Việt Nam feted as ‘country of poetry'

February, 18/2019 - 07:00

Thousands of writers and poetry lovers flocked to the Literature Temple in downtown Hà Nội yesterday to join the 17th Vietnamese Poetry Day.

Young women release balloons with poems at the Vietnamese Poetry Day in the Literature Temple in Hà Nội yesterday. VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyết
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI Thousands of writers and poetry lovers flocked to the Temple of Literature in Hà Nội yesterday to join the 17th Vietnamese Poetry Day.

The event also gathered nearly 200 poets and translators from abroad.

Poet Biplab Majee from India could not hide his admiration for Việt Nam as a "country of poetry".

“You have chosen the first full moon as the Vietnamese Poetry Day,” he said. “Poetry festivals take place in many places in the country. Poetry guests from many countries can experience poetry in Hà Nội right here at the ancient Temple of Literature together with thousands of Vietnamese literature lovers.”

Fernando Rendon, chairman of Colombia’s International Medelin Poetry Festival, said the international poetry movement is a “river full of water”, running nonstop bringing about bumper crops, which are festivals and other activities.

 “The 17th Vietnamese Poetry Day together with the third International Poetry Festival hosted by Việt Nam this year are two among influential activities to fill up the world’s poetry river,” he said.

According to poet Hữu Thỉnh, chairman of the Vietnamese Writers’ Association, in the last century, writers and poets in other countries have supported Vietnamese people in many ways through wars.

“Following this friendship, many young writers in the world visit Việt Nam for the first time at the event to express the friendship,” he said.

“Especially today, literature activities have been renovated while sticking to original values of the people.”

Many writers attending this event said that it was not simple to have your poetry read abroad.

The first task is to wipe out the language barrier by translating poems into other languages, which requires long-term training.

Finally, writers should account for audience’s tastes in other countries.

“All involve a long-term cultural strategy,” Thỉnh said.

The association has set up its own translation centre, which is in charge of selecting works by Vietnamese writers to translate into English and other languages.

Three bilingual English-Vietnamese books have been published for this occasion namely 10 Thế Kỷ Văn Học Việt Nam (Ten Centuries of Vietnamese Literature), poetry collection Sông Núi Trên Vai (Mountains and Rivers on Shoulders) and short story collection Một Loài Chim Trên Sóng (A Sea Bird).

Playground for young poets

A highlight of this year’s Poetry Day was a stage for young poets titled Mở Đường Bay Phía Trước (Opening Sky to Take off). Three groups of poems were recited with guitar and piano played in the background. The poems were all inspired by the young footballers of the national team, who have had reaped great success recently.

Poet Kemadjou Marcel (right) from Cameroon reads his poem on President Hồ Chí Minh at the 17th Vietnamese Poetry Day at the Literature Temple in Hà Nội yesterday. VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyết

New poets, who have never been introduced at previous Poetry Day, were praised at the stage including Nguyễn Quang Hưng, Đoàn Văn Mất and Nguyễn Anh Vũ.

Ten international poets also recited poems and met with the audience at the site.

“Many poems by young writers are recited here,” said poet Kim Tae Soo, from South Korea. “Installation art works reflect multiple angles of contemporary life and stage decorated with romantic and also strong styles express a young spirit, an endless energy of youth, which bring along a great hope for Vietnamese poetry.”

A poetry gala will be held in Hạ Long City, Quảng Ninh Province, today while another Poetry Day will be held in the northern province of Bắc Giang tomorrow.

In the framework of the festival, on Saturday, the Vietnamese Writers’ Association hosted the fourth Conference Advertising Vietnamese Literature in Hà Nội.

Addressing the event, Thỉnh, chairman of Việt Nam Literature and Arts Union and chairman of the Vietnamese Writers’ Association, stressed that since the first conference in 2002, Việt Nam has had more literature translated and published in other nations.

“Many of the works have received awards at international book fairs, by publishers, national literature associations while various literature works by Vietnamese people have been chosen to be taught at international universities,” he said. “Effective activities of literature exchanges, translation, publishing and advertising have taken place.”

A total 26 international writers contributed their opinions on the importance of Vietnamese literature in global culture and provided suggestions to better advertise Vietnamese literatue in the world.

On the same day, participants met with students from the Hà Nội Teachers’ Training College and the Culture College.  — VNS