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. 

11 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!

  3. I’m delighted to have found this site to practice both poetry and my Korean studies yet also incredibly sad to hear of Professr Song’s passing. Thanks to everyone involved. It’s a lovely project.

  4. Still visit this website at least once a year. I have the poems in my notes, I just want to visit the place I found them.

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