Introduction – Lyric Poetry of Korea

(欽定詞譜, 흠정사보) (Source)

Imperial Compilation of Lyric Poetry Rubrics (欽定詞譜, 흠정사보) (Source)

I am only a hobbyist in Classical Chinese. As such, I have large blind spots that those formally educated in the subject might not have. For example, last year I was introduced to Lyric Poetry or Ci (詞, 사) by a subscriber and fellow blogger, Khoái Nhị Trà (快貳茶, 쾌이차). Previously, whenever I had come across them, I thought they were Archaic Style Poetry (古體詩, 고체시) in contrast to the familiar Recent Style Poetry (近體詩, 근체시). I did not realize that Lyric Poetry constituted such a substantial genre in Classical Chinese poetry and was marked by a definite structure.

To learn more, I started reading online sources in Korean about this genre and an anthology of Song dynasty Lyric Poetry with side-by-side original text and Korean translation. There were some aspects that I found familiar from my readings about Recent Style Poetry, but even more aspects that were new and different. As I became more and more accustomed with Lyric Poetry, I started wondering about how Korean poets had composed in this form. Surprisingly, I found that there are not that many Korean sources online on Lyric Poetry by Korean poets — at least not in an organized manner.

I thought it would be beneficial for others interested in this subject as well as my own further acquisition of the genre to examine Lyric Poetry by Korean poets using this blog. In the subsequent series of posts, I will explain the structure and form of Lyric Poetry and translate works from the following poets:

  • King Seonjong of Goryeo (高麗宣宗, 고려선종, 1049-1094, r. 1083-1094)
  • Yi Gyubo (李奎報, 이규보, 1164-1241)
  • Yi Jehyeon (李齊賢, 이제현, 1287-1367)
  • Won Cheonseok (元天錫, 원천석, 1338-?)
  • Kim Shiseup (金時習, 김시습, 1435-1493)
  • Heo Nanseolheon (許蘭雪軒, 허난설헌,  1563-1589)
  • Jeong Yakyong (丁若鏞, 정약용, 1762-1836)
  • Kim Yunshik (金允植, 김윤식, 1835-1922)

I might add or subtract authors from this series. Since I am fairly new to Lyric Poetry, any suggestions to my translations or any other form of assistance will be welcome.

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