From Berkeley to Burma: Bringing Poetry and Culture to the World

Lyn Aye, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Writing, Humanities Courses

A recently retired anesthesiologist, Lyn Aye now has time to pursue his passion: bringing the culture of his native Burma to a new audience through the written word. Seeking formalized training for his craft, Aye is nearing completion of the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Writing. Writing about Burma in a variety of styles—from fiction to poetry—Aye also takes courses outside of the certificate's curriculum to enhance his education. 

He recalls Mary Ann Koory's Mystery Fiction course as starting him on a search for the identity of the author of a long-lost mystery novel set in Burma. "I even went to Burma and interviewed literary historians, and nobody had heard about her," Aye says. "Finally, with the help of a real-life literary detective, I was able to uncover her identity." The Myanmar Times, the leading weekly news periodical in Burma, published Aye's account of his literary quest. His poems and translations have also been published in the U.K. and in the U.S., including anthologies edited by the U.S. Poet Laureate.

In each course, whether in humanities or writing, Aye looks forward to receiving constructive feedback that helps him better convey Burmese culture to a wider audience. "The great thing about the program is that it cuts across demographic lines," he says. "When you're getting feedback, you don't get it from a single demographic but from different types of people, different cultures. I've enjoyed all of my classes."