The Korea Herald


Comedian Yang Se-hyung channels his emotions into poetry in 'Path of the Stars'

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Dec. 8, 2023 - 08:31

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Yang Se-hyung speaks at a press conference in Jung-gu, Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap) Yang Se-hyung speaks at a press conference in Jung-gu, Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Comedian Yang Se-hyung has ventured into the realm of literature with his newly published poetry collection, "Path of the Stars" (Storyseller).

Prior to this, he touched the viewers' hearts when he spontaneously composed and recited "Path of the Stars" on the episode of SBS’s variety show "Master in the House” which aired in June 2018. More recently, a video of Yang’s congratulatory verses for fellow comedians' weddings garnered attention on YouTube, reaching a million views with positive reviews.

"Writing poems has been just a fun recreation for me. Thankfully, many people seemed to enjoy it. So, I thought, why not publish a poetry book?" said Yang during a press conference held in Jung-gu, Seoul on Tuesday.

Reflecting on his childhood, Yang, 38, revealed that he found joy in assembling words to express emotions. He recounted his upbringing in a rural neighborhood with limited entertainment options.

“In solitary moments, as I gazed upon nature and landscape, I sometimes experienced emotions that I couldn’t fully express in words -- feelings that were both beautiful, awe-inspiring, and deeply poignant.”

“Emotions that I couldn't translate clearly in my head started taking shape as words, and I began to write them down. Reading those words made me realize, 'Oh, that's how I looked at the scenes.'"

"As a comedian, I crack jokes on the show, but there is also a tender and sentimental side (inside me)," he added.

"Path of the Stars" (a literal translation of the Korean title) has a total of 88 poems curated from around 200 pieces he wrote recently. The poems delve into themes of longing for his late father, the joys and sorrows experienced as a comedian, and imagination inspired by everyday scenes.

Yang admitted to harboring concerns about publishing a poetry book as a comedian.

"Writing poetry has been a personal and private hobby for me. It was a means of expressing emotions and relieving stress. But thinking of receiving criticism and evaluations on it, I feared that I might not be able to enjoy it as I did before."

Reflecting on the decision, he said, "I seriously hesitated until the day the book went to print. But I made up my mind that this was something I had been doing regardless of anyone’s opinion. I plan to continue doing it as I have always done."

Yang added that publishing a poetry book was one of his personal goals to “become a splendid 40-year-old.”

Yang opted for easy and simple words in his verses, explaining, "I wrote it using the smartest words I know, and it turned out to be simple language."

But he emphasized that “the words we learn when we are young are the prettiest.”

"I don't know why, but people who enjoy this kind of poetry, writing, and sentiments have become subjects of ridicule and mockery. As a result, it seems that people have become more averse to poetry,” Yang said.

"I believe there's nothing better than writing and reading poetry to feel emotions. I hope people feel comfortable sharing poetry without any sense of embarrassment."

All proceeds from his poetry book will be donated to the Lighthouse Scholarship Committee, an organization dedicated to helping teenagers in crisis.