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Ko Un's poems to be removed from school textbooks

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Ko Un, the world-renowned South Korean poet is under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct. Korea Times photo
Ko Un, the world-renowned South Korean poet is under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct. Korea Times photo
By Kim Hyun-bin

The world-renowned Korean poet Ko Un's poetry will be removed from school textbooks due to growing allegations of sexual misconduct against the disgraced poet.

Several publishers said Wednesday Ko Un's poetry is set to be replaced with that of other poets.

"There are several poems written by Ko Un in both middle and high school textbooks," said an official from MiraeN. "We have agreed to replace them with other content."

The Ministry of Education (MOE) sent an official letter earlier this month to Korea Authorized & Approved Textbooks, requesting the publishers delete any content in the textbooks written by a person of public controversy.

Ko's works are published in 11 different middle and high school literature textbooks.

"With the approval of the education ministry, corrections could be made in the textbooks," said an official from the MOE. "However, the correction time will be decided by the publisher, writing staff and copyright holder."
Ko has flatly denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.

"I regret that my name has been brought up in the recent allegations. I have already expressed regret for any unintended pain that my behavior may have caused. However, I flatly deny charges of habitual misconduct that some individuals have brought up against me," said Ko in an official statement released through his UK publisher Bloodaxe Books that was provided to the Guardian newspaper.

"I must affirm that I have done nothing which will bring shame on my wife or myself. All I can say at the moment is that I believe my writing will continue with my honor as a person and a poet maintained," he added.

Ko's sexual misconduct surfaced after female poet Choi Young-mi wrote a poem in which the narrator describes an unconscionable assault by a famous but unnamed senior poet. The poem was released in early February. Media and industry sources pointed to Ko as the alleged offender.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has shut down part of its library containing a collection of Ko's work that had been on display.

The poet has recently left his home and writing studio that was provided by the Suwon local government.

Ko has been repeatedly touted by local media as a candidate for the Noble Prize in Literature. His works have been published in more than a dozen countries and received numerous awards both at home and abroad.



Kim Hyun-bin hyunbin@koreatimes.co.kr


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