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Bones Will Crow

Bones Will Crow

ed. ko ko thett and James Byrne

Bilingual English / Burmese edition

Edited and translated by ko ko thett and James Byrne

Featuring the work of Tin Moe, Thitsar Ni, Aung Cheimt, Ma Ei, Maung Chaw Nwe, Maung Pyiyt Min, Khin Aung Aye, Zeyar Lynn, Maung Thein Zaw, Moe Zaw, Moe Way, ko ko thett, Eaindra, Pandora, Maung Yu Py

Part of our Anthologies in Translation series edited by Jean Boase-Beier

This is the first anthology of contemporary Burmese poets published in the West, and includes the work of Burmese poets who have been in exile and in prison. The poems include global references from a culture in which foreign books and the internet are regarded with suspicion and where censorship is an industry. The poets have been ingenious in their use of metaphor to escape surveillance and censorship, writing post-modern, avant-garde, performance and online poetries.

The anthology reveals the transition of traditional to modernist poetry, the development of Burmese poetry over the second half of the 20th century, as Myanmar has changed. Through their wildly diverse styles, these poems delight in the freedom to experiment with poetic tradition.

Zeyar Lynn, featured in the anthology, was selected to represent Myanmar at the 2012 Cultural Olympiad Poetry Parnassus in London. Below he reads Slide Show, from the anthology.

This collection is important because these poems are a splendid counter to the current scholars' obsession with 'cultural authenticity' of national literatures! What we have got here is not so much just Burmese poetry as simply poetry (in the cosmopolitan sense) that happens to have been composed by Burmese in their language. It shows that Burma is part of the world and significantly part of World Literary Culture! The fact that we have both the Burmese language originals and the English translations (which are really lovely and wonderfully free of the usual attempt to Burmanise~Buddhacise the English) makes the collection not only enjoyable to readers anywhere, but also of serious importance to scholarship on Burmese literature.

F.K.L. Chit Hlaing is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Founding President, The Myanmar Studies Foundation; Honorary Chair, Myanmar Studies Group of the Association or Asian Studies

F.K.L. Chit Hlaing

Bones will Crow is an illuminating account of real Myanmar narrated by uncensored and often deviant Burmese, who dare to dream and challenge the norms. Myanmar Studies scholars and literature fans often lament the lack of authentic Burmese voices in print, accessible to the world outside Burma. Bones will Crow not only fills this gap but also presents the readers a counter-narrative of 'exotic' Burma often associated with golden pagodas and smiling faces. Daily struggles under crony capitalism, confronting commercialization of female bodies, an exile's homesickness, issues Burmese grapple with leap out of the pages of this anthology. This anthology is a long overdue, much-welcomed addition to everyone interested in Myanmar and Burmese poetry.

Tharapi Than (PhD) is Teaching Fellow and Lector in Burmese, School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)

Tharapi Than

978-1906570 89 7 (pbk)
978 1908376 52 7 (ebk)
Published July 2012

» About ko ko thett and James Byrne