Renown revolutionary poet
Poet’s pride: President Le Duc Anh presents the Ho
Chi Minh Literature Award to Huy Can in 1996. — VNA/VNS Photo
Huy Can, one of the 20th century’s best-known Vietnamese poets, died on
Saturday in Ha Noi at the age of 86 . Huy Can is known for abandoning the
traditional metres of Vietnamese poetry and pioneering a free-verse style.
In his first collection of poems Lua Thieng (Sacred Fire) Huy Can
captivated readers with highly emotional poems.
First published in 1940, the poet has been a significant contributor to
the country’s contemporary literature for the last 65 years.
Huy Can’s poems most typically deal with the symbiotic relationships
between man and the environment, and are inspired by a love of life, people, nature
and his country.
In 1943, Huy Can published the critically acclaimed collection Vu Tru Ca
(The Universe Hymn), launching him into the public spotlight.
The melancholy tone that pervaded Vu Tru Ca, was less evident in his later
collections, covering a variety of themes and topics, including Troi Moi Ngay
Lai Sang (Morning Comes Brighter Everyday) published in 1958, Dat No Hoa (The
Earth Is Blooming) in 1960, and Ngoi Nha Giua Nang (The House under the Sun)
He distinguished himself as writer of revolutionary poems during the
American war. In 1973, he published Chien Truong Gan, Chien Truong Xa (Close
Battlefield, Distant Battlefield).
Born May 31, 1919 in Huong Son District of Ha Tinh Province, Huy Can’s
father was a Confucian scholar. He was educated in a high school in the Royal
City of Hue and graduated from Ha Noi Agriculture College in 1943.
Huy Can’s work has been published in school textbooks and translated into
He was awarded the Viet Nam’s highest honour for a writer, the Ho Chi Minh
Award for Literature in 1996.
He was a deputy to first National Assembly in 1946 as well as the second
in 1960 and seventh in 1981.
He was Minister for Culture and Information at the Office of the Council
of Ministers, and President of the Union of Literature and Arts Associations.
The poet was the first Vietnamese author to be nominated to the World
Poetic Academy. He co-chaired the Asian-Afro Association of Writers meeting
in Egypt in 1962 and the World Culture Congress in Cuba in 1968. In 2001, he
published a selection of 40 poems entitled Lua Hong Muoi Man (Ardent Flame,
Salt) and a 1,000 page autobiography. — VNS