Bibliography and translations with brief commentary on Vietnamese poets discussed in the thesis.
Bích Khê (1916-1946) was born in Quảng Ngãi. He was an expert on traditional Chinese poetry and modern Vietnamese poetry. His poetry collections, Tinh huyết (Pure Blood, 1939) and Mấy dòng thơ cũ (The Old Verses, 1931-1936) were considered as products of Surrealism and Magicism. In his poems, there was a combination of colour, music and the demands of the flesh that become a realm of magic.
Nàng ơi! Tay đêm đang giăng mềm
Trăng đan qua cành muôn tay êm
Mây nhung pha màu thu trên trời
Sương lam phơi màu thu muôn nơi
Vàng sao nằm im trên hoa gầy
Tương tư người xưa thôi qua đây
Ôi! Nàng năm xưa quên lời thề
Hoa vừa đưa hương gây đê mê
Cây đàn yêu đương làm bằng thơ
Cây đàn yêu đương run trong mơ
Hồn về trên môi kêu: em ơi
Thuyền hồn không đi lên chơi vơi
Tôi qua tim nàng vay du dương
Tôi mang lên lầu lên cung Thương
Tôi không bao giờ thôi yêu nàng
Tình tang tôi nghe như tình lang
Yêu nàng bao nhiêu trong lòng tôi
Yêu nàng bao nhiêu trên đôi môi
Đâu tìm Đào Nguyên cho xa xôi
Đào Nguyên trong lòng nàng đây thôi
Thu ôm muôn hồn chơi phiêu diêu
Sao tôi không màng kêu: em yêu
Trăng nay không nàng như trăng thiu
Đêm nay không nàng như đêm hiu
Buồn lưu cây đào tìm hơi xuân
Buồn sang cây tùng thăm đông quân
Ô! Hay buồn vương cây ngô đồng
Vàng rơi! Vàng rơi: Thu mênh mông.518
Beauty! Night-hands softly threading
Moon softly interleaving hand-branches
Velvet clouds mixing autumn colour in the sky
Blue fog parching autumn colour everywhere
Starry yellow lying silently on fragile flowers
Missing old lovers had not come through
Oh! Beauty forgot your old swear
Flowers has just brought smell fascinatedly
The love music made by poems
The love music trembling in dreams
Soul comes on lips sound: Honey!
The boat of soul did not come up unpredictably
I found her through melody
I brought upstairs to music realm
I never stop loving her
'Rhythm' I heard like Lovers
How much I love her in my heart
How much I love on the lips
Needn't looking for distant Dao Nguyen
Dao Nguyen was in her heart
Autumn hugs psychedelic souls
Why I do not mind calling: darling
Moon without you tonight blue moon
Night without you gloomy night
Sadness dwelled peach tree finding spring smell
Sadness transferred to Cedrus tree visiting spring queen
Oh sadness lingered Jatropha podagrica
Yellow falls yellow falls enormous autumn)
Ô! nắng vàng thơm... rung rinh điệu ngọc,
Những cánh hồng đơm, - những cánh hồng đơm
Nhẹ nhàng, nhịp nhàng thở đều trong sương;
Màu trăng không gian như gờn gợn sóng.
Từ ở phương mô nhạn mang thơ về,
Đàn thơ cơ hồ lên cung âm điệu.
Đây giây trinh bạch khóc mướt trong mơ;
Đây hồn ngọc thạch xanh sao như tờ.
Ô cõi lầu mây ánh gì kim cương,
Áo nàng thơ ngây nao nao nghê thường.
Thơ bay! Thơ bay vô bàn tay ngà,
Thơ ngà ngà say! Thơ ngà ngà say!
Nàng ơi! Đừng động... có nhạc trong giây,
Nhạc gây hoa mộng, nhạc ngát trong mây;
Nhạc lên cung hường, nhạc vô đào động,
Ô nàng tiên nương! - Hớp nhạc đầy hương. 519
Oh! Perfume yellow sunshine … trembling crystal rhythm
Blooming roses – blooming roses
Gently, silently breathing in vapour;
The realm of moon-colour rippling rippling
From what place terns brings poetry?
