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Poetry Guide: Korean Poetry

Korean poetry is oral or written poetry, given in performance or written down, in the Korean language, or by Koreans overseas. Korean poetry is often sung in performance. Poetry written in Chinese (as was typical for many centuries) by Koreans can also be considered as Korean poetry.

Notable Korean poetry began to flourish under Confucian scholarship in the Goryeo period (starting in 935). Prior to that time most Korean poetry imitated the style of Chinese T'ang lyric poetry such as the shi poetry form. Collections were repeatedly printed.

With the rise of Joseon nationalism (starting in 1392), three-line poetry, called sijo, became more popular and reached its apex in the late 18th century. It shares some of the same characteristics as Japanese haiku.

There were attempts at introducing imagist and modern poetry methods particularly in translations of early American moderns such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot in the early 20th century. In the early Republic period (starting in 1953 after the Korean War), patriotic works were very successful.

Lyrical poetry dominated from the 1970s onwards. Poetry is quite popular in twenty-first century Korea, both in terms of number of works published and lay

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