YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A poet parks himself on the lawn and unfurls a map of Myanmar with a blob of blood-red paint dripping down from the north. Then he invites people to make poetry with him.

What the message lacks in subtlety it makes up for in brazenness. Government forces have been pounding ethnic rebels in Myanmar's north, displacing tens of thousands. It's the sort of thing you couldn't really talk about here for 50 years.

The rush of hope that greeted many new freedoms in Myanmar is turning into a measured assessment of the nation's progress. Writers are relearning free thought and testing the boundaries of speech. Change has also brought questions about how licensing rules and capitalism will shape public debate and how speech should be regulated in a multiethnic nation.