English Section

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From 14th to 18th of Janauary, 2013, New Zero Art Space hosted 5 days long workshop:  Project on Paper Event on Curatorial Training focusing on the nature of art development and strategies of museum management. The workshop had also involved studying the Burmese political situation and customs of traditional culture.

As an outcome of this workshop, a group of seven members reached an agreement to carry out their own projects in order to express their ideas and concepts upon recent shifting in Burmese Politics and cotemporary social life.
As an essence of their discussion, they mainly concentrated on the subject: how the audience can be encouraged to become involved more actively in art exhibitions.

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The 7th Literary Awards commemorated to late famous political activist and writer Tawphayarlay were presented at February 28, 2013 at Thiri Hall of Tawwin Hninn Si restaurant. The ceremony started at 2pm and many prominent journalists, writers, poets and politicians such as a veteran journalist and pro-democracy leader U Win Tin, Maung Moe Thu, Daw Khin Swe Oo, U Htet Myet, U Kyi Naing, a poet Ko Lay(Innwa Gonye), Maung Sein Ne, U Hla Shwe and others were attended collectively.

A writer Maung Lwin Mon(Kathar) conducted as a master of ceremony and the widow of late writer Tawphayarlay gave an opening speech. Then, a member of award committee Htet Myat explained about the principles set out by the committee. He also expressed his concern about the newly introduced Publishing Law by saying that it would breach freedom of expression since the law prohibited any criticism against the constitution and other legislations adopted by military backed government and the law sanctions a fine 1 million kyat to 10 million kyat or 3 month imprisonment.

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Seven years after I came upon the State

The 1975 storm rocked me and my hometown.

Our teak house undulated in the wind.

As a kid, I said, ‘It’s fun mother. School is fun.’

A few years later

The State held a socialist referendum,

Complete with doepat-drums, flags and picture posters.

The State handed out questionnaires to us, the tiny public.

I said, ‘It’s adult’s business.’

The State promoted me to pubescence, and I,

In the old environment, notched up year after year,

Two years for two grades and so on,  

In an orderly fashion.

I even won a girlfriend from the merciful State.

Forward Youth, Socialist Programme Youth, Multi-talented Socialist Youth…

The State even permitted me to own a bookshop, for

I wasn’t good at anything. ‘Read…!’,

The State ordered and left. I whined,

‘The State hasn’t come back.’

‘The State hasn’t come back.’ After a long while,

The State came back, with a cranky face.

With an incisiveness, he upgraded me  

To 20 years of age.

He told us to repeat after him.

Out in the street, the State bellowed, ‘Our cause!’

I bellowed, ‘Our cause!’

The State bellowed, ‘Down with the one-party system!’

I bellowed, ‘Down with the dictatorship!’

The State said, ‘It’s 8888!’ In our town,

Me and my friends began to move.

They called it a mass movement. After me,

‘Soe Moe Tun’ came through the paddy fields.

It was dark and silent for several years.

The State seized books for co-operative rice from

The houses of Robert Owen and Dr. William King.

During the dump and doltish days that followed,

The State seemed he had given up on me.

I too couldn’t bridle the State.

The State wasn’t expecting me.

I too wasn’t expecting the State. We just lived off the cuff.

Around 1990, the State sent me a letter.

Around 1991, I sent him a reply.

I showed him the bandage around my head and said

‘It’s time for jasmines to bloom.’

‘Go to the nearest clinic.’, the State responded.

‘A shirt with only one sleeve?’, I asked.

‘I will saw off the other sleeve too.’, the State menaced.

I submitted a general report titled ‘On the Grass.’

No acknowledgement whatsoever from the State.

I said, ‘Bassein.’

The State said ‘Censored.’

I said ‘Echo!’, so we could learn a lesson.

This time, the State said, ‘Of course I too

Am afraid of what you call comeuppance…’

Then the State settled me down.

The State also gave me some responsibilities, known as ‘a wife.’

And a few benefits, known as ‘a son.’

Yet the State explicitly decreed,

‘Don’t make noise.’

In Rangoon, the State said, ‘Whenever you stay

Overnight here, you must submit

The overnight guest-list to the authorities.’

I forged ahead. So did the State.

I kept longing for the State.

The State reappeared in 2010.

He will give us a President. And a Parliament.

An election. A leader.

And now the State apologizes me for

Corruptions, fears, and abyssal holes of poverty.

The State says right in my face,

‘You guys own the State.’

I glance at the State, ‘The State owns me.’

I read my family poem that begins with

‘To the raindrops…’

The State mirrors me with ‘Never will be broken…’

The State sings along.

The State nods and nods...

The State’s been down in the mouth for a long time.

 

 

                Win Myint

 

 

The poem is the joint winner of the 2012 Central  Yoma Poetry Award.

Translated by ko ko thett

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kp
Burmese mainstream poems are to reflect the changes occurring within the society so that the ups and downs of the society define the alterations of the mainstream poems. Burmese contemporary poetry departed the traditional forms and techniques in its structure since 1970s and gained momentum in its development accordingly with the local and international situations. Now it has been 40 years since the contemporary forms are initiated in Burmese poetry. 

During these 40 years, Burmese poetry has encountered the consecutive changes of the history such as the period of mono party dictatorship, a long journey of the struggle for democracy beginning in 1988, the reign of military dictatorship and finally the reformation age to reach the democratic society. In these consecutive ages, a number of Burmese poets including Moe Oo Swe Nyein create the poems with a great deal of passions responding to the society in spite of the difficulties they have encountered.

The poems collection of Moe Oo Swe Nyein titled as ‘Politics is added since the poetry itself is infrequent’ is published in early 2013 by Lin Thit Yaung Zin publication. 46 poems in total written by Moe Oo Swe Nyein since mid 90s are included in this collection. The preface is written by the literary theorist Min Khet Ye who claims, ‘The title- ‘Politics is added since the poetry itself is infrequent’ may be regarded as a personal literary theory of the poet that he discovered from his life experience and which is also reflecting the conditions of his course in creation process. The significant changes in term of the trends in his poems are shifting his focus; from his own existence to the society and politics he is living in and encountering; which can be seen in the poems written the period of 2010, 2011 and 2012.’

Moe Oo Swe Nyein has become attached to the poem writing during the struggle for democracy in 1988 when he started writing the political poems. ‘Eclipse of Love’ published in Phuu Pwint Wai Wai Magazine in April 1997 is his first poem to have published in the Magazines. Since then, he becomes a regular contributor to the magazines and also published the poem collections with the other fellow poets.
                                                                                                 Ko Phone
                                                                                               Translated by Ko Phyo
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On 9th of February 2013, New Zero Art Space hosted a new contemporary poetry book launch reception and poetry ehibition in which the poets and the journalists attended collectively. Thitsar Ni, a renowned contemporary poet, introduced a poetry book titled as ‘the contemporary world, the contemporary poetry’ to the attendees at the reception.

This poetry book is the poem collections of the 12 students who attended Poetry and Literature Training Programme organised by New Zero Art Space. This training was led by Thitsar Ni of Burma and James Byrne of UK between 2nd and 16th of October 2012. There were other Burmese guest lecturers such as Zayar Lin, Nyein Wai, Maung Pyae Min and Moe Way.