Poet and writer Nan Nyunt Swe passes away, aged 87
July 19 - 25, 2010
Nan Nyunt Swe reads a book at his home in Yangon. Pic: Supplied
PROLIFIC poet and writer Nan Nyunt Swe, who composed more than 1200 poems and penned about 800 articles in a six-decade career, died peacefully in his sleep on July 14, aged 87, his family said.
He passed away at about 5pm in his home, one of his sons, U Tay Za, told The Myanmar Times last week.
“On July 13, at 8pm my father went to bed and at 11pm I heard a loud yell from him. I went to help him and he said couldn’t move and wanted to go to the bathroom. Later, I put him back to bed,” said U Tay Za, who is also a writer.
“At the time, his voice was indistinct and slurred and his hands were quivering.
“He didn’t wake up and I started to get worried so at about 5pm I went close and touched him. His face was so cold and he’d stopped breathing. The doctor told me he had died a natural death.”
Nan Nyunt Swe was born of U Thet and Daw Shwe Saing in 1923 in Sinhmee Swe in Pyay District, Bago Division. Ever since he was in middle school, he spent most of his time reading poems.
“When he was 15, the war broke out and Japanese troops invaded our country. He wrote and sent a poem to Greater Asia newspaper and won a prize of K25,” U Tay Za said. “From that moment he devoted much of his time to writing poems,” he said.
Following the assassination of Bogyoke Aung San and other senior government officials in July 1947, Nan Nyunt Swe composed an elegy that was published in the state-run Myanma Alin newspaper. He later received an award in a poetry contest held by a youth association to celebrate the attaining of independence in January 1948.
He worked as an officer at the Information Department of the Myanmar Motion Picture Association from 1948 to 1953. He then worked as a researcher in the Ministry of Culture from 1953 until his retirement in 1980.
“In his spare time he liked listening to music and writing articles on both classic and modern music,” U Tay Za said.
Nan Nyunt Shwe had four novels published throughout his life: Myittar Tay Than Kabyar Myar (A Book of Love Poems) in 1961; Sarsoman Kabyar Myar (Composer’s Poetries) in 1978; Anupyinyar Arman (Art’s Strength) in 1980 and Palae Myeiksone Kabyar Myar (Palae Myeiksone Poems) in 1995.
“His novels always depicted the village where he grew up and the cows he bred. Whenever I wrote an article, he would edit it before sending it to the publisher and he instilled a lot of confidence in me. I am really distraught by his loss,” he said.
Writer Maung Wuntha said Nan Nyunt Swe was an “expert in Myanmar culture”.
“He was steeped in patriotic songs. In 1973 he read some of his political songs at a paper reading hosted by Sarpay Beikman. They were well-liked and consummate and we are still making reference to his political songs now,” Maung Wuntha said.
“Everyone loves not only him but also his whole family. I am desolate at losing him, I feel like I’ve lost a member of my own family.”
Nan Nyunt Swe is survived by two sons – U Tay Za and U Thura, – and two grandchildren.