In 1983, just after his marriage, Ko Un revised all his previously published poems extensively and declared, in the preface to the Complete Poems of Ko Un published by Minumsa in 1984, that from then on critics should take the revised poems as the originals. It caused a great deal of controvery and it upset many of his readers, because they felt that Ko Un had made his most beautiful poems worse. They thought it a great shame that, after defying government censorship, such beautiful poems had been mutilated by the poet himself. Many thought that they had lost some of the most beautiful “poems of sensibility” ever written in Korea. However, Ko Un stubbornly explained that he had done what he most wanted to do if he came out alive from prison. He was determined to make a clean break with his previous life, which had been notorious for its sometimes vicious immorality, while infusing a new sense of moral seriousness into the poems written during those long years of torment.
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