BSBFF - 2022

Poetry & Literature in the Age of Revolution & Resistance

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Under the repressive Ne Win regime, Burmese poets and writers found ways to use symbolism and coded language to elude the censor board. More recently, many poets and authors spoke out against the February 2021 military coup, participated in public protests, and paid a heavy price for their involvement. In this panel, author Ma Thida, poet and translator Ko Ko Thett, and Burmese language instructor and translator Kenneth Wong discuss the evolving role of Burma poetry and literature in a time of crisis.


Ko Ko Thett

Ko Ko Thett describes himself as “a poet by choice and a Burmese by chance,” yet The Burden of Being Burmese is predominantly characterized by a Burmese subjectivity. He is contributor and coeditor of Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop Spring (Ethos Books, February 2022). He is the Burmese editor for the Poetry International website and coeditor and translator of Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets, an anthology of Burmese poetry, recipient of the 2012 English PEN Writers in Translation Programme Award.


Ma Thidar

Ma Thidar is a contributor to Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop Spring. She is a Burmese human rights activist, surgeon, writer, and former prisoner of conscience. In October of 1994, she was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in Insein Prison on the charges of “endangering public peace, having contact with illegal organizations, and distributing unlawful literature.” In 1996 she was the recipient of that year’s PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, but she was not released until 1999, after serving six years in harsh conditions. 


Kenneth Wong

Kenneth is a blogger, translator, and Burmese language instructor. He is a contributor to Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop Spring. His essays, short stories, articles, and poetry translations have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, AGNI, Grain, The Irrawaddy, Myanmar Times, Two Lines Press, and The Journal of Burma Studies, among others. 

  • Year
  • Runtime
    51 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Rating
    all ages