Poet and critic Layla Benitez-James describes Bamboophobia in Poetry Magazine as, “[the book] includes several poems by [ko ko] thett originally written in Burmese, alongside the poet’s own translations of his work. This collection leaps through languages, while also reflecting on language itself. “I may be able to Burmese my English,” says thett, and “I may be able to English / my Burmese. But I will not Finnish my Burmese.” The book has been shortlisted for the 2022 Derek Walcott Prize.
About the author:
ko ko thett calls himself a poet of no place, a transnational poet, as opposed to a poet of place, a national poet. He was born in Burma, but he has no idea what Burmeseness entails — the untenable notion of Burmeseness/Myanmarness is a theme he explores in The Burden of Being Burmese (Zephyr, 2015). From 2012 to 2020, ko ko thett was country editor for Myanmar at Poetry International, and from 2017 to 2022, poetry editor for Mekong Review. His work in poetry translation has been recognized with an English PEN award. He currently lives in Norwich, UK.