Firstly, in this first article, we would like to introduce you to Sunthorn Phu. Sunthorn Phu was born on 26TH.June 1786 during the reign of King Rama I. Sunthorn Phu was only his pen name. His official name, in full court title, was “Phra Sunthorn Voharn”. (Phra being the title of a Thai nobleman comparable to that of a Viscount in England).

Sunthorn Phu entered royal service during the reign of King Rama II which was a golden era of Thai poetry and fine arts. His poetry writing was quickly favoured by the King although the poet’s reputation unfortunately went down during the reign of King Rama III. However, it rose again during the reign of King Rama IV when Sunthorn was promoted to the role: Chief of the Royal Scribe. After that he was given the official title of Phra Sunthorn Voharn which was his final title when he passed away at the age of 70 in 1855, during the reign of King Rama IV.

The statue of Sunthorn Phu is situated in a memorial park at the Mae Pim Cape, Rayong Province, the poet’s hometown. In 1986, the 200th anniversary of his birth, Sunthorn Phu was honoured by UNESCO as a great world poet. He is often referred to as the William Shakespeare of Thailand and the 26th of June has been declared Sunthorn Phu Day to commemorate his birth.

His poems can be classified into 5 categories:

1. Tale poem,

2. Thai travel poetry

3. Proverbs

4. Play poem script

5. Thai Verse poem

Phra Aphai Manee is one of Sunthorn Phu’s top five tale poems and has been declared the most outstanding and popular tale poem. The story is very exciting with the poet’s thoughts and proverbs interspersed throughout the story. In Chapter 2, next month we shall tell you more about this wonderful story.

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