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New Poetry's last crusader dies at 97

Update: February, 09/2012 - 08:37
End of an era: Poet Xuan Tam. — File Photo
HA NOI — Xuan Tam, the last poet of Viet Nam's Tho Moi (New Poetry) movement has died in Ha Noi at the age of 97. His funeral was held yesterday.

Xuan Tam dedicated his life to poetry, especially the New Poetry movement, which began in the early 20th century by young intellectuals influenced by Western literature introduced to Viet Nam by the French.

His peers included popular poets Te Hanh, Xuan Dieu, The Lu and Luu Trong Lu, who created and used language and unique phrases to express their ideas and to break away from the country's feudalist past.

In the pre-war period, he had published his poems in famous magazines including Song Huong (Perfume River), Thanh Nien (Young People), Dai Doan Ket (Great Solidarity) and Phu Nu Viet Nam (Vietnamese Women).

In 1941, he published a collection of poems named Loi Tim Non (The Voice of Young Heart), in which many poems were written when he was 19 years of age. One poem Nghi He (Summer Holiday) won first prize from the Ban Duong newspaper and was selected to be taught at primary school level.

Deputy Chairman of the Viet Nam Writers Association Nguyen Quang Thieu said Xuan Tam was not only a poet but also a soldier fighting to protect the nation and liberate people from the yoke of colonialism.

Xuan Tam, who's real name is Phan Hap, was born in 1916 in the central province of Quang Nam. He studied at Hue's National School but had to stop studying due to his family's poor condition and began working for Da Nang-based Tourance Treasury as an interpreter. In August, 1945 he joined the revolution against the French. He became director of the treasury department of Zone 5 and went on to work for the Government's Economic Committee and the State Planning Committee until he retired. — VNS

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