By Christina Lydia
I didn’t realize how powerful a gentle fury could be until I read In Thailand It Is Night by Ira Sukrungruang. Ira Sukrungruang is a Thai American writer born in 1976 in Oak Lawn, Illinois; he has written numerous books and is the editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection, a lit journal that has published emerging and established writers — one being Martin Ott. In Thailand, we are taken on a spiritual cleansing, as I’ll call it, through memory and experience; a journey flowing with mythology, religion, creatures of life, and places that once were. Sukrungruang gently guides us with a relaxing tempo that veils a much darker and beautiful fury that I can only best describe as a tempest.
Throughout the storm rains a character whose image is revered in minute places; in shadows and in blocks that gently give power to the impression that is left behind. This character has shared with us images of violent happenings, of nostalgic pasts, of lands that are unknown; we feel a strong dislike toward a father figure whose negativity becomes palpable and present behind each poem. We feel a tenderness for a mother figure whose strength can be described as life giving. In Thailand, we are a witness to sorrow and to rebirth. To suffering and to loss. To regrets and to the quiet passage of time.
How do you capture the moments we call life? How do you record it? In Thailand shows us that language can record moments, memories of our lives, that can be reincarnated in various forms. Sukrungruang shows us that in writing and in art, we can express our most cluttered thoughts; in writing and in art, and we can give a lasting voice to who we are and who we were.
I would recommend In Thailand It Is Night to all who wish to read poetry written by a writer who excels in documenting life with beautiful care to detail and impression.
About The Author
Ira Sukrungruang is the author of Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy and Southside Buddhist (memoirs), In Thailand It is Night (poetry), The Melting Season (stories), and co-editor of the fat books What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. His favorite candy is anything that has sour-sucking power and unhinges his jaw because of extreme gumminess.
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Author bio and image from Sweet: A Literary Confection and Amazon.