Note On The Translators
Cari Coe is a Ph.D. student in Political Science
at UCLA. She lived in Vietnam over the years 1997-2000,
teaching English at the University of Pedagogy in Hue and
working as an Education Advisor at the Institute of International
Education in Hanoi. While she studies the political
economy of agrarian reform professionally, she has always
loved the arts in Vietnam and enjoys translating literature
in her spare time.
Linh Dinh was born in Saigon in 1963 and came to
the United States in 1975. A Pew Fellowship in the Arts
took him back to Viet Nam in 1994, where he later returned
to live two years before two more years in Italy with the
International Parliament of Writers. He has returned to
his home base of Philadelphia, from where he travels to read
and teach around the United States. The poet is now preparing
to spend academic year 2005-6 on a fellowship in England.
Linh Dinh made a name for himself as an English-language
poet in the worlds of independent publishing in the United
States before joining in the transnational world of Vietnamese-language
poetry on the Web. He translates in both directions, beginning
ten years ago with Vietnamese fiction into English and now
continuing with American poetry into Vietnamese. He has
as well established himself as a trade fiction author with
two books of short stories from Seven Stories, the only corporate
New York literary publishing house still controlled by an
individual publisher, Dan Simon.
Simon first brought out Linh Dinh’s anthology of translations, Night,
Again: Contemporary Fiction from Viet Nam (Seven Stories,
1996). The collections of short stories are Fake House (Seven
Stories, 2000) and Blood and Soap (Seven Stories,
His Three Vietnamese Poets (Tinfish, 2002) presents
the Nguyen Quoc Chanh poems here on the Viet Nam Literature
Project site, as well as selections from Phan Nhien Hao and
Van Cam Hai. The text of the book may be downloaded from www.tinfishpress.com/vietnamese.pdf.
Susan Schultz, the Hawaii-based publisher of Tinfish, wrote
an excellent critical introduction to the work of Linh Dinh
whose argument is suggestive for the translator’s affinity
to the work of Nguyen Quoc Chanh. “Most Beautiful Words:
Linh Dinh’s Poetics of Disgust” first appeared in the British
journal The Paper,
Issue 8 (September 2004) and is now available at the website
of Jacket, http://jacketmagazine.com/27/schu-linh.html.
For the poetry in English, see Drunkard Boxing (Singing
Horse Press, 1998), A Small Triumph Over Lassitude (Leroy,
2001), All Around What Empties Out (Subpress, 2003)
and use a search engine to locate Linh Dinh’s widespread
publications in on-line journals as well as in print anthologies. For
the poetry in Vietnamese, including translations from U.S.
poets, consult the Australia-based website www.tienve.com and
look for “Dinh Linh.”
Mong-Lan is an English-language poet, writer, and
visual artist. Born in Saigon, she came to the U.S.
at a young age with her family after the political upheaval
in 1975. Besides English and Vietnamese, Mong-Lan speaks
fluently and can read and write also in Spanish and French. She
speaks Japanese on an intermediate level and is working on
a few other languages.
She received her Masters of Fine Arts in poetry from the
University of Arizona and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in
poetry at Stanford University. Her first book of poems, Song
of the Cicadas, won the Juniper Prize and was published
by University of Massachusetts Press in 2001. Why
is the Edge Always Windy? is forthcoming from Tupelo
Press later in 2005. Her poems have been included in The
Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and
in over 50 other leading American literary magazines and
anthologies. In academic year 2002-2003, she was in
Vietnam on a Fulbright Grant.
Mong-Lan has exhibited her visual art in galleries in the
San Franciso Bay Area, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and
most recently at the Dallas Museum of Art. Her own website, www.monglan.com,
is the best portal to a widespread presence in print and
on the Web in all of her media.
A photograph of both Mong-Lan and Linh Dinh relaxing
in a group with Nguyen Quoc Chanh is available on Mong-Lan’s
website, at www.monglan.com/photos.htm.
Born in 1955, Pham Viem Phuong has earned his living as a
translator since 1990. He has published more than thirty translations
in Ho Chi Minh City in the last fifteen years. Phuong lives
with his wife and two children in Saigon and plans to keep
working until death.