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Flowers from Hell/Hoa Dia-Nguc (Lac-Viet Series, No 1) (English and Vietnamese Edition) 2nd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0938692218
ISBN-10: 0938692216
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  • Flowers from Hell/Hoa Dia-Nguc (Lac-Viet Series, No 1) (English and Vietnamese Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

What is memorable in these poems is the quality of the anger, the apocalyptic vision, the survival of dreams, hope, and love, the minute observation of prison life, and above all, the survival of poetry in Nguyen Chi Thien...for this tragic man poetry was no luxury - it was the staff of life. --James C. Scott, Yale Council on Southeast Asia Studies

Language Notes

Text: English, Vietnamese
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Council on Southeast Asia Studies; 2nd edition (December 1, 1984)
  • Language: English, Vietnamese
  • ISBN-10: 0938692216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938692218
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,674,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In July 1979 the dissident Vietnamese poet Nguyen Chi Thien burst into the British Embassy in Hanoi with 400 poems that he had composed in his mind while imprisoned by Ho Chi Minh and the Communist regime of North Vietnam for most of the years between 1961 and 1977. They were composed in his mind because the political prisoners were not allowed paper or pen. While in the concentration camps with other writers this poet had influenced Vietnamese literature and protest poetry with his "sacred fire."

Meanwhile, back in the USA, the Vietnam War is over, and immigrants seeking asylum from the Communists are beginning to swell in numbers. Some few were here since the 1960s, remaining at universities while their homeland was blown apart armed by the superpowers (Russia & China, and America & western Europe). Huynh Sanh Thong, a professor at Yale University, was one of these scholars. He had translated the poems of Ho Chi Minh into English, but now (1982) was faced with a photocopy of the manuscript the young dissident had brought to the British Embassy pleading to send them to the free world. The poet, Nguyen Chi Thien, was arrested outside the gates and brought to the Hanoi Central Prion (Hanoi Hilton) and it was not known if he were alive or dead. In reality, he was in between that state, for he suffered 12 more years imprisonment, 8 of them in solitary confinement, in leg stocks, for his poetry.

James Scott, director of Yale University's Council on Southeast Asia Studies, published professor Thong's translations with the original Vietnamese verses as Vol. #1 in the Lac Viet Series (Lac Viet is the original name of Viet Nam)in 1984.
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he was on the short list for the nobel prize for literature for many years, lived near Santa Monica, California, in poverty in old age. From a substitute teacher who refused to lie to his students, to the old man who refused charity [give it to those more in need], his dignity shines a light reminding us all our place in the universe-to claim our destiny

extraordinary courage, dignity, and poems resounding in fighting the dark [Communism and its lies, in his case]
great stuff
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Indeed. Beautiful, compassionate and often into fantasy as, I suppose, a way to console his pain which may have worked within himself but failed to mask the strange mixture of pain, beauty and fantasy his words create. I seem to have misplaced my copy of, 'Flowers From Hell', however, I will give you an example:
"Mens hearts are complicated things: Unhappy, they should blame themselves, not life. Tu Thuc once strolled and lost his way: Leaving the world, he reached peach blossom springs." from 'Sundry Notes' by Nguyen Chi Thien The latter is at the beginning and the book just keeps you turning pages and getting better. To read it is to be illuminated.
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Amazing poetry written mostly in a Vietnamese jail by a true protestor. It is both very personal and very political.
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Very personal and thoughtful poems and unique writing style. One of my favorite Vietnamese poets. RIP Bac Thien.
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