I have taught literary/cultural theory, modern British literature, and post colonial literature at Marygrove College. During the past five years, I have translated about 250 Korean poems into English and published them in journals and my own website (jaypsong.worldpress.com).
Around the time I was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer at the end of 2008, I was invited to participate on a collection of modern Korean literature, led by Columbia University and the Korean Literature Translation Institute. This work began my journey of translating Korean poems.
Through translation of Korean poetry, I wanted to share our Korean culture and literature with the rest of the world. More importantly, I wanted to let the world know that the canon of Korean literature reflects our deep desire for peace and justice. Because of my college experience in Gwangju in 1980, I found the literary work on the Gwangju Uprising to be a source of inspiration. I translated many poems about what transpired on May 18, 1980 in Gwangju. I also translated many Korean poems that invoke God’s peace and justice all over the world, beyond our region.
This has been a small, but very endearing project to me, just like Oh Dong Island’s camellias that blossom after a long winter. I would like to pray with you for God’s peace and justice on earth.
Thank you and I love you.
*Sincere appreciation to Anne Rashid and Darcy Brandel, who collaborated on the translation of these Korean poems.