The third exiled writer in the City of Asylum residency program was Khet Mar of Burma. She came to Pittsburgh in March of 2009, and she immediately planted a flower garden. When the flowers bloomed, her creativity also re-surged.
After coming to Pittsburgh, Khet Mar had a dream, in which her home in rural Burma and her new home in Pittsburgh began to merge. She wrote a story in which she floated in some blended nowhere, shapeless, unable to shake off a deep anxiety rooted in suffering. Then she awoke to singing birds. Her husband, visual artist Than Htay Maung, interpreted her dream-story in a mural covering the front and side of 324 Sampsonia Way. On the front façade is a sparkling vision of an almost ethereal Pittsburgh; on the side is a terrifying image of Burmese peasants working behind a landscape trapped inside prison walls, with birds of prey overhead. At the corner of the house, the Irrawaddy River of Burma meets the Allegheny River of Pittsburgh.
Sign up for City of Asylum Newsletter
"I hope to encourage others to find ways to weave their own blankets, to tell their own stories [...]
To conclude a year of poetry, we’ve explored the broad philosophical questions of how someone become [...]