// -->
  • Chicago | Phnom Penh | Osaka

Kosal Khiev Selected from 6,000 Nominated Poets to Represent Cambodia as Cultural Olympiad in London 2012

April 18, 2012

Kosal Khiev Selected from 6,000 Nominated Poets to Represent Cambodia as Cultural Olympiad in London 2012


From 6,000 nominated poets, Kosal Khiev has been selected as a Cultural Olympiad to represent Cambodia in the Poetry Parnassus event in London 2012. Poetry Parnassus is the largest gathering of international poets in world history. The festival will feature poetry from all of the 204 nations competing in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, hosted at Southbank Centre from 26 June – 1 July 2012. Poetry Parnassus gathers a global community of poets, spoken word artists, praise singers, rappers and story tellers reading their work in over 50 languages and dialects.

Kosal Khiev will share the stage amongst some of the world’s most famous poets including rapper/politicial activist Didier Awadi, (Senegal), ex-Sandinista revolutionary Gioconda Belli (Nicaragua), former court poet to Kim Jong-il Jang Jin Seong (North Korea), Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney (Ireland) and Wole Soyinka (Nigeria) and former Poet Laureate Kay Ryan (USA).

Earlier this year, Kosal left his job as a film projectionist to dedicate more time to the art of spoken word poetry. Kosal, a resident artist of Studio Revolt, has been in development on VERSES IN EXILE (2013), an experimental full-length documentary film of his life with director Masahiro Sugano. Working in all English in a country like Cambodia, limited his opportunities and visibility leaving Kosal homeless and penniless for months. Armed only with his passion for poetry, and ability to turn adversity into lyrical verses, Kosal forged forward.

“I broke down in tears the day Studio Revolt informed me of the invitation. I remember watching the last Olympics in my cell thinking one day I want to be there, just to see a game. Now, I am going to perform as a cultural Olympiad. I am humbled and honored.”Kosal Khiev, poet, teaching artist, and dreamer

After the Poetry Parnassus festival, Kosal will travel to other festivals, libraries and detention centres across the UK from Manchester to Much Wenlock, as part of a national tour produced with Speaking Volumes (1-15 July).

“When Kosal was imprisoned in the US, he dreamt of a time where he would be free to be share his work with fellow American poets and spoken word artists. Since his deportation to Cambodia, he thought his dream was over. Poetry Parnassus 2012 will be Kosal’s debut onto the global stage, where he will experience and be embraced by a community of world-class poets, writers and dreamers. We are proud to have helped him along the way as a resident artist of Studio Revolt.” Anida Yoeu Ali, co-founder of Studio Revolt, a collaborative media lab

In a joint effort by 391 Films/KlapYaHandz and Studio Revolt, a CD project, Cambodian tour and a video diary project is being developed. Studio Revolt in collaboration with 391 Films will chronicle Kosal’s journey from the streets of Phnom Penh to a world-class poet performing on the biggest stage of his career.

“Kosal Khiev will represent Cambodia in a very cool and positive way. Who could ever imagine a Cambodian guy, coming straight from Cambodia, performing spoken word in perfect English? This is not the perception the world has of Cambodian people. Kosal is part of Cambodia, a country filled with talented and creative people, who are creating changes in their own lives and thereby transforming the path of an entire nation. We at 391 Films and KlapYaHandz, support Kosal’s ability to turn his negative experiences of youth violence, imprisonment, and deportation into positive actions through art and creativity. We believe that arts and creativity can move Cambodia forward, well beyond its boundaries, to truly change the lives of everyday people here.”
Sok Visal, founder/creative director of 391 Films and KlapYaHandz

Upon Kosal’s Olympic return in July, he will tour Cambodia, bringing his raw energy and unique storytelling voice to audiences in Phnom Penh, Battambang, and Siem Reap. The video diary project will air on local Cambodian networks as well as reach an international broadcast audience.


For additional information please contact Anida Yoeu Ali at studiorevoltmedia@gmail.com or by phone in Phnom Penh at +855-089-751-896 or in Chicago +011-312-650-9638. More info about our studio and other works can be found www.studio-revolt.com

(photo by Vinh Dao)