Powering up the Vietnamese software to refresh my (very modest) language skills. It now looks as if I'll be going to VN in the spring to research & collect material for an anthology of contemporary Vietnamese poetry. I will have the able assistence, thankfully, of my friends Ly Lan & Hoang Hung. What I envision is an anthology with extensive notes, interviews and an "ethnographic" essay that treats Vietnamese poetry as a cultural text. Because of the rapid & radical social & cultural changes in Vietnam over the last thirty years, the country is itself an experiment in cultural change; and the Vietnamese have always put poetry at the center of their culture. Poetry still seems to matter in Vietnam. My working thesis is that Vietnamese poetry can be read as a sort of genetuic code.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

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