|Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai|Viet Nam News
HA NOI — A US radio show aired the poetry of Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai this week to commemorate the 15th Poetry Day of Việt Nam that falls on Saturday.
The poems were read on Melodically Challenged, a weekly radio show aired on WRAS, Georgia State University’s radio station.
In the show, Mai read her poems in Vietnamese, and US english professor K. B. Kincer read each translated poem in English. Throughout the show, audiences hear Vietnamese folksongs, songs and music performed by Vietnamese singer and songwriter Ngô Hồng Quang. This includes the song "Biển," composed from Mai’s poetry.
An official press release published by the station explains the selection:
“We selected to air Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s poetry because of the quality of the poetry. Quế Mai’s poetry evokes the beauty of Việt Nam and its people. At the same time, Quế Mai addresses a turbulent time in the history of both Việt Nam and the US”.
“To be better citizens of America and the world, we believe it’s important to understand other cultures, and there can be no better path to understanding a person’s culture than through their poetry. We hope our show embraces Americans of Vietnamese descent and celebrates Vietnamese people everywhere."
You can listen to Quế Mai’s poetry at the following link: https://beta.prx.org/stories/197085
Mai is the author of nine books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. She has received grants, fellowships, scholarships and awards from various Vietnamese and international organisations. The Los Angeles Review of Books, in their review of Mai’s The Secret of Hoa Sen, called her "one of Việt Nam’s foremost contemporary poets." Mai writes in Vietnamese as well as in English. — VNS