Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín

PROMETEO
Revista Latinoamericana de Poesía
Número 81-82. Julio de 2008.

A SHORT ANTHOLOGY OF
VIETNAMESE POETRY

Edited by Nguyen Bao Chan

Hoang Hung
1943

Smell of Rain or Poem of M.

All the tears of the world surround our house.
You lie against me and because the rain is alling
Like nothing we have ever seen, you tell me the sad stories
You have buried in your heart for years:

It rained for thousands of nights turning the darkness white.
Like the cow remembering dung I went crazy remembering your smell
Which you lost lying on anonymous cement floors
Leaving me only nights of rain and the odor of tears.

Do you still love me? How far does your love go?
How far resentment and anger?
Fifteen years are hardly enough to understand our hearts.

The constant rain has flooded the ground floor.
Upstairs we lie under the eaves listening to rain beating on the metal roof.
May death come while we lie here together listening to this rain.

Translated by Hoang Hung & Joseph Duemer..

Hoàng Hưng (born 1942) became one of the most valued poets of the “anti-American-War” generation in 1960’s. He has been a symbol of the spirit of renewal in contemporary Vietnam poetry. His latest book, HanhTrinh (My Journey), 2006, won the prestigious Poetry Award of the Hanoi Writer’s Association Several of his poems have been published in translation in France, the United States and in other countries. In addition to writing his own poems, Hoàng Hung has translated many works of modern poetry from French and English into Vietnamese. In 1987, he won the Translation Award of the Vietnam Writer’s Association for his book Poems by Apollinaire.  He directed a major project for translating American modern poetry into Vietnamese and this resulted in a bilingual book published in 2004. In 2000, he received a grant from the French Ministry of Culture & Communication which provided him with a three-month translation residency. He has been invited twice to Germany, and  three times to USA  to read his poems, give lectures and do translation work.

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