Ca Dao Vietnam: A Bilingual Anthology of Vietnamese Folk Poetry

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Mosaic Press/Valley Editions, Jan 1, 1980 - History - 87 pages
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During the Vietnam war, John Balaban traveled the Vietnamese countryside alone, taping, transcribing, and translating oral folk poems known as "ca dao." No one had ever done this before, and it was Balaban's belief that his project would help end the war.The young American poet walked up to farmers, fishermen, seamstresses, and monks and said, "Sing me your favorite poem," and they did. "Folk poetry is so much a part of everybody's life, my request didn't seem like such a strange proposition," Balaban writes.The resulting collection-the first in any Western -language-became a phenomenon within the American Vietnamese community, but the book slipped out of print after the original publisher folded in the '70s. This revised, bilingual edition includes new poems and an eloquent introduction explicating poetry's importance in Vietnamese culture.

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User Review  - rick_green - LibraryThing

In 1971 John Balaban went to Vietnam to record ca dao, lyric poems passed down orally through generations. Guided by a sympathetic monk, he traversed the war-torn southern countryside, capturing some ... Read full review

About the author (1980)

John Balaban is the author of a dozen books of poetry, prose, and Vietnamese translations whose accolades include two National Book Award nominations, the Lamont Award, and the William Carlos Williams Award. His translation Spring Essence: The Poetry of Ho Xuan Huong was featured on NPR's Fresh Air. Balaban teaches at North Carolina State University and lives in Raleigh.

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