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Yi Tal
Translated from the Korean by Ian Haight and T’ae-yong Hŏ
Published: Fri Jul 1 2016
Art: Andrea Chung
River Journey

Translated from the Korean by Ian Haight and T’ae-yong Hŏ

 

A road lines the river bank for ten li—
trampled by horses, fallen flowers perfume the way.
Do not say I fruitlessly wander near lakes and over mountains—
I have more than enough: a new poem and full silk purse.

 

Yi Tal was one of three chief promulgators of the T’ang style in Korean poetry. The simplicity and straightforwardness of his poetry proved a powerful influence on his students, two of whom would later be remembered as among the most important classical writers in Korean literature (Nansŏrhŏn and Kyun Hŏ). Despite his intelligence, Yi was denied any meaningful position or service because he was the son of a concubine. He spent his days wandering the Korean peninsula and visiting friends, mostly living in poverty.

Ian Haight has won Ninth Letter‘s Literary Award in Translation and has been awarded translation grants by the Daesan Foundation, the Korea Literary Translation Institute, and the Baroboin Buddhist Foundation. With T’ae-yong Hŏ, he is the translator of Borderland Roads: Selected Poems of Kyun Hŏ and Magnolia and Lotus: Selected Poems of Hyesim, finalist for the American Literary Translators Association’s Stryk Prize (both from White Pine Press). He is also the editor of Zen Questions and Answers from Korea (White Pine). His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in Barrow Street, The Writer’s Chronicle, and Prairie Schooner. (10/2016)

Yi Tal (1561—1618) was one of three chief promulgators of the T’ang style in Korean poetry. The simplicity and straightforwardness of his poetry proved a powerful influence on his students, two of whom would later be remembered as among the most important classical writers in Korean literature (Nansŏrhŏn and Kyun Hŏ). Despite his intelligence, Yi was denied any meaningful position or service because he was the son of a concubine. He spent his days wandering the Korean peninsula and visiting friends, mostly living in poverty.

Ian Haight has won Ninth Letter’s Literary Award in Translation and has been awarded translation grants by the Daesan Foundation, the Korea Literary Translation Institute, and the Baroboin Buddhist Foundation. With T’ae-yong Hŏ, he is the translator of Borderland Roads: Selected Poems of Kyun Hŏ and Magnolia and Lotus: Selected Poems of Hyesim, finalist for the American Literary Translators Association’s Stryk Prize (both from White Pine Press). He is also the editor of Zen Questions and Answers from Korea (White Pine). His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in_ Barrow Street_, AGNI OnlineThe Writer’s Chronicle, and Prairie Schooner. For more information visit ianhaight.com. (updated 10/2016)
T’ae-yong Hŏ has won _Ninth Letter’s Literary Award in Translation and has been awarded translation grants by the Daesan Foundation and Korea Literature Translation Institute. With Ian Haight, he is the translator of Borderland Roads: Selected Poems of Kyun  and _Magnolia and Lotus: _Selected Poems of Hyesim (both from White Pine Press). Translated from the original classical Chinese, Hŏ’s renditions of Korean poetry have appeared in RunesAGNI OnlineNew Orleans Review, and _Atlanta Review. (updated 10/2016)
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