The Making of a National Bard: Poetry and Politics of Walt Whitman and Ko Un

By Jihee Han.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Both Walt Whitman and Ko Un share a similar vision of poetry and politics because both poets struggle through historical turmoil, try to sing for the common people living in shifting political climates, and finally forge a national epic of their people en-masse. In addition, both Whitman and Ko Un truly succeed in representing their ambitious poetic vision of a nation by actively engaging in the dialogues and discourses of their times. Thus, this paper illuminates how each poet defines the poet’s role, puts out the democratic principle of ‘the many in one’ and ‘one in the many’ and presents some memorable American and Korean characters as realistically as possible in Leaves of Grass and Ten Thousand Lives. Ultimately, this paper celebrates both poets as great monuments of democracy, each of whom will be remembered as representatives of the American and the Korean Sublime.

Keywords: Ko Un, Korean Grassroots, Ten Thousand Lives, Han and Jeong, Whitman, Democratic En-Masse, Leaves of Grass, National Bard

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.305-326. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 938.831KB).

Prof. Jihee Han

Associate Professor, English Department, College of Humanities, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Gyeongnam, South Korea

Jihee Han is Associate professor of English at Gyeongsang National University, the Republic of Korea. She received her B.A and M.A in English from Yonsei University and her Ph.D in English from the University of Tulsa. Her research areas are Modern American Poetry, Modern Korean Literature, World Literature, Comparative Culture and Literature, Cultural Studies and Feminism. She has published many essays on Adrienne Rich, Walt Whitman, and Langston Hughes, World Literature, and Korean poetry and novels. Her publications on Korean culture and literature are: “On Korea” in Cultural History of Reading, ed. by Gabrielle Watling (Greenwood 2010), “Korean Novelists and Novels” in World Novels, ed. by Michael Sollars (Facts on File 2009), “Korean Poets and Poetry” in World Poetry, ed. By Victoria Arana (Facts on File 2008).

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