Poetic music seems to bring rhythm realm
Here virgin string crying soggily in rain
Here the soul of Jade is haggard silently
Oh the cloudy stage diamond sparkling
Her innocent dress reminds fairy in the moon
Poetry flies! Poetry flies to the ivory hands
Poetry nearly nearly drunk! Poetry nearly nearly drunk
Beauty, don’t touch… there’s music in strings
Music makes flowery dream, spreads cloud sky;
Music reaches pink realm, music comes to peach cave
Oh, fairy! – Drinking music full of perfume
Chế Lan Viên (1920-1989) was born in Quảng Trị. He was both a poet and a poetry critic. His poetry career spread across most periods of Vietnamese ‘modern poetry’. As Hàn Mặc Tử, he started his career by being a participant of Trường Thơ Loạn (Crazy Poetic Group). His first poetry collection, Điêu tàn (Moulder) was influenced by Baudelaire. This collection was a recall of the Chăm Kingdom in Vietnam, which disappeared with the disintegration of the Chăm Dynasty. After 1945, Chế Lan Viên had an incredible change in his poetic soul by approaching the Communist revolution. From then on he found the light in his life, which was getting close to the working class and gathering people in this nation. After 1975, Chế Lan Viên raised a very important issue about the ego of the citizen and the war. He also questioned himself in relation to various facets of life. He created a new ideological path for modern Vietnamese poets to follow: the critic’s voice of contemporary life instead of the previous passionate voice of victory.
Ta cùng Nàng nhìn nhau không tiếng nói
Sợ lời than lay đổ cả đêm sâu
Đôi hơi thở tìm nhau trong bóng tối
Đôi linh hồn chìm đắm bể U Sầu
"- Chiêm nương ơi, cười lên đi, em hỡi!
Cho lòng anh quên một phút buồn lo!
Nhìn chi em chân trời xa vòi vọi
Nhớ chi em sầu hận nước Chàm ta?
Này, em trông một vì sao đang rụng
Hãy nghiêng mình mà tránh đi, nghe em!
Chắc có lẽ linh hồn ta lay động
Khi vội vàng trở lại nước non Chiêm"
Lời chưa dứt, bóng đêm đà vụt biến!
Tình chưa nồng, đã sắp phải phôi pha!
Trên trần gian vầng ô kia đã đến
Gỡ hồn Nàng ra khỏi mảnh hồn ta!520
You and I look at each other silently
Being afraid of lament collapsing deep darkness
Two breaths looking for each other in the dark
Two souls sinking in the sad pool
The girl from Chiem’s kingdom, please smile up!
To make my soul forget worry
What are you looking at the distant horizon?
What are you missing the sorrow of our Cham’s nation?
Honey, looking at a falling star
Please please lean to avoid, honey
Possibly our souls are vibrating
In a hurry coming back to Chiem
Voice still not end, darkness disappears
Love still not warm, separating soon
On earth, the dark realm has come
Detached your soul out of my piece soul
Dương Tường (1932) was born in Nam Định, the same province as Trần Dần. Dương Tường was first known as a translator in Vietnam. He translated many famous Western novels from French and English. He had two individual published poetry collections, Đàn (Musical Instrument) and Thơ Dương Tường (Dương Tường Poetry), as well as a dualpoetry collection with Lê Đạt: 36 Bài Tình (36 Love Poems). Dương Tường was also a soldier. Some of his poems were written about the sorrow of war and the hurt of a soldier after war. Dương Tường had the intention of renewing Vietnamese ‘modern poetry’ by using defamiliarisation. He also explored a kind of poetry that had never been published in Vietnam before: a painting poetry collection without words (Đàn).
