một nỗi ôm mang | the bearing

cái gì sẽ ôm mang cái gì, những cái gì đang ôm mang nhau trong vũ trụ này, tôi mở rộng tay, vòng qua nàng để nàng vẫn có thể ôm quả dưa của mình bằng cả hai tay, thật kỳ lạ cảm giác này, nỗi nhọc nhằn mở cơ thể mình để ôm mang điều gì đó, để có thể quyết định sẽ ôm mang điều gì đó, và như thế nào, nhưng có thể không quyết định điều gì đó không, mọi quyết định đều đã có sẵn, đã được làm sẵn nhưng sẽ không bao giờ thành quyết định cho đến khi được nói ra, tôi buông tay,

what will bear what, what things bear each other in this universe, I open my hand wide, around her so she can keep embracing our watermelon with both hands, so very strange this feeling is, fatigue opens the body to bear something, to decide it will bear something, and how it will, but perhaps not decide anything no, each decision has been available, has been made available but will never become a decision until it is spoken out, I let go of her hand,

“Love for a stranger:” A conversation with Kaitlin Rees & Nhã Thuyên

In September 2016, Tongue editor Colin Cheney had the chance to attend the A-Festival in Vietnam, organized by the editors of AJAR Press. While there, he interviewed the organizers of the festival: Vietnamese poet Nhã Thuyên, and American poet and translator Kaitlin Rees.

This conversation at Blue Bird Nest Coffee in Hanoi ranged from discussions of feminism in Vietnamese literature to how to define “contemporary” poetics to the joys and consequences of a close relationship between poet and translator. We’ll also hear a reading—in their original Vietnamese and as English translation—of two of Nhã Thuyên’s poems currently featured in Issue 4.


Kaitlin Rees translates Nhã Thuyên on tonguejournal.org .




*Translator’s Note: primed and drilled is a translation for “học vỡ lòng,” literally “to study breaking the heart,” a phrase for entering primary school where one encounters their first formal lessons reading and writing. Perhaps, as knowledge is stored in the heart in Vietnamese, to begin an education is to break open this storage place.

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