Hwang Jin-i is one of the most enduring characters in Korean culture. Also known by her gisaeng name, Myeongwol, or Full Moon, she was the daughter of an aristocrat and a gisaeng. Hwang lived in Songdo (present-day Kaesong in North Korea), in a feudalistic society where women were allowed few opportunities available to men. As a professional entertainer skilled in the arts of conversation, dance, song and poetry, she defied the social conventions that hobbled lower-class gisaeng and associated with some of the finest scholars and officials of her day. Little is known about her life, but according to romantic legends and historical tales, Hwang was exceptionally beautiful, witty and talented. Well versed in classical Chinese and Korean literature, she was known for writing brilliant poems for her lovers. Among her conquests was the Zen master Jijok (who, before violating his vows, was deemed a living Buddha for having spent 30 years in retreat in the mountains). She failed to seduce noted neo-Confucian scholar Seo Gyeong-deok, and became his student instead. Hwang was regarded as the most accomplished sijo poet of her time and a match for the best scholars in the genre. A three-line poem not unlike the Japanese haiku, sijo offered the gisaeng a spontaneous form of expression in the face of social prejudice. Because sijo is primarily an oral tradition, only six of Hwang's verses are preserved on paper. They reflect the depth of her passions, longing and clever use of homonyms. Hwang's contributions help lay the foundation for the development of Korean literary culture.