Bones Will Crow – Burmese Poetry

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 Burma has changed. Through their wildly divergent styles, these poems delight in the freedom to experiment with poetic tradition.

I had the pleasure of meeting James Byrne, one of the editors of this anthology, last September in Rangoon.  Invited over by New Zero Art Space as part of their writers-in-residence programme, James spent over a week working with the poetry community in Rangoon, leading workshops  and dialogues. You may also notice his name on the Irrawaddy Literary festival website.

‘Bones Will Crow’ took two years to curate and edit and has deservedly enjoyed a positive reception in the UK, no doubt helped by James’ hard work in bringing over some of the anthology’s poets to the UK to join in the promotional road trip.

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