writing poetry is like splitting wood

A poem in Vietnamese by Lê Vĩnh Tài
Translators: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm & Viet Pham
Art: Trần Băng Khuê

writing poetry is like wood chipping

but it doesn’t hurt the wood

until the chip comes flying

splitting poetry’s head right open


April 2022

làm thơ như bửa củi

nhưng mà củi không đau

đến khi củi bật lại

thì thơ chảy máu đầu


writing poetry is like splitting wood

wood feels no pain

but the reaction force

will cause poetry to bleed …

Viet Pham

writing poetry is like splitting wood

but it doesn’t hurt the wood as it should

until the chips come flying

splitting head and poetry is crying

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.

Viet Pham, the translator from Vietnam is currently living in Canada.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

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