Nguyen Do

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Nguyển Đổ (1959) is the pen name of Nguyễn Tô Hoài, a poet from Ha Tinh, living in the United States since 1999.

He descends, through his mother, from the poet Phan Đình Phùng, a high official known for his intransigent resistance to French conquest at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1945 the revolutionaries re-named boulevard Carnot in Ha Noi for him, a sign of respect shown to few other officials from the last dynasty. Phung is only one of many distinguished patriots from Nguyen Do's maternal family, clan, village and province.

Trained as a surveyor at Ha Noi Construction College and educated in science writing at Vinh University, Nguyen Do taught high school in Pleiku and worked as a journalist at the arts and letters newspaper Báo Văn Nghệ in Saigon before study in English and journalism at Sacramento City College, and business journalism at California State University, Sacramento. He lives in the Bay Area and collaborates with the poet Paul Hoover, a professor at San Francisco State University.

They translate Nguyen Do's poetry and together have edited Black Dog, Black Night, a collection demonstrating that Nguyen Do's work represents a mood, a tone, and a style that constitute the contemporary period in Vietnamese poetry both at home and overseas.

Nguyen Do's concern for the present shows as well in his translation of Allen Ginsberg into Vietnamese. He also takes an interest in tradition, selecting works of one of the classic poets of Viet Nam, Nguyễn Trãi of the fifteenth-century Lê Dynasty and translating his poems from Chinese into Vietnamese and English, in collaboration with Nguyễn Duy and Hoover (with Phạm Văn Ánh proofing the Chinese).

Nguyen Do frequently reads his work in person and on the radio both in the US and in Viet Nam.

Dan Duffy started this entry with review by Nguyen Do.



  • Bến Cá Chiều Thu [The Fish Wharf and The Autumn Evening], a book of two poets, with Thanh Thao (Sở Văn Hóa Thông Tin Gialai- Kontum, 1988)
  • Kho ảng Trống [The Empty Space], poems (NXB Hội Nhà Văn, 1991)
  • Bóng Tối Mới [New Darkness], poems (NXB Hội Nhà Văn, 2009).

Nguyen Do's poems are included in his own anthology with Paul Hoover Black Dog, Black Night: Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry (Milkweed Editions, 2008), and in French and Vietnamese-language anthologies.

Short Stories

  • “Chú Cún Con” ( A Puppy), short stories (Bộ Văn hoá và Thông tin Dắk Lắk Kontum, 1988)

Editor and translator

  • Năm Lăm Bài Thơ Tình Thế Giới Chọn Lọc” (Fifty Five Selected Love Poems from All Over), edited and translated with Thanh Thao (Bộ Văn hoá và Thông tin Nghĩa Bình, 1988)
  • Dân Ca Giarai [Folk Songs of the Jrai], (Hanoi: Văn hoá dân tộc, 1993)
  • 123 [123: Selected Poetry of Thanh Thao], bilingual English and Vietnamese, translated and presented with Paul Hoover (NXB Hội Nhà Văn, 2008)
  • Black Dog, Black Night: Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry, selected and translated into English with Paul Hoover (Milkweed Editions, 2008)
  • Về Côn Sơn: Tuyển tập thơ chữ Hán [Returning to Con Son: a Collection of Poems in Han], by Nguyễn Trãi, selected and translated into Vietnamese and English with Phạm Văn Ánh, Nguyễn Duy and Paul Hoover (NXB Văn Hóa Sài Gòn, 2009).
  • Beyond the Court Gate: Selected Poems of Nguyen Trai, selected and translated into English, (Counterpath Press, 2010).
  • With Hoang Hung, he has selected and translated into English many poems of Allen Ginsberg, who assisted the project since 1996. The book is awaiting publication in Viet Nam.

Nguyen Do online


Nguyen Do and Paul Hoover have worked with Cipherjournal and Cerise Press to present the poet's work online bilingually:


Translations with Paul Hoover

Journalism about Nguyen Do


in English

in Vietnamese file:///C:/DOCUME~1/Dan/LOCALS~1/Temp/News-3989.html