Myanmar/ Burma coup 2021: some resources

Yangon street protests

In the wake of the military regime’s overthrow of Myanmar’s elected institutions, the violent repression of the people supporting those institutions through peaceful protests, and the massive incarcerations that have followed, IWP wishes, in keeping with its mission statement, to speak in support of our many Burmese/Myanma alumni participating in this struggle. On this page we record some of their voices, and link to some relevant resources:

Sign the petition on calling on the junta to release the prisoners.
• A statement of protest signed by 83 Myanma poets, several IWP alumni among them.
• “Poets Against Dictatorship” — protest poetry in the streets (video, 8 minutes; subtitled).
• IWP Director Christopher Merrill on the evolving situation in Myanmar in Dallas Morning News (3/18/21), IPR’s “River to River” (3/19/21) and PRI’s “The World” (3/24)
• A May 25, 2021 New York Times piece on the systematic and brutal persecution of Burmese poets in particular.
• On June 14th, IWP and Asia Society co-hosted an evening of readings in support of the Myanma writers killed or arrested following the military coup earlier this year.Among readers are Reading are Esther Dischereit, Rafael Jesús González, Joy Harjo, Robert Hass, Elfriede Jelinek, Brenda Hillman, Khet Mar, David St. John, Ko Ko Thett, Kinga Tóth and others.

In a wider circle:
  • Two recent, timely, interviews with poet, translator, editor and activist, IWP alum ko ko thett, in Tupelo Quarterly and Cha.

  • In World Literature Today, editor and translator James Byrne writes on the actions of people in the streets of Myanma cities and in the Rohingya refugee camps.

  • Requiem for Justice: An International Rally of Artists, Thinkers, and Activists Against Injustice,streamed live September 18-19,2021. Among contributors are the Burmese poets and activists Ma Thida ("Better Democracy?") and Khet Mar ("A Flower Revoution").

Happening Now

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

  • The poetic documentary Songs Still Sung: Voices from the Tsunami Shores, written and co-produced by Takako ARAI and creatively subtitled into English by a class of UI students of Japanese, will be screened at the prestigious Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, on-line 10/7-14/2021.

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