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Lost works go on show to depict romantic poet's life

Update: September, 20/2012 - 10:37


Young love: A new print of Gai Que (Countryside Girl) by Han Mac Tu will be released on Saturday to celebrate his 100th birthday.
HA NOI (VNS)— An original collection of poems by Han Mac Tu, initially published in 1936 and thought to be lost to the annals of time, will be released on Saturday to mark the late poet's 100th birthday.

Having died at the tender age of 28 due to leprosy, Han Mac Tu's 34-poem anthology, entitled Gai Que (Countryside Girl), was the only work to be published before his death by Tan Dan Publishing House in Ha Noi.

Han Mac Tu was part of the Tho Moi movement (new poetic trend) in Viet Nam at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1992, the Writers Association Publishing House and HCM City's Literature Research and Teaching Association printed a collection of poetry representing the movement that included a reprint of Gai Que.

A selection of 21 poems, hand- written version of Gai Que has been reprinted many times, however, the complete and original collection had been greatly sought after by the publishing house until Dang Ngoc Tien, a Vietnamese-French reseacher, recently handed it over.

Tien's copy of Gai Que is typed and was owned by Hoang Thi Kim Cuc, the main character in Han Mac Tu's famous poem Day Thon Vi Da (Here Vi Da Village).


The new print, being released by the publishing house and Phuong Nam Book Company, consists of research and commentaries on the poet's life and career. It also documents the character Cuc, who was one of his lovers.

Han Mac Tu, whose real name was Nguyen Trong Tri, was born in the central province of Quang Binh. At the age of 21, he left his home for Sai Gon, now HCM City, and worked as a reporter for the Cong Luan (Public Voice) newspaper.

"Han Mac Tu was a pioneer who laid the foundation for surrealist elements in Vietnamese poetry. Moon, water and air are the main components that make up the universe of his poems," said critic Thuy Khe.

Han Mac Tu, who never married but dated several beautiful women, is also one of the few modern Vietnamese poets to have detailed biographies written about him, including Han Mac Tu in 1942 by author Tran Thanh Mai.

The house where the poet lived out his final days, in Quy Nhon City in the central province of Binh Dinh, now serves as a popular memorabilia, in which all of his belongings remain intact. Respectfully, the clock has been stopped at the moment the poet passed away. — VNS

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