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Kinnara by Angkarn Kalayanapong

With the power of beautiful words comes great responsibility. That was the life motto of Angkarn Kalayanapong, a renowned poet and Thai National Artist, who passed away on 25th August 2012 at the age of 86 after long battles against heart disease and diabetes.

"I breathe poems," Angkarn said during one of his last interviews this year. "I do believe that poems can change society for the better. Only people like me are never mistaken that we can do it alone."

The poet and painter were recognized as one of the greatest of his era. He was born in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat on February 13, 1926. Angkarn graduated from Poh-Chang, The School of Arts and Crafts in 1940 and then graduated from the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts at Silpakorn University under Professor Silp Bhirasri, the father of Thai modern art, in 1943.

He was named a Thai National Artist in 1989 (Literature) and won the SEA Write Award for "Panithan Kawee" (The Poet's Pledge) in 1986. In this much acclaimed work, he describes the power of words: "Poetry should be in every throb of the hearts of all poets. Poets are like the heirs of the sky and earth. Poetry is like a poet's breath."

Poets were not ordinary people, he said in one interview. "Since we are born as poets, we have to dedicate our life and soul to it. You give your all to nothing else but poetry. As a poet, your heart is not like the ordinary. If you are a poet, your heart is a poet. Poetry is so important.

"It's like you're losing your way on Mars, and then you find a glass of water. It has charming qualities. It's like our spirit has experienced the universe for a long time before. Poetry is food for the heart. It is 'the vitamin' for the soul."

He began writing in the late 1950s and was initially criticized for his transgressions of poetic convention and use of unorthodox language. Some of his last pieces of work were politically inspired, reflecting the problems in the deeply divided Thailand.

Angkarn was also famous as a painter. He created many highly rated drawings and paintings through his career, including "Prints of Himmapan". In 1955, he was awarded the 2nd Prize, Silver Medal (Monochrome) in the 6th National Exhibition of Art and was awarded 3rd Prize, Bronze Medal (Drawing) in the 12th National Exhibition of Art in 1961.

He liked to return to his work and tried to remove any flaw. "I always go back to refresh my work," he said. "The only time we can perfect our work is when we are alive. After we die, we can't climb out of our coffin and change anything."

His funeral ceremony will be held at Wat Tritosathep at 7pm daily until 31st August 2012.

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Passionate-poet-Angkarn-breathed-poems-30189086.html#

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