When I first met Hong Shin-seon, I could recognize at a glance that he was a poet because of the deep crow's feet on his face.
His complete collection of poetry was published in February. "The book represents 40 years of my life as a poet," said Hong.
He got into the habit of reading books in middle school. He said reading books every night until sunrise was a great pleasure. An Evil Man (魔人), written by Kim Rae-sung, was his favorite book which he read over and over again.
In high school, he joined a literature club. That is when Hong was inspired to be a writer.
#1960s- Color of Vermilion#
Hong explained the periods of his work with colors.
He launched his verse to the world in 1965 based on the mental state of human beings influenced by Modernism. He expressed the '60s as vermilion, the color of fear.
#1970s- Color of Gray#
The overwhelming strain of face-to-face confrontation, thick smoke and teargas bombs, clamoring crowds yearning for freedom and a spreading sea of blood were his ash-colored proses of the '70s.
#1980s- Color of Ocher#
Staying at his hometown Hawseong, Hong compose lyric poetry from the joy and charm of rural life. You can smell the pure soil from his 1980s' odes.
#Nowadays- Color of Royal Purple#
Buddhism influenced Hong to write about raison d'e tre of object. "When the sun goes down, it dyes the sky royal purple. My poetry was up in the sky like the sun, and now it is emitting the royal color by going down."
As a professor of Creative Writings Major at Dongguk University, he compared the differences between students now and then, and about love and reading.
Hong first fell in love with a girl next door in his childhood. Even though he didn't express his feeling, he was happy just by loving her. But nowadays students express their love directly.
Another difference Hong mentioned was the number of books students read. He doesn't like it when students choose the Internet over reading books. "Volumes are my best teacher and the compass of my life. So I emphasis the reading of books to my disciples," said Hong in his study room filled with thousands of books.
My comfortable talk with the poet Hong Shin-seon made me feel the warmth of the purple twilight.
Son Jin-lee email@example.com
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