Sharing JP’s letter written in January 2013

Hi everyone,

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 ( 

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.

JP Song

*Sincere appreciation to Anne Rashid and Darcy Brandel, who collaborated on the translation of these Korean poems. 

5 thoughts on “Sharing JP’s letter written in January 2013

  1. Thank you for sharing this letter. I found this site during the pandemic and returned to it over and over to read the poems. 읽으면서 위로를 많이 받았습니다. I still come here regularly and am so grateful for the deep care and artistry with which Professor Song translated these poems. 수고 많았습니다; 감사합니다.

  2. I’ve been using this site to study Korean with my parents and learn more about Korean literature – it’s been so helpful. Thank you for this site and all your work!

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