Over 40 years
at the cutting edge
of poetry publishing
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Tin Moe (Myanmar)

photo: Kyaw Wunna
photo: Kyaw Wunna

Tin Moe (1933-2007) was born in the village of Kanmye, some eighty miles south-west of Mandalay. At 26, he published his first collection of poems, Hpan-mi-ein (The Glass Lantern), which won a national award. He moved to Rangoon in 1967, where he worked in the translation and publication department of Rangoon University for twenty years. After the pro-democracy uprising in 1988, Tin Moe became an 'Intellectual Committee' member of the National League for Democracy, writing poems (such as The Years We Didn't See the Dawn) expressing his disillusionment with the military government's socialist dictatorship, as a result of which he was held without charge for six months, then confined for four years in Insein prison. In 1999, he escaped Burma and took political asylum in the United States. In 2002, Tin Moe won a Hellman and Hammett grant and in 2004 the Prince Claus Award for Literature in the Netherlands. Author of twenty-five books, eighteen of them poetry collections, he died in Los Angeles in 2007.