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Inquiry – The Power of Poetry with David McCann

David McCann, born in Lewiston ME, grew up in Cambridge MA, graduated from Amherst College, and served in the first Peace Corps group to go to Korea, ROK, 1966-68. He received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. He taught Classical Japanese language and literature, served as Director of Foundation Relations, then taught Korean literature at Cornell. He was appointed as the first Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature at Harvard in 1997. He retired in 2014.


During his graduate studies at Harvard he took creative writing classes with Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Fitzgerald, Robert Shaw, and Jane Shore. David has published 32 books. His translations of poems by individual Korean poets have been published by Columbia University Press, Princeton University Press, Quarterly Review of Literature, and other presses. He translated the poems for The Temple of Words, An Anthology of Modern Korea Buddhist Poetry published in 2017 by the Jogye Buddhist Temple Order. Eleven books of his own poems have been published, including a dual-language edition of his sijo poems, Urban Temple, originally published by Bo Leaf Books, then by Changbi Publishers, Seoul. He has also published several anthologies and studies of Korean literature and cultural history.


He has received a Pushcart Prize. One of his haiku poems, published in Acorn haiku journal, received a Touchstone Award in 2014 and was included in Haiku 2015. The Korean Sijo Poets Association invited him to make two presentations in 2019 at their annual meetings in Seoul and Busan.


David is a member of the poets group Every Other Thursday.