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Zakariya Amataya

June 17 - July 7, 2011

During his residency, Bangkok-based Thai poet Zakariya Amataya worked on new poetry and a novel. Amataya was the 2010 winner of the prestigious Southeast Asia Writers Award. He is the first poetry winner who writes primarily in free verse and Thailand's first Muslim recipient. He has published several compilations of work including, Mai Mee Yingsao Nai Bot Kavi (Poems without Maidens) and Will My Playground Have a Bomb? Amataya studied Arabic language, literature and Islam at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow, India and is now completing an M.A. in comparative religion at Mahidol University in Bangkok. He translates Middle Eastern and Western poetry for Thai literary publications and is working on his first novel. Amataya presented a poetry reading Poems Without Maidens at Shangri La on June 17, 2011, Rhyme and Reason, a poetry slam event at the University of Hawai’i on June 25, 2011, and poetry readings at three public libraries on Oahu on June 22, 23 and 29, 2011.

Here life’s like cane sugar:

a white house
under the Pacific sun,
an unexplained place on the blue planet.
Held by the bluest sky
while a cattle of clouds
dances through nights and days—
the emerald ocean
singing fabulous rhymes.

Some say "You can't look at
yourself in the ocean"
but the sea doesn’t sleep.
After each of our long symphonies
souls depart on their journey.

I look back to my youth,
my imagination,
my dreams,
I look for an unknown land
beyond the horizon
where the sky kisses the ocean.
And so it must be.




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