Actress Kang Sung-yeon now hosts her own poetry reading program on EBS, but even until high school she was extremely shy and recalls being afraid to look others in the eye. Her personality naturally drew her to books, she says.
"I was too afraid to speak and felt like I was going to burst if I wasn't able to express myself on paper at least," Kang recalls. "Acting is a process of breathing life into sentences by using your imagination, and I think I became an actress because of what I went through."
"I talked to some poets and they said turning their thoughts and feelings into poems was a good way to communicate with yourself."
She learned singing in high school, hoping to go on to music college. That experience gave her the vocal training needed to speak in front of audiences, and since February last year she has used that skill to read hundreds of poems to people.
"Reading poetry out loud makes the words come alive," she says. "It's like singing or acting." She adds that the goal of her program is to draw people closer to poetry, rather than engage in intellectually difficult subjects.
"I wish I could continue to do the program even after when I grow old. I think poetry reflects our life," says Kang, who married jazz pianist Kim Ka-on last year.