Literature award winner reveals his passion for poetry
Lao poet Mr Saykham Champaouthoum was the winner of the 2016 Sinxay Literature Award for his poem “ Champa Padupard ” after receiving much acclaim from critics and other writers.
Mr Saykham decided to write the poem, about his love for the frangipani and the many frangipani trees that grow around his house, to initially submit to the 2015 competition where he was only awarded the consolation prize.
Mr Saykham says that he would encourage the public to read his poem and understand the significance of the frangipani to Lao people both during happy and sad times and to see the flower as a symbol that decorates almost everything in the country.
Mr Saykham Champaouthoum ( right ) receives his award and certificate from Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Bouangeun Xaphouvong.
He said he was grateful that his poem had even been nominated for the award but especially appreciated playing a small part in furthering Lao literature and culture, which he feels transcends his poetry.
“ Champa Padupard ” has 21 verses over five pages. Mr Saykham says he paid particular attention to telling the story of the relation between the frangipani and the Lao people.
There is even mention of Lao hero President Kaysone Phomvihane and praise for his efforts in fighting the enemy and bringing Laos to where it is today.
Each verse is a tale not only about the beauty of the flower but its closeness to the Lao people. In a typical line, he says “… the white colour symbolises the heart of the Lao people.”
“ Champa Padupard ” also tells the tale of Laos' development as well as paying homage to the composer of the song “ Champa Meuanglao ”, Mr Phoumy Chittaphong.
Mr Saykham says that each day before sitting down to write his poetry he would look out on the frangipani flowers and the trees' branches and listen to the song by Mr Phoumy.
He said every piece of poetry that had been submitted to the competition had its value, significance and meaning in promoting literature, and that each poem used the alphabet in such a way as to bring ideas and concepts to the general public which he believed to be beneficial.
He also said that writing poetry for Lao people, especially other Lao writers, was in his blood and that he wanted to pass on the tradition from generation to generation.
Each piece of work was not only beneficial to other writers and artists but could also be of value to students as they could use the content for case studies when writing reports.
During the award presentation ceremony he read a few verses of his poetry to the officials, writers, and artists in attendance.
He feels that this award reflects his success and hopes it will spur interest in literature, especially the genre of poetry, in Laos.
He hopes next year's competition will open up opportunities for younger writers and even monks to showcase their skills and talent to the public and the world.
He thanked the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism as well as Vannasin Magazine and the Lao Writers' Association who all selected his poem as the winner of the award.
By Sisouphan Amphonephong
(Latest Update February 11, 2017 )