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A Song of Melancholy Youth: Black Leaf in My Mouth by Ki Hyongdo


The year 2009 marked the 20th anniver-sary of the death of Ki Hyongdo. Anthologies were published in his honor, and memorial services were held. It seemed that to those who gathered at a small café mourning him, Ki Hyongdo was more of a historical symbol representing an era, and the name of youth that was to be remembered forever, than a deceased poet. It’s not just a handful of readers who remember him this way. Twenty years after his death, Ki Hyongdo is one of the poets most beloved by Korean readers, especially the young. Born in 1960, Ki Hyongdo died a sudden death at age 29 in a rundown theater in a big city. He published ingenious poems during his life as a journalist, but was unable to gain recognition in his lifetime. Black Leaf in My Mouth, published in 1989, is a posthumous collection. The collection, however, created a great sensation. It set an unprecedented sales record for a collection of poetry, and has sold over 400,000 copies thus far.




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