Poems from Captured Documents

Poems from Captured Documents

by Thanh T. Nguyen

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While the recent opening of relations between Vietnam and the U.S. brings a sense of political closure to the Vietnam war, the emotional repercussions have yet to be sutured. This bilingual collection is an extraordinary effort at drawing those seams closer together. By providing a translation of poetry written by Vietnamese soldiers during the war (gleaned from diaries, journals and letters captured by the American military), poet Weigl ( Song of Napalm ) and Thanh T. Nguyen demonstrate the enemy's humanity. And while the work is often sentimental and simplistic in vision, it provides delicate insight into the soldiers who wrote--their loneliness, grief and daily struggles--and how much they were like our own. Consider lines from ``In the Forest at Night'' by Duc Thanh, a far cry from the stereotypic pathos created by the Western media: ``Oh friends, my mother is old. / She waits for me in our village. / Every night she waits to see me return / So she can finally close her eyes.'' Disarmingly sincere, the poems provide a rare, humane point of view on the war. (July)
Library Journal
A bilingual edition offering poems from the perspective of soldiers who fought against American military personnel, this breakthrough book offers engaging social commentary on the Vietnam War. The translations are poignant, though several of the poems fall into sentimentality. For instance, examine these lines: ``I am a man from far away./But my heart is full of love./I am faithful to that one word, love,/ Love for the people and love for you.'' But there are poems that are very visual and suggestive: ``Tenth night of the moon/ whose light is bright then dim./Everything waits for the moon/To spread its light to cover North and South.'' This unsettling view of an unsettling war is essential for anyone interested in war literature, especially for its historical significance.-Lenard D. Moore, United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake Cty., N.C.

Product Details

University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
A bilingual ed
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.30(d)

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