The book consists of translations from Vietnamese to English of the lyric poetry of Nguyen Trai (1380-1442), one of the two most important poets of Vietnam's history. This is the first collection of Nguyen Trai's poetry to be published in English. Nguyen Trai is also famous for his role in the war that ousted the Chinese Ming Dynasty and established Le Loi as ruler of the first Vietnamese Dynasty. Over 150 poems are translated from two languages, Han (ancient Chinese) and Nom (ancient Vietnamese Chinese). The sample work below is taken from the Nom section.
Paul gives an overview of the book:
I build a little house in the way of nature.
It's not much, for perfunctory living only.
No windowsill: wind cleans the floor like a sweeping broom.
The moon is close to the door: no need to light a lamp.
Don't care if dinner is rice with salty pickled vegetables.
Don't want clothes of embroidered brocade.
To catch its cool shade, I lean against a tree.
The little house whistles a little joy to me.
Paul Hoover is the author of twelve books of poetry including Sonnet 56 (Les Figues Press, 2009), consisting of 56 formal variations on Shakespeare's sonnet 56; Edge and Fold (Apogee Press, 2006); Poems in Spanish (Omnidawn, 2005), nominated for the...
The title of Paul Hoover's ninth collection of poetry is misleading. Poems in Spanish is not, in fact, written in Spanish. Instead, Hoover presents a variety of styles and modes that borrow from...