Chợt thu 1
Một thoáng rợn tên là heo may
Một hương cây tên là kỷ niệm
Một góc phố tên là hò hẹn
Một nỗi nhớ tên là không tên.521
Sudden autumn 1
A sudden glimpse named breeze
A perfume tree named memory
A street corner named dating
A missing named no name
Chợt thu 2
Chiều se sẽ hương
Vườn se sẽ sương
Đường se sẽ quạnh
Trời se sẽ lạnh
Người se sẽ buồn.522
Sudden autumn 2
Afternoon silently perfume
Gardern silently vapour
Street silently empty
Sky silently cold
Human silently gloomy
Chờ em đường dương cầm xanh
dạy thì nõn dương cầm phố
Chờ em đường dương cầm sương
chúm chím nụ dương cầm biếc
Chờ em đường dương cầm xiêm
vằng vặc ngực dương cầm trinh
Chờ em đường dương cầm khuya
ôi cái im đêm thơm mọng
Chờ em đường dương cầm trăng
ứa nhụy lạch dương cầm xuân
Chờ em đường dương cầm mưa
giọt giọt lá buồn dạ khúc
xào xạc lòng tay khuya
anh về lối dương cầm lạnh523
Waiting for you green piano road
Puberty pure piano street
Waiting for you foggy piano road
Being shy blue piano bud
Waiting for you Siem piano road
Being shinny virgin piano breast
Waiting for you late piano road
Oh the succulent perfume silent night
Waiting for you moon piano road
Blooming stamen piano spring
Waiting for you raining piano road
Dropping dropping sad leaves in serenade
Rustling heart of hand at night
I came back cold piano way
những ngón tay mưa
dương cầm trên mái
những ngón tay mưa
kéo dài tai quái
một nỗi nhớ siêu hình
nhạc nhòe đường xanh
đêm lập thể
những ngón tay mưa
truồi theo phố lạnh
màu nâu cảm tính
đường parabole tư duy
điệp khúc u hoài
những chuyến tàu di
những ngón tay mưa
trời sao bạc
tím mộng Scheherazade
những ngón tay mưa
xập xoè kỉ niệm
ngả nghiêng trời nào
một chớp mi
đừng hát nữa em
những ngón tay mưa
những ngón tay mưa...524
Piano on roof
A metaphysical miss
Blurring the green line
Spreading cold street
Silver starry sky
Purple Scheherazade dreams
The thousand and second night
Falling the sky into
A deep blink
Please stop singing
Hàn Mặc Tử (1912-1940) was born in Quảng Bình. He was the creator of Trường Thơ Loạn (Crazy Poetic Group) and the leader of the Bình Định poetry group. His poetry was close to Symbolism and Surrealism. His most famous poetry collection, Thơ Điên (Crazy Poetry) was published in 1936. Hàn Mặc Tử’s poetry was a mixture of a pure, romantic soul with an injured and hurt body. He had leprosy and was being treated from a very young age until his death in Quy Hoa hospital. His life was a tragedy of poetic desire and pure hopeless love. Due to his complex living conditions and poetic ideology, critics still try to analyse his poetry from social and bibliographic perspectives.
Đây thôn Vĩ Dạ
Sao anh không về chơi thôn Vĩ?
Nhìn nắng hàng cau nắng mới lên.
Vườn ai mướt quá xanh như ngọc
Lá trúc che ngang mặt chữ điền.
Gió theo lối gió, mây đường mây,
Dòng nước buồn thiu, hoa bắp lay...
Thuyền ai đậu bến sông Trăng đó,
Có chở trăng về kịp tối nay?
Mơ khách đường xa, khách đường xa
Áo em trắng quá nhìn không ra...
Ở đây sương khói mờ nhân ảnh
Ai biết tình ai có đậm đà?526
Here is Vi Da village
Why don’t you come back Vi village
Looking light at areca, new rising sunshine
Whose garden silky green like gem
Bamboo leaf crossing over the square face
Wind on the wind’s way, Cloud on the cloud’s way
Sad water breezing cornflower
Whose boat mooring on that moon river pier
Can it deliver moon on time tonight?
Dream faraway guest, faraway guest
Your shirt is too white, I can see
Here the fog blurs human image
Who knows whose love insightful?
