Harvard East Asian Monographs 215
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.