Sunday, February 28 2021


Popular children’s poems revisited

Update: January, 10/2017 - 09:00
Young artists: Five-volume Góc Sân Và Khoảng Trời (The Yard Corner and Sky Interval) by Trần Đăng Khoa with illustrations.
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — A new illustrated version of a popular 1968 children’s poetry book, entitled Góc Sân Và Khoảng Trời (The Yard Corner and Sky Interval), will be released in Hà Nội on January 16.

The book by Trần Đăng Khoa comprises about 60 poems, divided into five short volumes: Khi Mẹ Vắng Nhà (When Mother Is Away from Home); Trăng Sáng Sân Nhà Em (The Moon Shines on My House); Mang Biển Về Quê (Bringing the Sea to the Coutryside.);  Hạt Gạo Làng Ta (Rice Seed in Our Village) and Con Bướm Vàng (Yellow Butterfly)

The book was illustrated by five young artist teams, including Wazza Pink and NHO.A; Vườn Studio; Phạm Quang Phúc; Killien Huynh and Phùng Nguyên Quang and Nho Huy. 

New life: The Eye

Wazza Pink and NHO.A won the Grand Prize of the Samsung Kids Time Award competition held early last year in Singapore; Killien Huynh and Phùng Nguyên Quang took first prize at The Scholastic Picture Book Award - a joint initiative of the National Book Development Council of Singapore and Scholastic Asia. 

"We encourage all the artists to express their feelings as they read the poems. It is neccessary before they begin to illustrate them," said Nguyễn Quang Vinh from the Huy Hoàng Book House. "All the artists were born in the 1990s. We chose them because of their new and fresh feelings about popular poetry."

The artists’ perspective is also shaped by the fact that they did not experience rural life in times of war, which some of the poems describe.

"Sometimes we cannot imagine exactly what the poet describes," said artist Nành from Vườn Studio team. "We have to draw daily life in the north, which we have never seen."

"It is very surprising for me. I’m very happy to see beautiful illustrations by young artists," said poet Khoa. "Each illustration is an independent artwork blowing a new breath into my poems. I don’t know whether their paintings illustrate my work or my poems illustrate  the paintings".

"I like two illustrations for poems entitled Nửa Đêm Tỉnh Giấc (Awakening at Midnight) and Trăng Sáng Sân Nhà Em (Moon Shines over My Yard) the most. They are creative and vivid. The book is very beautiful with poems printed on the paintings," said the poet. 

Fresh view: An illustration of My Countryside poem.

Poet Khoa is a phenomenon of Việt Nam’s contemporary poetry. Born in 1958, he was known as a child prodigy. Góc Sân Và Khoảng Trời is his first collection of poems and was printed when he was ten years old. Vietnamese people born in the 1960s and early 1970s learned his poems by heart. 

This is not first illustration of the poems of Góc Sân Và Khoảng Trời. In 2011, about ten poems were selected along with other poems by Khoa in a bilingual Vietnamese-French book was illusatrated by French artist Dominique De Miscault for publication in France.

The poet is currently working for Voice of Vietnam (VOV) as director of VOV Television. His books, such as Chân Dung Và Đối Thoại (Portrait and Dialogue) and Đảo Chìm (Submerged Island) have a following of different generations. 

Poet Khoa was awarded the State Prize in Literature and Arts in 2001. — VNS


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