2/11/07

Vietnamese samizdat covers

  • Ly Doi, trường chay thịt chó [dogmeat vegetarianism], 2005, drawing by Linh Dinh.
  • Bui Chat, tháng tư gãy súng [broken gun in April], this title is lifted from a memoir by Cao Xuan Huy, about the fall of South Vietnam in April of 1975. Highly sexual, the poems included here are about a different type of "broken gun" altogether], 2005.
  • Khuc Duy, hầm bà lần [hodgepodge], 2006.










                                                                Based in Saigon, these three poets belong to the Mở Miệng [Open Mouth] group. In 2004, the BBC featured them in an article, "Vietnam's rude poetry delights intelligentsia." Also available online is Ly Doi interviewing Nguyen Quoc Chanh, the backbone of the Vietnamese poetry underground.

                                                                8 comments:

                                                                Murat said...

                                                                Linh,

                                                                Do you feel any parallels or similarity of spirit between the Open Mouth poets and the Flarf poets?I do not necessarily mean there is.

                                                                Also, reading your translation of Bui Chat and the interview with Nguyen Quoc Chanh, I feel echoes of Orhan Veli and k. Iskender, once again, only as parallels. For instance,the group Orhan Veli belonged to called itself "Garip" ("The Strange."). Also, the poem of up-your-face self definition, something Orhan Veli did and Iskender picked from him in " "souljam."

                                                                I just wrote quite an extensive response to your lady's man post, which for some reason never showed up. The web ate it up. I hope it reappears because I kept no copy.

                                                                Ciao,

                                                                Murat

                                                                Linh Dinh said...

                                                                Hi Murat,

                                                                Please rewrite what you wrote for the ladiman post. As always, I look forward to reading all your comments (to any post, not just mine).

                                                                Linh

                                                                Linh Dinh said...

                                                                Hi Murat,

                                                                These open mouth poets do use the internet to compose, modifying and tampering, sometimes only slighly, articles they've found on the web. In that sense, they are flarfish, or, rather, flarf poets are open mouthish. Collaging from the internet is a worldwide phenomenon, I'm sure. Having said all that, what K. Silem Mohammad is doing is quite distinctive from what Ly Doi is doing, from what I've done on occasions, using a search engine as another means to compose poetry.

                                                                Linh

                                                                Linh Dinh said...
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                                                                Linh Dinh said...

                                                                Hi Murat,

                                                                Ly Doi and Bui Chat have appropriated other people's poems, changing a word here, inserting a line there, the way DuChamp added moustache and whisker to the Mona Lisa. At other times, they'd modify slightly an article from a women's magazine, say, or a technical one. These antics, abetted by the internet, have not always been successful.

                                                                Me, I'd occasionally trawl the internet for weird linguistic subgroups--aren't we all?--so I can eavesdrop and steal some of their signals.

                                                                I don't pretend to know K. Silem Mohammad's method, although I do find this discussion, Paradigital Literature: a Symposium, between him, Barrett Watten and Catherine Daly very fascinating and sharp:

                                                                http://www.english.wayne.edu/fac_pages/ewatten/

                                                                Linh

                                                                Murat said...

                                                                Hi, Linh,

                                                                I will try to do what you suggested about the lady's man post, but to re-think what i have already written is harder for me than you might imagine.

                                                                Referring to a parallel between open mouthishness and flarf, I was thinking of Nguyen Quoh Chanh's use the word "confuse" in his interview; it reminded me of Gary Sullivan writing that the underlying principle in flarf, more than using the internet or googling, is a sense of discomfort (or fear, I don't remember the exact word he uses) flarf evokes both in the poet and the reader.

                                                                From your translations of the three Bui Chat poems, I would not have guessed that he mined the internet for sub languages. The language seems to come, for me, from a very specific location, without irony. That's why my association with Turkish. Irony is not the same thing as sarcasm or humor. Bui Chat's poems do not seem to have distance from their material, the speaker as implicated as the reader; that's why I liked them a lot.

                                                                I wonder if dada is the western artistic movement with the greatest legs outside a western framework -an abstract language of rebellion, almost by definition non-local. How can it be truly local (in the sense of couleur locale) and still be dada?

                                                                As for Duchamps's moustache, I am afraid that's what some people may think I am adding to some poems in my translations.

                                                                Ciao,

                                                                Murat

                                                                Linh Dinh said...

                                                                Hi Murat,

                                                                Below is a Bui Chat poem that uses language borrowed from an article found on the internet. In about a month or so, Narrowhouse, of Baltimore, MD, will publish a chapbook of poems by Ly Doi and Bui Chat, translated by me. I'll keep you posted.


                                                                For the Spirit. for the body. for living or five reasons why you should choose Vietnamese poetry

                                                                an advertisement to assist ly doi at the Vietnamese poetry booth, at the all-world poetry fair (planned for 2012)

                                                                trust
                                                                it’s a product that has endured for a thousand years

                                                                reliance
                                                                it has been proven by science to be a food with many nutritional benefits

                                                                certified
                                                                it has been granted the certifications ISO 9001: 2000, ISO 14001, GMP & HACCP

                                                                guaranteed
                                                                no cholesterol, no chemical preservatives, no artificial colorings

                                                                a necessity for an active life
                                                                because Vietnamese poetry is a nutritious food:

                                                                •provides instant energy for the body
                                                                •increases the body’s immunity & spiritual strength
                                                                •helps to accelerate the recovery of your health
                                                                •improves memory & mental power
                                                                •is good for your blood thanks to its ability to absorb and use iron

                                                                note: this product is not a medicine, and should not be substituted for medicines

                                                                Linh Dinh said...
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