Lê Đạt (1929-2008) was the creator of Thơ dòng chữ (word-line-poetry). With Trần Dần and Dương Tường, he participated in ‘Nhân văn giai phẩm’, a movement that required freedom for poets in writing. His poetry collection, Bóng chữ (The Shadow of Words) could be seen as his statement in writing poetry, in which he regarded words as the material as well as the content and subject of poetry. Words in his poetry no longer contained their original meanings but made new words and new understanding in conjunction with others. He wrote ‘Chữ giấu nghĩa’ (words hid the meanings), and his process was a journey of finding meanings under the shadow of familiar but strange words.
xanh khúc phố
Nốt chân xuân
đàn cò lạ
Chập chững dương cầm
ngã tương tư527
Accompanied padding steps
Spring foot notes
Strange stork flock
Từ bước em xa
xuân vắng nhà
Nửa phố gió mùa
mình hoa khép một
Nửa gối trăng soi
nửa buồng mưa dột
Nửa chiếu buồn
nghiêng nhớ nửa giường
Ngõ thõng lạnh ống sơ mi đường cụt
Cột đèn chột
chống một chân 528
Since you go away
The spring absent at home
Half street monsoon
Flower trunk closed
Half pillow moon shines
Half room rain leaks
Half mat sad
Lies on one side missing half bed
Empty cold alley sleeve shirt dead end blind lamp
Stands on one leg
Lưu Trọng Lư (1911-1991) was born in Quảng Bình. He was one of the first poets in the Vietnamese ‘New Poetry Movement’. He wrote poetry, plays and stories. His poetry was the sound of an individual soul that was sensitive in the face of the steps of time and seasons.
Em không nghe mùa thu
Dưới trăng mờ thổn thức?
Em không nghe rạo rực
Hình ảnh kẻ chinh phu
Trong lòng người cô phụ?
Em không nghe rừng thu
Lá thu kêu xào xạc
Con nai vàng ngơ ngác
Đạp trên lá vàng khô?529
The sound of autumn
Don’t you hear autumn
Under sobbing faint moon?
Don’t you hear desire
of soldier husband image
In the soul of sole wife?
Don’t you hear autumn forest
Rustling autumn leaves
The bewildered deer
Stepping on dry yellow leaves?
Nguyễn Du (1766-1820) was born in Hanoi. His family held a high position in the Vietnamese Kingdom. He was regarded as the greatest poet in Vietnam. His long poem, Truyện Kiều (Kiều’s Stories) and other writings such as Văn tế thập loại chúng sinh (Oration for Ten Kinds of Human) contained the human spirit. Among the complex history of the Vietnamese medieval period, Nguyễn Du did not write to support any side of feudatory power. What he wrote were tears for human fate within chaotic medieval life.
Như Huy (1971) is a Vietnamese contemporary visual artist. He belongs to a new generation of Vietnamese poets. He was the co-founder of Zerostation, which is a private group that displayed visual art in Vietnam. The poems of Như Huy tend to break the norms of form and lyrics. He prefers to place verses with the priority intention of creating art and thought about them. Those below poems were translated from his first collection, Những câu phức 530(The Complex Sentences), published in 2008.
He knows that a poem is always its language, always its shadow, always its rhythm, always its writer, always its remain, always its outline, always its mirror, always its plagiarist, always its erased part, always its beginning, always its incline, always its escape, always its long junction, always its memory, always its abstracting manipulation, always its bottom, always its oasis, always its confusion, always its obsession, always its dominant right, always its dark corner, always its document, always its recall, always its grammar, always its maze, always its solution, always its nostalgia. 531
A poem passing the door
A poem passing the door is scraped words, sound, water-blurred light, the condensation of sightseeing right at the flashing out of light from the far window. Everything, everything touched his being. Right at that moment, he suddenly remembered the permanent alienation of human in front of the abstraction of time and space – the unprovoked entities before being screened by human’s experiences.
