ko ko thett on Close Listening at the Kelly Writers House
In this episode of Clocktower Radio’s Close Listening, ko ko thett talks to me about his decision to write in English; his nineteen years in exile and the experience of returning home; the political situation in Burma at the time of his exile compared to the present; his sense of the futility of the student protests; and the international context of the poets he anthologized in Bones Will Crow. In the course of the show ko ko thett reads a recent poem in Burmese and offers a spontaneous translation. Recorded before a live audience at the Kelly Writers House on January 23, 2017, ko ko thett’s reading immediately preceded the Close Listening show.
ko ko thett is a poet, editor, and translator from Burma/Myanmar. He writes in English and his first book The Burden of Being Burmese was published in 2015 by Zephyr Press. It was hailed by John Ashbery as “brilliantly off-kilter.” With James Byrne, he is the editor of Bones Will Crow, an anthology of contemporary Burmese poetry, and he is a translator of the speeches of Aung San Suu Kyi. A student activist during the military dictatorship in Burma, ko ko thett spent many years living in exile in Finland, Austria, and the U.S. He has recently returned to Yangon.
For related Myanmar Close Listening shows, go to the PennSound Burma page.
Video of the reading followed by the Close Listening program: