Monday, November 20, 2006



Burma and Iraq: for DC Poets Against War – Reading, 11-8-2006. Shepherd Library, Washington, DC.

Believe it or not – Burma and Iraq are
connected. If you stretch far enough, Everything is
connected to Everything. These days you
don’t have to
very far.

As there has been, much more than the first
Burmese deaths from AIDS, in the early 1980s, now
there has been, the first
Burmese-American death
in Iraq.

It was the grandson
of a famous professor
of Physics.

The professor was Rector
of Rangoon University.
When the junta – decided
there would be no more
“student disturbances”—if
“the student body was all
relocated” and distance learning
set up – this professor made
correspondence courses, a success.
But the government-run university pulled
the courses back
central control. It could not
allow that.

An architect was drawing a house
design for a client. To save money the client
took off the verandas – the architect put them
back on.

Another architect had a modern design, for a new
hotel, in Bagan, ancient city.

He took off the tiered roofs – to have low modern lines
unobstructed views.
The general put – the pyathats back on.
On/off on/off
so it goes. When he won, an international
design prize, they gave the prize,
to someone with, the same
name. He left shortly after.

To learn how dictators behave
I read about Saddam Hussein, c. 1993.

At a Burmese dissidents’ meeting
December 2002, before the second Iraq War
I put on a free button, that said
“Don’t go to war, in Iraq.”

A Burmese man, looked at me
sideways, said
“Be careful with that!”

A Burmese poet – supported publicly
the war in Iraq –
but I think that is because he does not
read much in English and doesn’t know
about modern warfare
daisy cutter bombs just
used in Afghanistan
blanket bombing
cluster bombs
smart bombs
and such.

A hit man does a cleaner faster job.

What I can’t figure out
is how U.S. officials expect
someone to stay put in one building
for hours – while a bomber is called
in. Seems a moving target, by force of habit
will keep moving.

The man who draped
the U.S. flag over the face
of the statue of Saddam Hussein – just before
it was toppled
was Burmese.

The Burmese expert last Friday
said – the Burmese people expect/
want? A U.S. invasion. They say
“After the diamond, the gold.” “Sein”
“hu-sein” means “diamond”
“Shwe” in General Than Shwe, the present dictator,
means -- “gold.”

At one time Saddam Hussein and the Burmese junta
Used the same P.R. firm
in Washington, DC.

If you stretch far enough, Everything is
to Everything.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My visual art bio for Friendship Heights Village Center Group Show- Nov-Dec 2006

Kyi May Kaung has had 3 one woman shows and several group shows in the DC area since 2001—FLUX at Foundry Gallery, March 2002, BLOTCHES FROM BURMA at Space 7-10, Silver Spring MD, Oct-Nov. 2006 and currently FREEDOM, with 3 other asylee and refugee artists at Gateway Heliport Gallery, Silver Spring (on till the first week of Dec.) A new show MOSTLY BURMESE MUGS -- of anonymous or fictional “portraits,” painted porcelains and wearable art is planned for Space 7-10, March-April 2007. Kyi has a doctorate in Political Economy from the Univ. of Pennsylvania (1994) – is a prize winning poet and also writes fiction and plays.


My Poetry bio for Nov 8, 2006 reading with DC Poets Against War

Kyi May Kaung Ph.D. has been writing poetry and fiction since she was a teenager, and intensively since the early 1990s. She is winner of the William Carlos Williams Prize of the Academy of American Poets (1993), a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Award (1996), and a Fulbright (1982-1988) and has been a Pew finalist twice. Her play Shaman was praised by Edward Albee. Tina Chang of Columbia Univ. has chosen 3 of her poems for the upcoming Norton Anthology. Another poem in honor of Pablo Neruda was chosen by Marilyn Hacker and Ram Devenini for Rattapallax's special (CD) edition.

Kyi has published 2 chapbooks, Pelted with Petals: The Burmese Poems and Tibetan Tanka, both from Intertext AK. Her poetry has appeared in Poets' Attic, Meridian Anthology, Mosaic and Passport magazines. In international radio 1997-2001 she wrote and produced a well-regarded weekly on dissident poetry -- and now runs a literary salon in MD.

Kyi has read in universities and colleges all over N. America and with Burmese dissident groups. This is her first appearance with DC PAW.