A poem passing the door is his thought, his imaginings and even his physical existence. Everything seems to brush slightly the external world and make endless vibrations in his mind. At that moment, he suddenly falls into an irresistible romantic hurricane – no longer belonging to this present – mixing into his own memories and gentle love.
A poem – passing – the door. 532
The inability of language
One of the inabilities of language is that it is unable - like that deep blue sky, that pure mirror face, those disordered objects, that gentle hand, that concentrated dark, that hoarse voice, that tumultuous bird song, that crispy laugh, that murky rainy dawn, those raising lips...
to – keep silence – suddenly – without signals. 533
The face of sadness
The face of sadness is when you and I are opposite, as two pictures facing each other, as two mirrors facing each other, as two poluya-sheets of paper facing each other, as two closed doors facing each other, as two cameras facing each other...
Absolutely – silent. 534
Two complex sentences
1. With a strange grammar, you stole completely my source of words – from that, with the actions of tongue, mouth and fingers typing on the keyboard are just my uncompleted – eternal – efforts, to reconstruct the world and reality.
2. Between the deep narrow interstices of various layers of reality, between the different interpreting abilities of love, between the repetitive actions of thinking, between sadness and happiness condensing on the scenery,
What have you been waiting for, H? The day has gone and the sound of door-locking was clattering, from nooks and crannies, behind the back, the heat of lips, your feet are moving slowly, your footprints are etching gradually, you are feeling clearing that breath... And the smile, the smile... a chain of smile tingled up you will never forget...
What have you been waiting for, H? Everything you have told will only be pure dew, even everything you have told now belonged to the others. In an era that words are hidden by images by which words are created, the truth is hidden by our desire about truth; your silence will be meaningless twice because its opposite is no longer pure as before. H, from that time what would you do? What could you still do?
What do you need, H.? What they would like to hear is not what you would like to say but what you have said is so quiet that even it is necessary for them, they will never listen, however, they echoed enough to eliminate any potential interpreting intentions from you. And all the above, what have you decided finally are not what you want, they are just what you and them pretend to believe. 536
Language is an electric cloud, the slice cutting the truth, the dilution distance between two intermittent waters, the young brown at the bottom of deep muscle, the hide and seek of two opposite teams linking each other by an intestinal pink strip, the incline of discourses, the thick malt block sticking on the tongue...
Language is the elasticity of confession and accusing, the endless bottom of half-hearted judgment, a pungent odour of young pine leaves, the garlic spice disappearing after flashing on the tongue, the jellyfish moving dilutely on thick water, the sudden whistle each morning, half of pineapple agar piece cut on cold water...
Language is a compact pail of paint pouring slowly on the flat silk, the tumult of fresh wet leave-beam high above, the eyes sink on the eyes, the strange conversation of tension hands, the deep bite on a big meat roll, the meaning building, the lacking- piece-puzzle, the movement of pickaxe on basaltic soil, the sore throat voice...
Language is the soft dancing cotton, the double-process to infinite, the missing step, the polished rotation, the pale warm tofu, the sound of cuckoo and a piece of innocent pencil, the three-pronged fork-phonetic structure, the breaking switch saving one life, the indefinition of a signal...
Language is the fragility and dangerousness of the middle existence, the sinking swamp holding each step, the indirect approaching to the theme, the confusion hiding on the reluctant conversation, a transition manipulation overcoming all prediction, is a clear glass surface putting over a glass surface... 537
And he knows
The escape begins, and he knows...
The shyness begins, and he knows...
The conversations always belong to the past, and he knows...
Each scepticism begins, and he knows...
The humiliation begins, and he knows...
The forgotten blurring on present, thin and light as a tissue, and he knows...
Silence decides the length of each segment, and he knows... The hurt is coming slowly, and he knows...
The broken mirror pieces sparkling under the sun, and he knows...
He knows that actually the bell is only the bell – that bell makes memory, and memory makes memory, makes memory, makes memory...
He knows that an era is only an era – that era makes memory, and memory makes memory, makes memory, makes memory...
He knows that every action is only one action – that action makes memory, and memory makes memory, makes memory, makes memory...
He knows that every poem or play can begin with meaningless words, such as: ‘Have you seen the scissor?’, or: ‘grey’ , or: ‘hey, we (father and son) change the title, don’t we...’
However, he also knows that, from then on, all the following sentences are only memories of memories of memories... only
Sol Lewitt said: The idea becomes the machine that makes the art, and the echoed memory of this statement is present is a producing-memory-machine, and the following sentence is memory is a machine producing memory, producing memory, producing memory, producing memory, producing memory, producing memory... 539
There is something disintegrating
There is something disintegrating, does it reach a destination?... The fingers type and type and type, or is it the far drum beat, the glass of water?...
Four surfaces are dark. How strange that voice is!...
And the black. She predicted that everything could not end at the beginning.
The step sound and a bunch of copper keys, and the present... The face is only the falling shadow of time wearing glasses, and hair, too...
The sound of truck’s horns. Linguistics and the book you have been looking for many days...
The gentle dropping hands there. Fiction is a part of decision, that’s why he...
Cannot come back. And the new slope is the real reason of speed. That’s it...
That’s it, that’s it, the slight touch on that face...
The careless walks on the pavement, and the dark, and the beat, and the far ethnic trumpet, and the tintinnabulum, and the brown- soil-bird that Neruda loves... 540
Phan Huyền Thư was born in 1972. She was both a poet and a director. Her collection Nằm nghiêng (Lie on the Side) was a voice of an independent woman who tended to express the growing of love and a life-force on her own. She also used strange subjects of love in a free form of poetry.
Nằm nghiêng ở trần thương kiếp nàng Bân
ngón tay rỉ máu. Nằm nghiêng
khe cửa ùa ra một dòng ấm
cô đơn. Nằm nghiêng
cùng sương triền đê đôi bờ
ỡm ờ nước lũ.
Nằm nghiêng lạnh
hơi lạnh cũ. Ngoài đường khô tiếng ngáy.
Nằm nghiêng. Mùa đông
nằm nghiêng trên thảm gió mùa. Nằm nghiêng
nứt nẻ khóe môi
đã lâu không vồ vập răng lưỡi.
xứ sở bốn mùa nhiệt đới, tự dưng nhói đau
sau lần áo lót có đệm mút dầy
Lying on one side
Lying on one side, naked, feeling sorrow for Ban’s tragedy
Bleeding finger. Lying on one side
Warm line pouring from interstitial door
Lonely. Lying on one side
With vapour on the both sides of dike
Lying on one side, cold,
the old cold smell. Dry the snore out of street
Lying on one side. Winter
Lying on one side on the windy carpet. Lying on one side
Long time no mouth tooth desire
Lying on one side
The nation of tropical four seasons, suddenly hurts
Under the bra with thick liner
Lying on one side
Thế Lữ (1907 - 1989) was a poet-critic-playwright. He was one of the first participants in ‘New Poetry Movement’ (1930 – 1945). His poems contributed ‘New Vietnamese poetry’ and Vietnamese Latin language. His short stories introduced the first time horrific detective stories to Vietnamese readers.
Trần Dần (1926-1997) was a poet and novelist in Vietnam. Trần Dần was born in Nam Dinh, a province in North Vietnam. He was the leader of Dạ Đài, the first and only Symbolist poetic group in Vietnam in the 1940s. He wrote the declaration of Dạ Đài in 1946. From 1948, Trần Dần participated in resistance to the French and continued to write poetry. At this time, he also drew Cubist paintings and experimented with different kinds of poetry. From 1955, Trần Dần participated in the Nhân Văn Giai Phẩm Movement, and published the Nhân Văn magazine and Giai Phẩm magazine with a demand for freedom in writing and publishing. Also in 1955, he criticised a collection of Tố Hữu named Việt Bắc, which was considered as the leading standard for poetry in the Vietnamese Communist Revolution. All Trần Dần’s activities requiring freedom for writing were banned and Trần Dần was sent to prison in 1956. After being released, Trần Dần still wrote poetry; however, his first poetry collection (Thơ Trần Dần - Trần Dần Poetry) was only published in 2008 and awarded the life-career prize of the Hanoi Literary Group. Trần Dần inclined towards experimental poems. His epic, Đi! Đây Việt Bắc, was similar to the poetic form of Vladimir Maiakovsky. Some of his other poems were combinations of words, music and painting. Trần Dần was one of the very rare Vietnamese poets who had their own manifesto of poetic theory and followed it intentionally. Trần Dần spent his whole life creating new poetry in Vietnam and opposing authority with regard to writing.
