Mountain River: Vietnamese Poetry from the Wars, 1948-1993 : a Bilingual Collection

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Kevin Bowen, Ba Chung Nguyen, Bruce Weigl
Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 266 pages
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An anthology that attests to the power of art to transform the trauma of war. This powerful and moving bilingual collection affirms the importance of poetry in the formation and perpetuation of Vietnamese national identity. A valuable survey of Vietnamese poetry written since World War II.
 

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Contents

White Circle
137
Qua ng Tri
139
Red EarthBlue Water
141
The Father
143
Waiting
145
On Hearing a Chameleon in the City
149
The Incense Smell on New Years Eve
153
Worried Over the Days Past
155

Pham Hong Thai
27
The Couple of the Mountains
29
Bright Starry Night
35
Native Village
37
Return to Tuyen
41
When Will You Return?
43
Condolence to a Friend
47
Bombing at Seng Phan
49
The Red Farewell
51
I Returned to My Native Village
55
The Lamp Standing Guard
59
Emily My Daughter
61
The Division
67
Drum and Fire
71
Wave
73
A Garden in the City
77
Three Bullets
81
Song of the Hammock
83
The Fire in the Lamps
87
Under Moonlight the Baby Sings
95
The Riflemans Words
97
Crossing Pass
103
Footprints in Elephant Grass
105
The Grave and the Sandalwood Tree
107
A Sky in a Bomb Crater
111
0 Life I Love Like My Wife
113
Secret Scent
117
The Alabaster Stork
119
Mountain River
121
Lullaby for the Minority Children Growing Up on Their Mothers Backs
123
Song of the Moonlight and the Dan Bo
127
Hearing the Argument of the Small Prisoners
131
Stop
133
Moonlight
157
In Phan Thiet
159
Where the River Flowed
163
The Space between Words
169
Sonnet for the Bus
171
A Retired General
173
Leaving off Poetry
175
Poem for My Grandson
177
Woman Knitting
179
The Bells
181
After Many Missed Dates You Finally Come
183
Speaking to the Heart
185
Come before the Rain Falls
187
A Small Song of Peace
189
NotJustaBattlefront
195
Folk Festival in the Autumn Night
197
Suddenly
199
In the Metro
201
Oh Stone
203
Lang Son 1989
205
The Co May Flower
207
Wind and Widow
209
New Years Eve
211
Poem of a Garden
213
A Half
217
In the Labor Market at GiangVo
219
At 59 Ba Trieu Street
221
To Return to the Urges Unconscious of Their Beginning
223
The Examples
225
TRANSLATIONS
227
Notes on the Poets
231
Index of Authors and Poems
263
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Page xxii - Responding to different trumpets, families were split into opposing sides. Brutal ideological clashes left bitter ashes of memories. Thousands disappeared at sea. The land is covered with unclaimed bones and unmarked graves. Writing at the end of our century, Nguyen Duy responded to this legacy of loss with his poem "The Father": In this place there are so many who spent half their life in the Viet Bac, the other half along the Truong Son Mountains, men and women who once ate roots, bamboo shoots...
Page xix - ... sign of mourning for those who never returned from battle. Bomb smoke rises in black circles. White circles hover above the ground. My friend and I walk on in silence. the silence expected after war. No loss greater than death. The white mourning band takes the shape of a zero. My friend, inside that white circle a head burns with fire. This was the first sign of division in what had been total dedication to and identification with the national cause. A fissure had begun to open; in the postwar...
Page xx - ... widen. There is no question, however, that during the war, support for the fight was overwhelming. Pham Tien Duat's "The Fire in the Lamps" presents the fight as a natural consequence of an ancient identity: Still, night after night we light the lamps. Lamps to return a thousand years of fire. Fire, from the time of our first struggling life, kept from generation to generation in the rice husks and ashes of household fires. These lines, like many other poems of resistance, resonate deeply in...

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