The purpose of this article is to elucidate the philosophy underlying the poetic world of Cho Pyŏnghwa (born 1921). Cho Pyŏnghwa's view of life is based on the premise that life and death are one continuous process, and that time is unchanging and eternal. However, there is a conflict between time in the abstract and individual moments of real time. This conflict leads the poet to an over-whelming awareness of life as a transitory state. Accordingly, the poet is compelled to achieve detachment, the only rational attitude for a man to take in a transitory world. Again the transitory nature of human existence leads the poet to an awareness of primeval loneliness and emptiness.
The poet's life is directed toward the achievement of greatness. The means to greatness is the development of one's creativity to the fullest, and for Cho Pyŏnghwa the vehicle of creativity is poetry. Through his poetry he strives to give all men the consolation, strength, and life energy they need. Thus poetry is both an ongoing dialogue between the poet and his fellowmen and at the same time the poet's personal mean to greatness. The relationship between the poet and his fellowman is fraught with constant conflict between freedom and the necessity for love of others. Through poetry, the poet attempts to transcend the restrictiveness and transitoriness of human love by raising it to the plane of art.