Thơ mini – Mini poems 542
Tác phẩm là bản gốc? đời là bản sao?
Ối ôi, luôn tam sao thất bản
Writing is the origin? Life is copy?
Oh dear, always, tales never loses in the telling
Tôi khóc những chân trời không có người bay
Lại khóc những người bay không có chân trời
I cry for the horizon without flying man,
And cry for flying man without horizon.
tôi khóc những chân trời - bụi đỏ
Ở đó: vắng người
không có người biết khóc – các chân mây
I cry the horizons – red dust
There: lack of human
No man knows how to cry – the cloudy horizons
vô tư như thuở ngày xưa
Nhìn một vì sao
buồn bên ngưỡng cửa
Careless as the old days
Looking at a star
Being sad on the door edge.
Ngã tư xưa
Anh muốn rao lên cho làng nước biết
hôm nay em bạc đãi một người.
Nhưng em ơi! anh chỉ đến ngã tư xưa
anh đứng dưới môt ngôi đèn bỏ.543
I want to shout for everyone knows
Today you treated badly a person
But, dear! I only come to the old crossroad
Standing under an uninhibited lamp
Gạch ngói ruổi rong
những mơ mộng nhớ thương
Các vì sao, ai bắt vít trên trời?
những đinh vít long lanh bằng bạc
Em nhé! Đừng yêu!
đừng yêu những đại lộ gió!
Phố này. Hàng cây này. Cột điện.
Căn nhà thi sĩ đổ. Mùa mưa.544
Dreams of missing
The stars, who screwed on the sky?
The sparkling silver screws
Darling! Don’t love
Don’t love windy avenues!
This street. This treeline. The lamp.
The poet’s home collapsed. Rainy season
Em đã quên ư?
lòng ngã tư mưa lằng nhằng cột điện
Tình yêu của anh như câu cổ tích
kể trong một tối mưa dầm. 545
Have you forgotten?
The heart of rainy crossroad promiscuous electric poles
My love is like a fairytale
Telling in a heavy wet night
Không đề số 4
Mưa rơi phay phay
Ngã tư năm ngoái
Biết tôi khờ dại
Em đi không sao chống cự nổi
Đại lộ tai hại
Em dài man dại
Em dài quên che đậy
Em dài tê tái
Em dài quên cân đối
Em dài bối rối
Em dài vô tội
Em dài – khổ tâm…546
Rain drops continuously
Knows I am foolish
You have gone, defenceless
You’re long crazily
You’re long forgotten covering
You’re long numbly
You’re long forgotten symmetry
You’re long confusing
You’re long innocent
You’re long mental suffering…
Vi Thuỳ Linh was born in 1980 in Hanoi. She was one of the leading poets of the young generation of modern Vietnamese poetry in the 2000s. Her collections were translated into English and French. She combined written poetry with performance poetry and organised two poetry performances in Hanoi. Her first collection, Khát (Thirsty, 2012), was a shock to Vietnamese readers who were familiar with smooth and gentle images about women in poetry and in Vietnamese tradition. Her latest love poetry collection, Phim đôi tình tự chậm (2011), was a filmed poetry collection in words and images. The subject in her poems was love from the inside perspective of a woman who was feeling love-thirsty.
Vũ Hoàng Chương (1916-1976) was born in Nam Định. He was educated in both the Confucius system and the French system. He wrote poems and plays. His works brought the sense of the East. He was a typical poet in the Vietnamese ‘New Poetry Movement’ and became famous with Thơ say (Drunk, 1940), which contained a new way of writing poetry which tended towards music and helped to explore the fate of the intellectual in the complex period between traditional-modern and Eastern-Western contexts in the 1930s and 1940s in Vietnamese society.
