Item description for The S.E.A. Write Anthology of Thai Short Stories and Poems by Nitaya Masavisuth...
This anthology presents the selected works of eleven contemporary Thai writers who have won prizes in various categories in the prestigious Southeast Asian Writers Award, known as the S.E.A. Write. Since the first annual S.E.A. Write competition in 1979, six novels, six short story collections, and five poetry collections have been awarded the prize in Thailand. A sampling of the short stories and poetry have been gathered together in this volume. All are by well-known writers, two of whom have recently been named National Artists in Literature.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The S.E.A. Write Anthology of Thai Short Stories and Poems?
"If men grew deaf to poetry's charms, what treasures could replace the loss?" Jul 30, 2008
Despite its boring and blandly generic title, this unassuming little tome packs a punch, offering an all too brief but highly memorable glimpse of the vibrant and varied contemporary literature of Thailand. While hardly extensive as an anthology, it makes up in quality for what it lacks in quantity with its splendid sampling of award-winning works by recognized and representative writers. While initially just a tad suspicious of the official tinge of the book given its basis of selection, the great variety and range of the featured works set my mind at ease--clearly the only agenda here was literary quality in its many tones and hues, and the awards were clearly well deserved. Among the short stories one will find grim and troubling naturalism, subtle but surreal magical realism, movingly personal portraits and sketches, modern fables with an edge of morbid humor, and hilariously biting social satire. Among the poems too one will find everything from the lushly lyrical, the deeply reflective, the politically strident, and the allegorically suggestive. And more, of course, but these are what struck me the most upon my first reading.
A host of translators worked together to bring this book into being, most of them Thai apparently. Usually I am strictly of the school that one should always translate from one's second language into one's first, never the other way around, especially when it comes to something as nuanced as literature. However, the excellent and mostly natural-sounding translation work found here surprised me and challenged my presuppositions somewhat. Oh, there were a few evident glitches and unidiomatic lapses, of course, but they were mostly negligible. Overall, fine work. The book also includes a handy and informative set of biographies for the featured writers and an interesting introduction contextualizing the current Thai literary scene (as of the book's publication in 1996) as well as a brief description of the literary award serving as the book's basis and rationale.
All in all, then, an intriguing glimpse, a fine array of powerful little gems from what is clearly a thriving modern literary tradition--one deserving of more attention than it seems to be getting, maybe, but in any case right here's a good start.
Short stories included are: "Nightfall on the Waterway" and "On the Route of a Rabid Dog" by Ussiri Thammachot "The Song of the Leaves" and "The Barter" by Vanich Charungkij-Anant "Mother" and "The Beggars" by Anchan "People on the Bridge" and "The Prophecy" by Phaithun Thanya "Mid-Road Family" and "Sawdust Brain and the Wrapping Paper" by Sila Khomchai
Poems included are: "Mere Movement" and "The Way of the Snail" by Naowarat Pongpaiboon "A Beggar's Chant" by Khomthuan Khanthanu "A Poet's Pledge" by Angkarn Kalayanapong "The Defiance of a Flower" and "Life" by Chiranan Pitpreecha "Change", "Gloves", "Child Dishwasher" and "Hidden" by Saksiri Meesomsueb "Real Silk from Mother's Hand" and "Banana-Leaf Maiden" by Phaiwarin Khao-Ngam