New paper considers Blake’s influence on Korean ecological criticism

William Blake has a special role to play in this new study of the work of Kim Jong-cheol

Issue 79 of Korean Poetry Studies includes a new paper that explores the impact of Blake on a Korean critic by Ji-Yeon Im, "The Meaning of Poetry/poet in Kim Jong-cheol's Ecological Criticism":

The purpose of this paper is to reconstruct the meaning of poetry and poet in Kim Jong-cheol's ecological critique, ultimately laying the groundwork for systematizing his ecological poetry. From literary criticism in the 1970s to ecological criticism in the 2000s, Kim Jong-cheol continuously gave special meaning to “poetry”. By revealing its meaning from the perspective of continuity, we tried to capture the poetic personality of Kim Jong-cheol's ecological criticism.

This paper was approached by dividing it into a period of research on William Blake in the 1970~80s and a period of focusing on ecological criticism in the 1990~2000s. In the first period, Kim Jong-cheol secured the characteristics of three poem/poet in the process of interpreting Blake's poems. These are strong arguments for criticism of modern civilization, humanistic imagination of restoring paradise, and moral perspectives. In the second period, Kim Jong-cheol led practical ecological criticism as the publisher of 『Green Criticism』. In Kim Jong-cheol's ecological critique, poetry acts as an pedagogy that creates desires that are qualitatively different from modern times. Kim Jong-cheol transformed poetry beyond systems and forms into an informal one with the mind of 'all things are brothers'. He also recognized poetry as a function that aims for a non-modern life along with its fundamental utility. In Kim Jong-cheol's ecological criticism, poetry has become an pedagogy that creates desires that are qualitatively different from modern times.

This paper approached the characteristics of Kim Jong-cheol's ecological poetry from the 1970s in terms of continuity. The meaning of poetry composed by Kim Jong-cheol is close to an pedagogical function that criticizes modern times and aims for a non-modern life. Furthermore, it can be seen that poetry has the characteristic of transitioning from the form of modern literature to a non-modern literary form without letters.

Ji-Yeon Im is a member of faculty at the Institute of Body & Culture at Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea.

"The Meaning of Poetry/poet in Kim Jong-cheol's Ecological Criticism"" can be downloaded from the Korean Studies Information Service System (open access, Korean).