September 2, 2016 Ko Un, Acclaimed Korean Poet, to Read at Library Sept. 19

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Rob Casper (202) 707-5394

The Library of Congress will present Ko Un, a distinguished Korean poet, in a reading on Sept. 19. Ko will read his poetry in Korean and Brother Anthony of Taizé will read the English translations.

The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The reading is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.

The presentation will be hosted by the Library in collaboration with MANOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing and with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea), a center for promoting Korean literature and culture worldwide. The reading will celebrate MANOA’s publication of its issue 27:2, “The Colors of Dawn: Twentieth-Century Korean Poetry,” which is guest-edited by Brother Anthony and Chung Eun-Gwi. “The Colors of Dawn” features more than 40 poets whose works tell the story of Korea’s struggles in the 20th century.

The reading will be followed by a moderated discussion with MANOA Series Editor Frank Stewart. The Library's Asian Division will present a tabletop display of Ko’s works in Korean and English.

Dongfang Shao, chief of the Asian Division, said Ko is “widely acknowledged as Korea's foremost contemporary poet, with an astonishing collection of more than 100 books,” and that Ko “plays a pivotal role in enhancing Korea’s appreciation of the art of poetry. The Asian Division is honored to be part of an event that brings Ko Un to the American public.”

Seong-Kon Kim, president of LTI Korea, says, “Ko Un is acknowledged as Korea's most prolific and revered poet. Brother Anthony is an acclaimed translator who has published more than 30 Korean poetry books over the last 20 years, including several of Ko Un's anthologies. We are very pleased to be part of this event and excited to see what this event will bring to the community.”

Ko was born in Korea, in Gunsan-si, Jeollabuk-do, in 1933. After surviving the Korean War, Ko became a Buddhist monk for a decade, during which time he published his first book of poetry. Since then, Ko has published more than 100 books, including translations of his poetry into English and other languages. Ko has twice won the South Korean Literature Prize and received the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award. He was elected chairman of the Association of Writers for National Literature and was chosen president of the Compilation Committee of the Grand Inter-Korean Dictionary. Ko has taught at Seoul National University, Kyonggi University, Harvard University, and the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in South Korea.

Brother Anthony of Taizé was born Anthony Graham Teague in Cornwall, England, in 1942. He joined the Taizé Community of France—an ecumenical monastic order dedicated to spreading the message of trust and reconciliation—in 1969. He has been living in South Korea since 1980. Emeritus professor of Sogang University (Seoul) and chair-professor at Dankook University, he is currently president of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch. He has published some 40 volumes of translations of Korean literature, mostly poetry, including 10 volumes of works by Ko Un. He received the Korean government’s Award of Merit in October 2008 for promoting knowledge of Korean literature in the world. In 2012, he was awarded an honorary MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions to Korea-British relations.

Launched in 1989, MANOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing strives to bring the literature of Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas to English-speaking readers. To date, the journal has published 50 volumes, about 10,000 pages, featuring more than 1,200 writers, translators, reviewers, and editors. In addition, MANOA sponsors readings, exhibits, performances and other events.

The Literature Translation Institute of Korea was established in 2001 to share Korean literature with the global population. LTI Korea plays an important role in globalizing Korean literature, promoting the international publication of Korean literature and books through high quality translation. LTI Korea offers training courses for future translators to guarantee the professional translation of Korean literature and sponsors diverse international exchange programs in order to introduce Korean literature to the world more effectively.

The Asian Division at the Library of Congress, with collections of more than one million volumes, is the largest repository of Asian vernacular language materials outside of Asia. These materials reflect a broad range of subjects and include titles from East, South, and Southeast Asia, as well as Asian American and Pacific Islander materials. The Asian Reading Room is the primary public access point for researchers seeking to use the Asian collections of the Library of Congress in the many languages of Asia. For more information, visit

The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress fosters and enhances the public's appreciation of literature. The center administers the endowed poetry chair (the U.S. Poet Laureate) and coordinates an annual literary season of poetry, fiction and drama readings, performances, lectures and symposia, sponsored by the Library's Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund and the Huntington Fund. For more information, visit

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at, and register creative works of authorship at


PR 16-149
ISSN 0731-3527