Oh Kyu-won

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Oh Kyu-won
Born(1941-12-29)December 29, 1941
DiedFebruary 2, 2007(2007-02-02) (aged 65)
NationalitySouth Korean
Korean name
Revised RomanizationO Gyuwon
McCune–ReischauerO Kyuwŏn

Oh Kyu Won (December 29, 1941 – February 2, 2007) was a South Korean writer.[1]


Oh Kyu Won's original name was Oh Gyuok. Born on December 29, 1941[2] in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do, he attended Busan Teachers' School before graduating from the Law Department of Dong-a University. He was the president of the Munjangsa publishing company, and is presently a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.[3]


Oh Kyu Won's early poems use witty, sparkling, and ironic language in an effort to destroy established forms and provide a critique of the baseness and emptiness of capitalist consumer culture. Through the process of the endless deconstruction and regeneration of his poetic material, he refashioned everyday words and recognizable images in order to produce the “unconsciousness of modernity,” and in doing so capture certain realities of everyday life particular features of our mental landscape that are generally passed by unnoticed. His poems thus derive strength from the quotidian, but only by recreating and reconceptualizing it. Irony is another of Oh's techniques adopted to criticize a false and fetishistic ideal world. By thus lifting aspects of the mundane and banal up to his scrutinizing eye, out of the fabric of our “modern unconsciousness,” he captures the contradictory and complex features of the modern petit bourgeois and helps us to rediscover our own lives. Oh's poems also demonstrate the influence of the fable and his fascination with the most common of words, which often serve him as elements of parody and ironic critique.[3]

Oh Kyu Won's work has attempted to demolish old conceptual frames and stale assumptions and to look at the world in its naked reality. In order to do this, Oh frequently uses the technique of reversal:

The coffin of the man asphyxiated by coal briquet gas
Passes through the gate of the apartment dragging two men along
A lilac tree steps out of the crowd of onlookers and leaves reality in the company of the coffin.

Through such reversals of death and life, mobile and immobile, Oh tries to provide a fresh point of view, one that might even be characterized as Brechtian.[4]

Oh has received such prizes as the Contemporary Literature Prize and the Yeonam Literature Prize[3] as well as the Korea culture and arts prize for literature and I-San Literary Award.[2]

Works in Korean (Partial)[edit]

Collections and Anthologies

  • A Definite Event (Bunmyeonghan sageon) (1971)
  • A Pilgrimage (Sullye) (1973)
  • The Technique of Love (Sarangui gigyo) (1975)
  • To a Boy Who is not a Prince (Wangjaga anin han aiege) (1978)
  • A Lyrical Poem Written in this Land (I ttange ssuieojineun seojoengsi) (1981)
  • Living Making Hope (Huimang mandeulmyeo salgi) (1985)
  • Life Under Heaven (Hanuel araeui saeng) (1989)

Poetics & Composition

  • Reality and Stoicism (1982)
  • Language and Life (1983)
  • Methods of Modern Poetic Composition. (1990)



  1. ^ "Oh Kyu Won" biographical PDF available at LTI Korea Library or online at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Naver Search". http://people.search.naver.com/search.naver?sm=tab_hty&where=people&query=%EC%98%A4%EA%B7%9C%EC%9B%90&ie=utf8&x=-614&y=-27. Naver. Retrieved 8 November 2013. External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ a b c "Oh Kyu Won " LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  4. ^ Lee, Kyung-ho (1996). "Oh Kyu Won". Who's Who in Korean Literature. Seoul: Hollym. pp. 13–15. ISBN 1-56591-066-4.