Bucheon's Literary Resources

Bucheon′s Writers and their Works

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[Literary Monument : Byun Youngro]

Byun Yeongro (1897-1961)

One of the most prominent literary figures of Bucheon is Byun Yeongro, a pioneer of new poetry. He used the pen name Suju, one of the old names of Bucheon. When he lived in Seoul he maintained his Bucheon address, and is now buried on a hill behind the house in Bucheon where he used to live. The residents of Bucheon have made various efforts to commemorate the writer, including the erection of a stone plaque at his former home and a poetic headstone at his grave. A poetry stele honoring him stands in Bucheon Central Park, and a statue of the poet stands on Sujudaero, a street named after him. Byun Yeongro's importance in Korean literature was summed up by the poet Park Mok-wol, who praised him as "the first person in Korea to open the way to refining one's linguistic skills." Byun Yeongro's poems that have been introduced in school textbooks include the poem "Dear Friends" for seventh graders in 1948 and the poem "Nongae" for ninth graders in 1953. Notably, "Nongae" was included in textbooks every time they were revised until 2003. The essay entitled "Dear Poets, Artists and Philosophers" was included in the textbook for ninth graders in 1974.

For more information on Byun Yeongro in Chinese, press this link.

Yang Gui-ja (1955 - ): A Distant and Beautiful Place

A Distant and Beautiful Place (Neighbors in Wonmi-dong), published in 1987, is a series of connected stories written by Yang Gui-ja, who made her debut in 1979. It is regarded as one of the finest achievements of Korean literature produced in the 1980s. Set in Bucheon in the 1970s, it portrays through the eyes of a young girl the lives of the residents of Wonmi-dong, their joys and sorrows, and their isolation and alienation resulting from industrialization. It takes the reader on a journey through the city with realistic description of selected places. Among the stories in the novel, "Daily Bread" was first introduced in the Korean language textbook for ninth graders in 2003. Since then, many young Koreans have come to know Bucheon through literature.

To read a review of A Distant and Beautiful Place, press this link.

To watch a video in Korea about Yang Gui-ja, press this link.

양귀자 : 원미동 사람들 사진
[A photograph of the entrance way to “Wonmi-dong Neighborhood” constructed in Wonmi-dong to commemorate the famous novel, A Distant and Beautiful Place (Wonmi-dong saramdeul). This is where Yang Gui-ja lived in the 1980s and wrote a sequence novel consisting in eleven short stories under the title, A Distant and Beautiful Place, which describes the everyday lives of this neighborhood experiencing rapid industrialization, migration, and urbanization. One episode from this sequence novel was included in the Seventh Curriculum in 1997 and it appeared in all the Korean language and literature textbooks. A Distant and Beautiful Place was well received by high school students as well as their teachers and parents, making it the representative novel of Korea’s rapid economic growth, industrialization, and urbanization period.]

[A photograph of a remembrance panel of Mok Il-shin who is one of Korea’s representative author of children’s literature(built in 2015). His work “Bicycle” is regarded as “the national children’s song” well known to every Korean.]


Mok Il-sin (1913-1986)

Mok Il-Shin moved to Bucheon in 1960 and lived in the city until he died in 1986. A poet and children's book writer, he served as vice chairman of the Korea Children's Literature Council from 1978 to 1986. Many of his works have been published in elementary school textbooks, including "Bicycle", "Lullaby", "Bubbles", "Mottled Butterflies", "Turtle Dove", "Sparrow", "Stream" and "Waves in Motion", To commemorate the writer, the city of Bucheon set up a monument in Bucheon Central Park and founded Ilshin Elementary School and Ilshin Middle School. 

To watch a video in Korean about Mok Il-sin, press this link.

