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Green Rice: Poems by Lam Thi My Da Paperback – February 1, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Behind the seemingly simple exterior is the delicate tension between Buddhist patience and contemporary anxiety, between quiet sadness and unabashed joy, between the agrarian past and the urban present, between ancient song and modern free-verse lyric, between family and history, between self and nation . . . The best poems in this collection sound remarkably fresh and nuanced and surprisingly transcendent."

—Marilyn Chin

"A delightful aspect of My Da's poetry—indeed, perhaps the hallmark of Vietnamese writing—is the surprising way it summons human feeling from the ancient landscape, from river and field, from fruit and fragrant tree, culling a contemporary self from timeless images. In carrying this across into English, My Da could not have found better translators than Thuy Dinh and Martha Collins, a poet who has studied Vietnamese, carefully listening to its music."

—John Balaban

About the Author

Born in 1949 in the south central part of Viet Nam, Lam Thi My Da spent the war in Quang Binh province, near the scene of much heavy fighting. Author of five books of poetry in Vietnamese, she is widely recognized one of the Vietnam's major poets.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Curbstone Books; 1 edition (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931896135
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931896139
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,201,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Lam Thi My Da may be a well-known poet in her native Vietnam, but this collection of her poetry, beautifully translated by

Martha Collins, should be the beginning of her literary life in the US. She is a poet of minimalist technique, writing that kind of poem that in a few words creates an atmosphere and whiplash of memory that suggests haiku without all the rules.

Though she survived the 'American War' in Vietnam and many of her poems reflect that indelible imprint on her creative mind, she has much more to say about feminist issues, natural phenomena, and the seemingly small issues of everyday occurrences.

Yet it is in her powerful 'war poems' that her work feels most committed. As in 'Bomb Crater Sky': "The name of the road is your name/Your death is a young girl's patch of blue sky/My soul is lit by your life/And my friends, who never saw you/Each has a different image of your face." Fragments of life in Vietnam now reflecting life in Vietnam under war conditions become incredibly poignant in her gifted hands. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, May 05
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Format: Paperback
Green Rice is an impressive, bi-lingual compendium of Vietnamese poetry by Lam Thi My Da which has been ably translated into English by the team of Martha Collins and Thuy Dinh. Lam Thi My Da spent the years of the Viet Nam conflict in Quang Binh province and was near the scene of considerable heavy fighting. Her poetry reflects the costs of that war and are grounded in her intimate involvement with the Vietnamese landscape, flora, fauna, people, and events. Some of her lyrics deal with such timeless issues as love and motherhood, other verses reflect the difficult movement into middle age. All of her work showcases her undeniable talent and provide the reader with unique insights in the life of this gifted Vietnamese woman. Green Rice: Green lotus leaves wrap grilled green rice/Your heart is generous, kind/Though far away, you're in these grains/Life always has bits of sweetness//Though grown now, you're still like a child/I think of you as grains of rice/Rice so green it makes me cry/Oh innocence, gone in a moment//The rice is sweet with the scent of fields/I remember drops of my mother's milk/A grain of green rice is a mirror/Where childhood scenes rush by//Like a dragonfly drifting out of reach/Green rice, green dewdrops dissolve/Oh green rice on my tongue, I wish/You could turn me back into a child.
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