reading Vietnamese poetry

A poem in Vietnamese by Lê Vĩnh Tài
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Photography: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

reading Vietnamese poetry means 

you’re a National treasure

the poets 

and their dreams of worldly fame

they chase after those already tired 

exhausted readers

products Made in Vietnam 

are National treasures

you must be economical

not in some abnormal 

possessed comical

ictus

as a National treasure

you can not

flex your muscle

and manipulate the mood 

sell your words…

as easy as someone else’s

National treasure… 

May 2019

_____

đọc thơ Việt là yêu 

nước, nhưng các nhà 

thơ

lại cứ mơ

làm nhà thơ quốc tế

bạn đọc chạy theo 

mệt quá thể

dùng hàng Việt là yêu 

nước, nhưng anh phải kinh

bang tế thế 

chứ không phải là cơn lên

đồng như

thế

lòng ái quốc 

anh không thể 

lên gân 

hay lạm dụng cảm xúc tập thể 

để bán hàng hơi dễ

bằng sự yêu 

nước 

của người khác

Lê Vĩnh Tài, the poet and translator born in 1966 in Buon Ma Thuot, Daklak, Vietnam. The retired doctor is still a resident of the Western Highlands and a businessman in Buon Ma Thuot.

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the blogger, poet, and translator, was born in 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

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