Jeong Ji-yong (1902-1950)

Jeong Ji-yong is a writer with a close connection to Bucheon. Called the father of modern Korean poetry, Jeong was a devout Catholic and took the initiative to invite a priest to Bucheon and build the first Catholic Church in the city. Later he managed to raise the status of the church to a parish. Unfortunately, due to allegations that he voluntarily crossed over to North Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953), his works were banned in South Korea until 1988. Currently, a plaque is installed at his former residence (89-14, Sosa-dong) along with commemorative stone monuments in Bucheon Central Park and in front of the Sosa-dong administrative office. His poem "Nostalgia" was published in middle school Korean language textbooks, high school writing textbooks, and literature textbooks in 2003. Another famous poem "Hometown" was published in the ninth grade textbook in 1991, and "Sea" was introduced in middle school textbooks in 1997. "Lake" and "Glass Window" were also published in seventh grade and high school textbooks in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

To read more about South Korea's poet Jeong Ji- Yong, press this link.

[A photograph of a commemorative monument for poet JEONG, Ji-Yeong (built in 2000). He is often called the father of lyric poetry in modern Korea who "opened a new horizon of poetic possibilities through chiselled expression, tempered sentiments, and precise visual imagery" (Brother Anthony). He spent his most difficult years in Bucheon and devoted himself to the building of the first Catholic cathedral in Bucheon.]
[On Pearl S. Buck's 80th birthday, she was gifted this landscape painting by the orphan children with their names on the back..]

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)

Pearl S. Buck, a Nobel laureate in literature, spent many years in Bucheon. During the Korean War (1950-1953), she helped protect war orphans in and around the city and fought to improve the treatment of children born between U.S. soldiers and Korean women. Her novels The Living Reed and The New Year are based on her experience of the Korean War and the mixed-race children she encountered in Bucheon, where she founded an orphanage. The city of Bucheon commemorates her life and spirit of service in various ways and strives to pass on her literary heritage.

For more information on Pearl S. Buck and her time in Bucheon, press this links : Pearl S. Buck in Bucheon(in Korean), part2(in Korean), part2(in English)

To read news articles in Korean/ in English, press the links : News(in Korean, in English), News, Pearl S. Buck International, Pearl S. Buck International Korea

Bucheon's Literary Organizations

Bucheon Writers Association and Boksagol Literary Society are the major literary organizations in Bucheon. Prior to the establishment of the Bucheon Writers Association in 1976, writers in the area belonged to the Gyeonggi Branch of the Korean Writers Association. Later, some of them joined forces to establish the Bucheon Literary Society in 1982 and launched the journal Bucheon Literature in 1983. In 1988, professors of literature in Bucheon and writers active nationwide founded the Bucheon Literary Friends Society. It was soon merged with the Boksagol Literary Society, launched in 1989 with elementary school teachers in Bucheon playing a key role. The Boksagol Literary Society began publishing Bucheon Literature Circle in 1990. Another notable literary organization is the Bucheon Branch of the Association of Writers for National Literature, founded in 2000. It has published its journal Bucheon Writers three times through Silcheon Munhak publishing company for nationwide distribution. Moreover, around 20 small-scale literary organizations for school teachers, youths, children, women and others are active in Bucheon. Many of these members publish their own works. Some examples are the Bucheon Women's Literary Society, founded in 1994; which publishes Bucheon Women's Literature; the Bucheon Adolescent Literary Circle, founded in 1999, which publishes Bucheon Adolescent Literature; and the Bucheon Middle School Teachers' Literary Society founded in 2003, which publishes Geulsaem. These literary organizations hold literary festivals, literary awards, lectures by local writers, poetry recitals, exhibitions of illustrated poems, and essay contests.

The City of Bucheon, through societies such as Bucheon Women's Literature, Bucheon Adolescent Literary Circle, and Bucheon Middle School Teachers' Literary Society, continues to produce writers of all ages and backgrounds. Such organizations alongside award schemes encourage new writers to contribute their works and to carry out the literary tradition of Bucheon. This is indeed what makes Bucheon a living city of literature.

[A photograph of Boksa-gol[Peach Blossom Valley]culture center (completed in 1999). This is where various organizations proactively gather to put together diverse forms of art. ]

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