedia, he was born in Jeongeup, Jeollabuk-do and graduated from Jeonju Wansan High School. After graduating from the Department of Sociology at Seoul National University, he received a master's degree from the Graduate School of Culture and Technology at KAIST.

He was awarded the 15th Park In-hwan Literary Award in 2014, the 1st Gu-sang Poetry Literary Award in 2018, and the 20th Contemporary Poetry Award in 2019.

He worked at Daum Soft, a big data company, for three years and six months, combining work life and literary activities.

Since 2018, he has been conducting 'Read Out Podcast Books' produced by Yes24.

His books include 'The Pigs of Hotel Tassel' (Mineumsa), 'We Love the Mood' (Munhak Dongnae), 'Existence to Existence' (Literature and Jisungsa), 'The Left Hand Hurts the Heart' (Modern Literature), 'I Had a Name' (Morning Moon). In addition, he published prose books such as 'You and Me and Yellow' (Nanda) and 'Comfort' (Nanda).

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