Poet Jang Jin-sung on Kim Jong-il propaganda and defecting from North Korea.

The Former Poet Laureate to Kim Jong-il

The Former Poet Laureate to Kim Jong-il

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
Jan. 15 2016 2:07 PM

The Former Poet Laureate to Kim Jong-il

When he first met the dear leader, our guest was surprised to see him crying to folk songs, stroking a Maltese puppy, and wearing high heels.

For Kim Jong-il’s former poet, it was meeting the supreme leader in person that broke the propaganda spell.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Chien-Min Chung/Getty Images.

Listen to Episode 416 of Slate’s The Gist:


On The Gist, we bring you two favorite segments from the past year. First, a look at how propaganda thrives in North Korea from the perspective of Kim Jong-il’s former poet laureate, Jang Jin-sung. He’s the author of Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee—A Look Inside North Korea. For the Spiel, a rhyming response to Keith Ablow’s comments on Fox News.

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Email: thegist@slate.com
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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.