In the Home of the Homeless
Angkarn Chantatip's poems are quite distinct from those of all the other poets on our website. His translator, Tracey Martin, thinks this has something to do with the way that Thai poetry hasn't engaged with poetry in translation to the extent that's occurred in other literatures and so it's retained its very particular flavour.
In some ways, his poems can seem like Modernist experimental poetry, where the reader is forced to make connections between disparate images. Yet, Angkarn's poems are less self-consciously insistent than high Modernism. Instead, his suggestive, deliberately unexplicit imagery seems to be a methodology chosen to express his tactful approach to complex issues.
This poem, concerned with homelessness, is an excellent example of the success of his approach. Many poets would stray into mawkish sentimentality or dogma if they tried to take on this subject, largely because they might not be sure about how to position themselves in relation to the homeless. But Angkarn's understated method allows him to express deep knowledge of and sympathy with the plight of the poor without pontificating.
Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator