When thinking of ways to promote a global sporting event like the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, one might think of bombastic, patriotic performances full of light and sound.
But on Thursday, it was a more serene and contemplative scene in PyeongChang as renowned poets from Korea, China and Japan share their lyrical talents, and expressed hope for a successful Winter Games.
Under the theme "peace, environment and healing," the 2017 PyeongChang Korea-China-Japan Poet Festival hopes to boost friendship and cultural cooperation between the neighboring countries, especially at a time when tensions are high on the Korean peninsula.
"The works of inventors and scientists have enabled all kinds of cultural achievements. But technological advancements have also made people ill, and even spread pain and fear. My fellow poets, though our powers may be limited in a sense to speech and text, I have hope that by sharing our thoughts we will bring comfort, spread peace and seek wisdom in healing."
Some 150 participants, including the prominent Korean poet, Kim Nam-jo, whose works deal with love from a Christian humanist perspective, will be able to exchange their works and thoughts at poetry recitals and seminars over the course of the next four days.
"This is my second time coming to the festival, and there are even more poets from the three countries participating this year. We're all excited for the new experience ahead as it's a rare opportunity for poets who write in different languages to gather and share their thoughts."
And as one of the programs promoting Korea's first Olympics in 30 years, dubbed the Cultural Olympiad, the event also seeks to emanate a different kind of Olympic spirit.
"Sports not only require strong bodies, but also gentle and warm minds and souls,.. which, I think, can be cultivated through poetry. And by soothing one's soul ahead of the Olympics, I think one's performance or viewing experience of the games, as the case may be, will be even more exciting."
"Now, with less than 150 days left until the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, the organizing committee and the host cities hope these events can bring more people out to the games and contribute to a cultural legacy for the region."
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News, Pyeongchang."