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Kim Sun-hyang publishes a collection of poems

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Chairperson of Board of Trustees of University of North Korean Studies

Kim Sun-hyang publishes
a collection of poems

I used to write a couple of poems whenever I was in a good or bad mood. The number of poems written in that manner totaled 100 or more. I might have felt very sad if I had kept them in my PC only. I feel great as I saw them put into print.” This observation was made by Mrs. Kim Sun-hyang, wife of incumbent President Park Jae-kyu of Kyungnam University and former unification minister.

▲“A Diary of Poetry” authored by Chairperson Kim Sun-hyang

Recently, she published an anthology of poems called “A Diary of Poetry.” Mrs. Kim currently serves as chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Korean Studies.

She has authored a number of books relative to her specialized knowledge, including the “Elegies of John Donne.” But it was the first time in 33 years that she had published a book on her life.

Back in 1980, she published a ‘Broken Moon,’ a collection of essays which recorded her great pain arising from the loss of her first child.

Before she put the collection of poems into print, she asked her husband to comment about it.
He answered that it was considered ‘too negative.’ “That’s the reason that I worked to downsize the portion of sad stories. I have written some 120 poems in a span of 14 years, but only 100 poems were compiled into a ‘Dairy of Poems'."

It was in 1998 that she began to write poetry essays. That year her mother passed away after undergoing three surgeries. While being unable to walk, she lay in a bed of sickness for 10 years before she died. Determined to bury the past, Mrs. Kim began to write poetry diaries once or twice a month or whenever some painful incidents erupted.

In 2010, she had a concussion after falling down during a workout near a lake. At first, she had no idea that she suffered a concussion. She had her whole hair cut like a monk to undergo brain surgery. She put her 14 years of life experiences into the collection of poetry essays.

Of particular note, she was very much impressed when her husband, Park Jae-kyu, president of Kyungnam University, received an award from a former French President Jacques Chirac-founded organization in Paris in 2009. For his contribution to the peace of the Korean Peninsula, Park became a laureate of the Special Jury Prize for the first Conflict Prevention Prize. Park served as the unification minister between 1999 and 2001 under the administration of the late President Kim Dae-jung.

Chairperson Kim (center) with Madam Lyudmila Fen, spouse of the Uzbek ambassador (left), and Chief Consultant Kim Cho-won of Korea National Red Cross on Women's Service.
Mrs. Kim put her impressions into a 100-line epic poet. She also wrote some poems about her husband’s memorable visit to Pyongyang, capital of North Korea in the capacity of unification minister and other accomplishments.

Poet and Kyungnam University Professor Chung Il-keun commented: “I was much very touched by a Dairy of Poems which is honest recordings of her experiences. All the more, I feel like that I viewed a documentary called ‘Life’ upon reading all the 100 poems.”

During her high school days, Mrs. Kim was fond of literature. She was a writing competition finalist. She majored in English literature at Ewha Womans University and Fairleigh Dickinson University of the United States.

Asked whether she will continue to write poems, Ms. Kim had this to say: “Becoming a professional poet should become a great honor for me. In view of my advanced age, however, it may be too late for me to become a professional poet. I am going to write poems whenever I am inclined to do so.” k

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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