Gas Light

The Poems of Kim Gwang-gyoon

By Kim Gwang-gyoon
Translated by Kyongjoo Hong Ryou
Introduction by Kyongjoo Hong Ryou
Notes by Kyongjoo Hong Ryou

Subjects: Poetry
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781930337299, 150 pages, August 2010

Table of contents


Part I. Lights around the Station: an Elegy

The Little Star and the Hill
Lights around the Station: an Elegy
By the Seashore with Waves
Leaning on a Window at Dusk
That Night on a Carriage

Part II. Gas Light

On Sunflowers
An Afternoon Sketch
A Pallid Walk
The Paper Lantern
A Lakeside Image
Upon the Mountain
The Mural
Nostalgia's Design
A Plaster's Remembrance
Trees  Along the Road
In a Foreigner's Village
Night Rain
Sea Breeze
Around a Starlit Lake
A Boy's Longing
Gas Light
A Vacant Lot
In a Public Square
In Shinchon
The Lamp
The Garden

Part III. A Port of Call

Snowy Night
The Night Train
The Desolate
At Nokdong Cemetery
Song of Antithesis
A Monument
Mangwoo Ri
The Silver Spoon and Chopsticks
High Noon
A Bouquet of Condolence
Soochul Li
A Short Lyric
A Spectral Light
Un Dessin
Autumn Scenery
Snow Falling in Janggok-chunjung
A Poem Written on a Snowy Night
The Downtown Area
Part IV. Twilight Elegy
Peach Blossoms and Swallows
The Train Whistle
The Cuckoo Bird
Gooi  Ri
Writing Poetry Is Now Meaningless
Wind Elegy
Twilight Elegy
A Gloomy and Windy New Year
The Horse Carriage
Lu Xun
By the Sea on Chusuk
Images of Home Thoughts
Youngdo Bridge
A Dialogue
My Old Home
Remembrance of Yiwon
The Mountains and Fields
A Landscape
The Station
A Coffee Room
A Short Piece
Ode to American Soldiers
At the UN Cemetery
Jedang Passed Away to My Disbelief
The Inner Room

Part V. Imjin Flower

The Wooden Statues
Hallyeosoo Isles
An Autumn Ode
To Revolving Cycles of Life
Magnolia, Again
The Mountain I
A November Song
A Ruined Park
A May Flower
Autumn Scenery II
The Black Snow
Imjin Flower
A Winter Light


"A Short Piece"

It must be that the azaleas
Bloom at dawn
And fall at dusk.

Over the low pine grove
Behind the rocks in Samchung Dong
They droop
Whenever the clouds pass.

All through April
Unnoticed by any
This year's azaleas also
Must be blooming in the shade
And falling in the shade.

Kim Gwang-gyoon (1914–1993) started his poetic career by contributing to major Korean newspapers in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Considered one of the most prominent modernist poets in Korea, Kim often wrote in styles that resembled those of T. E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot. Many of Kim's poems written during the Japanese military rule over Korea deal with his concept of "painting-like poetry," depicting landscapes and ideas in vivid imagery reminiscent of William Carlos Williams' early poems. After Korea's liberation in 1945, and especially after the division of the country into North and South, Kim turned to lamenting and elegizing various sorts of loss—of his hometown, of his family members and friends, of his past loves and passions. He is also noted for the nearly forty-year-long hiatus he took from poetry following the Korean War; he did not return to the literary scene until the late 1980s. Among his major works are Gas Light, A Port of Call, Twilight Elegy, and Imjin Flower.