Defected NKorea poet writes of hunger, desperation

July 2, 2012 • Entertainment

In this taken Thursday June 28, 2012 shows a former North Korean poet Jang Jin-sung, who wrote propaganda poems for Kim Jong Il before he defected to South Korea, speaking in London during an Olympics-tied poetry festival. (AP Photo/Sylvia Hui)

LONDON (AP) — He says he was one of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s favorite propaganda artists, singing the praises of the Dear Leader in dozens of poems. But these days Jang Jin-sung says he prefers to tell the truth about North Korea.

The former state poet, who defected to South Korea in 2004, now writes to tell the world about what he calls the brutality of everyday life in the North.

“North Korea has nuclear programs, but South Korea has the media,” said Jang, who is in London for a global poetry festival involving poets from countries competing in the July 27 to Aug. 12 London Olympics. “Truth is the strongest weapon.”

Jang’s poems now tell of public executions, hunger and desperate lives. He said that the piece he Login to read more

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