Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Longlisted for the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. PAPER BELLS is a striking, new collection by poet Phan Nhiên Hạo, depicting his American life as a Vietnamese refugee and poet of exile, translated by poet Hai-Dang Phan. Neither conciliatory nor nostalgic, his plain-spoken style expresses a commitment to memory and history, balancing quiet defiance with a sense of humor and irony, telling the open secrets of Vietnam's postwar record of reeducation camps, refugee exodus, and cultural amnesia, and giving voice to the everyday lives of refugees in the United States. On display here is a homespun resourcefulness and restless imagination, ever aware of the precarity of life in exile: "Maybe such a story seems unbelievable / for your analytical mind. / Yet for us, the people who hatched from eggs, / all things are just legends, / including fresh blood." A perfect introduction to the compelling work of Phan Nhiên Hạo, PAPER BELLS is a chronological selection that includes poems from his three collections published in Vietnamese, poems written during his first years in the United States, and new poems published here for the first time.
Michael Freeman @ Mekong ReviewSpencer Hupp @ Sewanee ReviewGreg Bern @ North of Oxford
Phan Nhiên Hạo is the author of three collections of poetry in Vietnamese, Thiên Đường Chuông Giấy (Paradise of Paper Bells, 1998), Chế Tạo Thơ Ca 99-04 (Manufacturing Poetry 99-04, 2004), and Radio Mùa Hè (Summer Radio, 2019). He received a BA in Vietnamese Literature from the Teachers' College in Saigon, a BA in American Literature and a Masters in Library Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a Masters in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. His poetry has been translated into English and featured in Of Vietnam Identities in Dialogue (Palgrave, 2001), Three Vietnamese Poets (Tinfish, 2001), Language for a New Century (W. W. Norton, 2008), and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (Chax Press, 2013). In 2006, Tupelo Press published a bilingual collection of his poetry, Night, Fish, and Charlie Parker, translated by Linh Dinh. He currently lives and works as an academic librarian in Illinois. Author City: CHICAGO, IL USA