Image: Pinaree Sanpitak, Image: Big Blue, 2007, acrylic modeling paste and dried flowers on canvas 63 x 87 in. (160 x 220 cm). Courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art.
This month we bring you prose and poetry from Thailand, a country mourning its beloved king while grappling with accelerated development. From the teeming chaos of Bangkok to the deceptive serenity of the provinces, from temples to traffic jams, the writing here delivers a nuanced portrait of Thai culture and society. Win Lyovarin’s exasperated working man offers a mordant vocabulary lesson for urbanites. Poet Phu Kradat gives voice to the people of rural Isan. Chart Korbjitti’s monks in training haven’t a prayer, and Uthis Haemamool’s amnesiac temple worker recognizes the false side of true belief. At the poles of responsible parenting, Sri Daoruang’s heartsick mother treasures her sickly son, while Duanwad Pimwana’s battling couple abandon their boy to the neighborhood. Prabda Yoon’s sage passes judgment from a park bench. Guest editor Mui Poopoksakul talks with the revered editor and “encyclopedia of Thai literature” Suchart Sawasdsri and provides an illuminating introduction. Elsewhere, we present a group of interwar avant-garde visual poems selected and introduced by Meghan Forbes.
Modernization and Its Discontents: Contemporary Thai Writing
Thai literature has had a long tradition of delivering social critique and promoting activism.
You poor thing, with parents like these.
Life’s Lexicon: Everyman’s Bangkok Edition
Traffic Jam: a free gift that comes with the purchase of every car.
Untitled: #13 and #14
Screaming midnight thoughts plunge down to still
Interview with Suchart Sawasdsri
The latest coup has fractured artists into three groups.
Light Splash Sound
"Well, damn! Eats the temple’s food, then disses the Buddha!"
People I’ve told about him all thought that Ei Ploang was my imaginary friend.
I am a mother who has no choices.
An Essay on Prayers
We had to learn the prayers by heart to save our own skin.