CKS Symposium: Musan Cho Oh-hyun and the Sound of Human Spirit

Musan Cho Oh-hyun and the Sound of Human Spirit

Korean Literature on the Global Stage

March 20, 2015
DATE March 20, 2015
LOCATION Richard and Rhoda Goldman Theater
David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
SPONSOR/S Center for Korean Studies

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Poster | Program


Please join us Friday, March 20th for a conversation and book signing with Musan Cho Oh-hyun.

Cho Oh-hyun, who writes under the Buddhist name Musan, was born in 1932 in Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province of Korea. He has lived in the mountains since he became a novice monk at the age of seven. In 2007, he received the Cheong Chi-yong Literary Award for his book Distant Holy Man. The lineage holder of the Mt. Gaji school of Korean Nine Mountains Zen, he is in retreat as the Patriarch of Baekdamsa Temple at Mt. Seoraksan.

A symposium celebrating Korean poetry and Cho Oh-hyun's works in particular has been organized by the Center for Korean Studies. The event will host a number of well known writers, musicians, academics, and scholars—a celebration of Korean Literature on the Global Stage.

Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear Cho Oh-hyun speak and get a book of his poetry autographed by the author and translators, free.

Signed Books Available

Collected works of Cho Oh-hyun's poetry (in Korean) — edited by Youngmin Kwon
Collected and translated works of Cho Oh-hyun's poetry (in English) — edited by Heinz Insu Fenkl


2:00-2:15 Opening Remarks: Clare You

2:15-3:30 Keynote Addresses

"What is Korean Sijo?"
Speaker: David McCann, Harvard University
David McCann will introduce the sijo form, a Korean vernacular verse form that functioned as a counterpart to the Classical Chinese-language poetry of pre-modern times. He will also discuss two well-known examples of sijo from the 16th century, present the poem in its traditional Korean musical performance setting, explore what happens when it shifts to a Western melody, and finally describe and read some examples of sijo as an English-language verse form from his book Urban Temple: Sijo, Twisted and Straight.

"Translating the Untranslatable: Cho Oh-hyun's Sijo as Hwadu Practice"
Speaker: Heinz Insu Fenkl, SUNY New Paltz
Even among Zen (Seon) sijo, Cho Oh-hyun's works are distinct for their interpenetration of form and genre. Because they begin with the fundamental idea that words cannot represent the phenomena themselves, his poems present an unexpected challenge to the translator. By considering the poems as hwadu, which cannot be resolved through rational language, and by viewing the poems in the context of the Zen tradition—a transmission "beyond words and letters" and "outside the scriptures"—it is possible to approach their underlying direction by means unorthodox in the normal practice of translation.

3:30-3:50 Coffee Break

3:50-5:10 A Dialogue with Cho Oh-hyun: Youngmin Kwon (Moderator), Jiwon Shin (Interpreter)

5:10-6:00 Reading and Performance

Reading: Sung-ran Hong (Sijo Poet), Heinz Insu Fenkl (SUNY New Paltz)
Performance: Yookyung Lee (Singer), Jin Ho Khoe (Daegeum Player), Serin Hong (Gayageum Player)

6:00-7:00 Reception


Cho Oh-hyun writes under the Buddhist name Seorak Musan. He has lived in the mountains since he became a novice monk at the age of seven. Over the years he has written over a hundred poems, including many in sijo form. He is in retreat as the Patriarch of Baekdamsa Temple at Mt. Seoraksan.

Clare You taught and coordinated the Korean language program at UC Berkeley and also served as Chair of the Center for Korean Studies. She is the recipient of the Korean Silver Medal of Culture in recognition of her contributions to Korean education abroad and cultural exchanges between Korea and the United States. She has also co-authored Korean textbooks and translated Korean poems, short stories, essays, and research articles into English. Many of her translations have appeared in magazines and journals in the United States and South Korea.

David McCann, Korea Foundation Emeritus Professor of Korean Literature at Harvard University, has received the Korea P.E.N. Center Translation Prize, the Korean Order of Cultural Merit, and the Manhae Prize in Arts and Sciences. His book publications include a translation of Kim Sowol's Azaleas: A Book of Poems (Columbia University Press, 2007), his own book of poems entitled The Way I Wait for You (Codhill Press, 2007), and a book of his sijo poems entitled Urban Temple: Sijo, Twisted and Straight (Bo Leaf Press, 2010; Korean and English dual language edition published by Changbi Publishers, 2012).

Heinz Insu Fenkl is a novelist, translator, and editor. His novel Memories of My Ghost Brother was named a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection in 1996 and a PEN/Hemingway Award finalist in 1997. His most recent translation of Yi Mun-yol's short story "An Anonymous Island" was published in the September 12, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. He was born in 1960 in Bupyeong, South Korea.

Youngmin Kwon is currently Visiting Professor of Korean Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley. He is an Emeritus Professor at Seoul National University and Chair Professor of Korean Literature at Dankook University. He has published numerous works of modern Korean Literature, including History of Modern Korean Literature (in Korean, 2002) and The Encyclopedia of Modern Korean Literature (in Korean, 2004). He is co-editor, with Bruce Fulton, of Modern Korean Fiction (Columbia University Press, 2005), and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Culture and Art Critics Award of Seoul (1988), Modern Korean Literary Critics Award (1990), Manhae Academic Prize (2006), and Academic Research Award of Seoul National University (2009).

Jiwon Shin is Assistant Professor in the School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University. Her research covers various topics on media and memory in pre-modern and modern Korean literature and cultural history.

Sung-ran Hong is a sijo poet whose poems are known for their delicacy of expression. She has published several books of her sijo poetry, including Hwang Jin Yi Byeolgok, Warm Sorrow, Winds Blow, longing day, and A Dance. Her numerous awards include the Jungang Sijo Grand Prix, Korean Cultures and Arts Award, and Korean Sijo Grand Prix. She teaches poetry at Sungkyunkwan University and is also Director of Yusim Sijo Academy and Executive Editor of Yusim, a monthly poetry magazine.

Yookyung Lee is Master of Korean Heritage Song Gagok. She studied Korean traditional music at Seoul National University.

Jin Ho Khoe is a daegeum player and leader of the Korean traditional music ensemble group GOMOOL. He studied Korean traditional arts at Seoul National University.

Serin Hong is a gayageum player and member of Seoul Metropolitan Korean Music Orchestra. She studied Korean traditional music at Seoul National University.


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