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Nguyen Ba Chung and Martha Collins with Fred Marchant

Nguyen Ba Chung and Martha Collins with Fred Marchant

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for an in-store event with translators Nguyen Ba Chung and Martha Collins to discuss and celebrate the release of Dreaming the Mountain by Tuệ Sỹ. They will be in conversation with poet Fred Marchant.

The North American debut of Tuệ Sỹ—poet, monk, scholar, dissident, and one of the great cultural figures of modern Vietnam—and a new bilingual edition to the Seedbank series.

Assembled and co-translated by Vietnamese poet and essayist Nguyen Ba Chung and acclaimed American poet Martha Collins, Dreaming the Mountain reflects a lifetime of creation, crisis, and commitment. With poems presented on facing pages in Vietnamese and English, this volume includes the early imagism of Tuệ Sỹ’s Zen studies as a scholar and critic, midlife work that represents his attempted retreat from the devastation of war and subsequent years of imprisonment, and late, elliptical poems that give intensely lyrical expression to a lifetime of profound experience. From the “fleeting dream of red blood at dusk” to the quiet determination of one who sets out to “repaint the dawn,” these poems reflect the journey of an artist who speaks for his country, who captures its darkness and its light. At once personal and universal, coolly observant and deeply compassionate, the poems of Tuệ Sỹ bring singular attention to a fleeting, painfully beautiful world.

Nguyen Ba Chung is a writer, poet, and translator whose essays and translations have appeared in Vietnam ForumNew Asia ReviewBoston ReviewCompostNationManoa, and elsewhere. Beginning in 1987, he was associated with the William Joiner Center of the University of Massachusetts Boston, responsible for bringing Vietnamese writers to Boston, translating their poetry and short stories, and introducing them to an American audience. In 1996, he started working full-time there and began a Summer Study Program with Hue University, Vietnam. He is the co-translator of over a dozen previous works, including A Time Far PastFrom a Corner of My YardDistant RoadSix Vietnamese PoetsLe Nguyen Zen Poem; and Carrying the Mountain and River on Our Shoulders. Several collections of his own poetry have been published in Vietnam. 

Martha Collins has published eleven volumes of poetry, most recently Casualty Reports and  Because What Else Could I Do, which won the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award. Her previous books include a trilogy of works that focus on race, beginning with Blue Front and followed by White Papers and Admit One: An American Scrapbook. Collins has also published four previous volumes of co-translated Vietnamese poetry, and co-edited a number of volumes, including, with Kevin Prufer, Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries. Founder of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and former Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College, Collins lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Moderator Fred Marchant is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent of which is Said Not Said, published by Graywolf Press and recognized as an "Honors Book" by the Massachusetts Book Awards. His first book, Tipping Point, won the 1993 Washington Prize, and was reissued by The Word Works in a 20th anniversary second edition. An emeritus professor of English and the founding director of the Poetry Center at Suffolk University. Marchant is the editor of Another World Instead, a selection of the early poems of William Stafford. Marchant has also co-translated, with Nguyen Ba Chung, work by the Vietnamese poets, Lê Chí, Võ Quê, and Trần Đăng Khoa.