Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans - REBOOTED, Part V: Ma Chao and Lawrence Ma Jong-gi - Radiologist-turned Korean Poet
Ma Jong-gi (Hangul/Hanja: 마종기/馬鍾基; born January 17th 1939 in Tokyo, Japan) is a former professor in radiology and Korean Poet. He is the son of Francis Ma Hae-song (마해송/馬海松), a famous Korean Children Rights Activist and children's story writer. He is a member of Mokcheon Ma Clan (목천 마씨/木川馬氏), a clan which is originated from Mokcheon-eup, Cheonan Dongnam-gu, Southern Chungcheong Province. As a devout Roman Catholic, he received his baptismal name 'Lawrence' (Kor: 라우렌시오).
Prof. Lawrence Ma graduated from medical schools at Yonsei University and Seoul National University. After finishing his graduate research at Seoul National University in 1966, he went to the United States. He taught at Ohio State University Medical School and practice radiology in Toledo, Ohio. He retired from the medical field and professorial duties in 2002, and turned his attention entirely to writing poetry.
The major themes in the poems of Ma are his experience as a doctor and his life abroad in Japan and especially America. The pieces marked by his medical experiences express profound compassion and hope for the ability of love to negate pain. His works dealing with life in foreign countries tend to be more complex in tone; in them he writes of his recollections of his life in Korea and the various conflicting feelings: intense patriotism, love and anger toward his fellow Koreans, and shames that stem from his reflections on his homeland. Both themes ultimately inspire the same compassion for humanity, whether for the suffering or for the uprooted, and attain a universality that has become Ma’s trademark.
Ma Jong-gi's Selected Poems
- Quiet Triumphant Return (조용한 개선/Joyonghan Gaeseon)
- Second Winter (두번째 겨울/Du-beonjjae Gyeoul)
- Invisible World of Love (안 보이는 사랑의 나라/An Boineun Sarang-ui Nara)
- Eyes of Dew (이슬의 눈/Iseur-ui Nun)
- The Shine from the Sky of the World (그 나라 하늘빛/Geu Nara Haneulbit)
- Augen aus Tau (A German translation from the poem entitled 우리는 서로 부르고 있는 것일까/Uri-neun Seoro Bureugo Inneun Geos-ilkka)