Fugitive Dreams

Fugitive Dreams, by Sowol Kim

Fugitive Dreams

by Sowol Kim; selected & translated by Jaihiun Kim and Ronald B. Hatch


  • Spring 1998
  • ISBN 978-0-921870-56-2 (0-921870-56-6)
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 126 pages
  • Poetry, Korean Translation

With the appearance of this English translation, Western readers will for the first time be able to appreciate the poetry of Korea’s most revered and popular modern poet. Born at the beginning of the twentieth century, Sowol Kim was the first poet to introduce the Korean vernacular into poetry. His verse combines sharply edged, everyday phrasing with a lyrical lightness of expression that is unique among modern poets. His poems on loss and death evoke the transience of life with a beauty that transcends despair — the triumph of his art.

Sowol has been well served in this translation in which Jaihiun Kim, one of Korea’s finer poets and translators, has combined with Ronald B. Hatch to present sowol’s poetry in an English translation that is always contemporary yet echoes Sowol’s Eastern tonalities.

“These translations of Sowol Kim’s poems moved me to tears. While they appear simple at first glance, their simplicity is deceptive. Rarely has a poet struck such a sympathetic chord.”
— R. Wilkinson

“We have waited a long time for an exemplary translation of Sowol Kim, a major poet by any standard. My thanks to the translators for their fine rendering of Sowŏl Kim’s poetry.”
— Robin Skelton


How I yearn for the sea today
as the salt tears gather
A memory of your tenderness,
the powder-soft touch of your hand,
and I tremble like an aspen in summer,
while my heart sounds a long ache of darkness