The Korean genre known as "shijo" is short song lyrics.
Originally meant to be sung rather than recited, these short poems
are light, personal, and very often conversational. The language is
simple, direct, and devoid of elaboration or ornamentation. The
"shijo" poet gives a firsthand account of his personal experience
of life and emotion: the rise and fall of dynasties, friendship,
love, parting, the pleasures of wine, the beauty and transience of
life, the inexorable advance of old age. In this anthology of
translations of 612 "shijo," Kevin O'Rourke introduces the English
reader to this venerable and witty style of verse. The anthology
covers the entire range of "shijo" production from the tenth
century to the modern era.
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