Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger

The Three Way Tavern

Selected Poems

Un Ko (Author), Clare You (Translator), Richard Silberg (Translator), Gary Snyder (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 184 pages
ISBN: 9780520246133
April 2006
$23.95, £16.95
Ko Un, the preeminent Korean poet of the twentieth century, embraces Buddhism with the versatility of a master Taoist sage. A beloved cultural figure who has helped shape contemporary Korean literature, Ko Un is also a novelist, literary critic, ex-monk, former dissident, and four-time political prisoner. His verse—vivid, unsettling, down-to-earth, and deeply moving—ranges from the short lyric to the vast epic and draws from a poetic reservoir filled with memories and experiences ranging over seventy years of South Korea's tumultuous history from the Japanese occupation to the Korean war to democracy. This collection, an essential sampling of his poems from the last decade of the twentieth century, offers in deft translation, as lively and demotic as the original, the off-beat humor, mystery, and mythic power of his work for a wide audience of English-speaking readers. It showcases the work of a man whom Allen Ginsberg has called "a magnificent poet, a combination of Buddhist cognoscente, passionate political libertarian, and naturalist historian," who Gary Snyder has said is "a real-world poet!" who "outfoxes the Old Masters and the young poets both," and who Lawrence Ferlinghetti has described as "no doubt the greatest living Korean Zen poet today."
Contents
Foreword Gary Snyder
Introduction Clare You

FROM Song of Tomorrow (1992)
Today
Song of That Day
Front of a Tree
The Woman of Kageo Island
Arirang
Grand Dame Choi Kumja
Strange Land
Cold Mountain
First
Memorial Night
Song of Innocence
Kangaroo
A Boat
My Resume
The Cow Is Laughing
You and I
A Slice of Old Moon
Sosan Granny
Confucius, One Day

FROM The Road Ahead (1993)
Majung Village
Ignorant Man
Empty Field
Memories
My Spring
After Stacking the Chopped Pines
The Poem in Last Night’s Dream
In the Woods
Mother’s Dew
Chirping of a Cricket
A Cup of Green Tea
Grandfather’s Advice
The Road Ahead

FROM A Cenotaph (1997)
My Poems
Forgetting
Going Over Ssari Hill
By the Window
Sumano Pagoda
Fallacy
The Poet
Poems of the Peninsula
Hometown
Once there was a teacher more than eighty years old
A Cenotaph
Anapurna
Lullaby
The Voice of Baekdam Monastery
Alone One Day
About the Time Crepe Myrtles Bloomed
Lion
Self-Portrait
Spring News
Sadness
The Winter Sky
Breeze
Salmon
Back Home
Passing through a Mountain Village
The Croaking of Frogs
At Buan Gomso
After a Hangover
But
Empty Hands

FROM Ten Thousand Lives (1986 – )
Traveler
January Full Moon
Morning Rooster
Women of Sunjeri
The Street Kids
Byong’ogi
Mansooni, Comfort Woman
Letters
Aunt
Uncle Jaemoon
A Good Day
Planting Rice
Mountain Well
Mitsukoshi Department Store
Lark
Kasame Salt Flats
Sudong’s Swallows
Ch’ilyong’i
Chungdu’s Mother
Ttaoggi
Tavern Justice
Three-Headed Eagle
YH Kim Kyungsook

FROM Ko Un’s Son Poems: What? (1991)
Echo
Owl
Baby
Coming Down the Mountain
Bushman
Looking Back
Drunkard
Friend
The Three Way Tavern
Late Summer
Tsetse Fly
Moon
Green Frog
Held in Your Arms
Cuckoo
Way
Winds
Cheju’s Reed Field
Mosquito
House
Summer
From A Cenotaph:Cheju Island

FROM The Whisper (1998)
Afterlife
Suddenly
Stars and Flowers
Unlike Laozi
You
Confession
Peace
A Certain Song
Meeting Myself
Barley Field
Mustard Flowers in April
Early Spring
Searching for the Cow
Coda: The Thuja Fence
Notes
Ko Un is author of Beyond Self: 108 Korean Zen Poems and The Sound of My Waves: Selected Poems of Ko Un as well as more than 100 volumes of poetry, short stories, fiction, criticism, essays, and children's literature, many of which have been best-sellers. His many awards include the Korean Literary Writers Award, Manhae Literary Award, and the Daesan Literary Award. Ko Un was Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University. Clare You, Chair, Center for Korean Studies, University of California, Berkeley, has received the Korean National Silver Medal of Culture, and is author of two language textbooks including College Korean. Richard Silberg, associate editor of Poetry Flash, is author of five books of poetry and the book of essays Reading the Sphere. You and Silberg have also co-translated the poems of Oh Sae-Young.
“An author (and a collection) worth reading.”—Literary Saloon, Complete Review
“This volume of diverse poems written during the last decade of the twentieth century and thoughtfully introduced and translated by You and Silberg,l his American audience should grow.”—Booklist
"These poems have magic."—Willis Barnstone, author of Sweetbitter Love: Poems of Sappho

"Ko Un's work springs from a passionate dedication to the task of making whole again the narratives of the disrupted lives of Korea's people. No one has done more for what is coming gradually but ever more clearly to be recognized as Korea's literature of the twenty-first century."—David McCann, Director of the Korea Institute at Harvard University

"Ko Un is a crucial poet for the twenty-first century and this is an enormously fresh and vivid translation."—Robert Hass

Lifetime Recognition Award, Griffin Trust

Winner, Northern California Book Award in Translation, Northern California Book Reviewers (NCBR)

Join UC Press


Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more