Xuân Diệu (1916-1985) was regarded as the ‘king of love poems’ in Vietnam. Xuân Diệu was born in Bình Định province. First, he graduated from High School and worked as an officer in Tiền Giang. After that, he went to Hanoi and began his career as a poet. Xuân Diệu was both a famous poet and a critic in Vietnam. He participated in Tự Lực Văn Đoàn, a private literary group established in 1938 in Vietnam. Tự lực Văn Đoàn had private prizes which helped to encourage Vietnamese writers and widen their credo of freedom in Vietnamese literature. Xuân Diệu could be considered as a spiritual leader of the Vietnamese ‘New Poetry Movement’ (1930-1945) with his romantic and Symbolist poetry. Two of his famous collections were Thơ thơ (Poetry Poetry) and Gửi hương cho gió (Send Perfume to the Wind). His poetry contributed the ego of a person who desired love, youth and spring. He wanted to capture all the moments of life and keep them, in the same way people desired to keep love, youth and spring forever. After 1945, Xuân Diệu participated in the Communist party and wrote poetry during the war about the citizen’s position in a new Vietnamese context of freedom and productivity. At this period, he also questioned the relationship between individuals and the public. The critical writings of Xuân Diệu were also romantic and valuable in examining other Vietnamese modern poets.
Đây mùa thu tới
Rặng liễu đìu hiu đứng chịu tang,
Tóc buồn buông xuống lệ ngàn hàng;
Đây mùa thu tới - mùa thu tới
Với áo mơ phai dệt lá vàng.
Hơn một loài hoa đã rụng cành
Trong vườn sắc đỏ rũa màu xanh;
Những luồng run rẩy rung rinh lá...
Đôi nhánh khô gầy xương mỏng manh.
Thỉnh thoảng nàng trăng tự ngẩn ngơ...
Non xa khởi sự nhạt sương mờ...
Đã nghe rét mướt luồn trong gió...
Đã vắng người sang những chuyến đò...
Mây vẩn từng không, chim bay đi,
Khí trời u uất hận chia ly.
Ít nhiều thiếu nữ buồn không nói
Tựa cửa nhìn xa, nghĩ ngợi gì.547
Here comes autumn
The willow standing solitarily for funeral
Sad hair falling down thousands of tear drops
Here comes autumn, autumn comes
With fainted apricot dress weaving yellow leaves
More than a kind of flowers felt down
Inside garden, red overcomes green
The trembling shaky blast on leaves…
Some thin dry branches fragile bone
Sometimes the moon self-bewildered
Faraway mountain starts blurring vapour
Having heard coldness crawling inside the wind
Having been lack of people crossing the boat….
Spreading clouds on the sky, birds fly away,
Regretted separated atmosphere
More or less girls sadly nonverbal
Leaning on the window, looking outside, thinking of?
Ý Nhi (1944) was one of the leaders in women’s modern poetry in Vietnam. She was born in a traditional Confucian family and knew much about traditional Vietnamese plays. Her poetry was about normal daily life and the domestic life of women. They were read in a familiar way, similar to traditional poetry. She also wrote poetry in free verses.
There is a list of other Vietnamese poets that I have mentioned but have not analysed typically in the thesis:
Before the twentieth century: Hồ Xuân Hương, Đặng Trần Côn.
At the beginning of twentieth century: Tản Đà, Trần Tuấn Khải, Hồ Biểu Chánh.
From 1930 onwards: Xuân Quỳnh, Từ Huy.
The poems in the appendix and most of Vietnamese poems analysed in this thesis are translated by myself. As a Vietnamese researcher, I would like to introduce Vietnamese contemporary poets, who on the one hand, represented for some modern poetic trends in Vietnam; on the other, showed their desires for Vietnamese poetry innovations towards Western ideologies.