This is a collection of English verse translations of poems written by authors of Vietnamese origin living nearly all over the world. Our humble wish is to introduce their culture to you poetry-loving readers.
The end of the Vietnam War brought about, among others, two consequences: the Vietnam Syndrome, and the Boat People.
The Vietnamese who fled their country following the collapse of the South Vietnamese (Republic of Vietnam) government in 1975 consisted of those who crossed the ocean, crowded into small boats, and those who crossed the border, stealthily amid wild jungles, constantly throughout two decades, totaling nearly one million. This did not include about half that number who lost their lives because of the communist police, the pirates, dehydration, starvation, and drowning. And since the majority did it by sea, they all were called Boat People. Approximately half that million were received and resettled in the United States, while the rest in Australia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, Belgium, Finland, and many other countries.
The current strength of the Vietnamese communities in 150 different countries of the world is estimated at over three millions, mostly in the US.
Together, most Vietnamese individuals and organizations abroad now would consider themselves Political Refugees.
And they have their own unnamed“Vietnamese’s Vietnam Syndrome,”which is different from and more complicated than the Americans’ Vietnam Syndrome.
Not only the Vietnamese Political Refugees themselves but also their descendants, the next generations, do have in their hearts and minds the same emotions and reflections.
Naturally, poets are among those who experience so deeply their personal ups and downs as well as understand so profoundly their fellow-citizens’ vicissitudes of life that they cannot fail to express their true sentiments and thoughts in their writings.
You will find in this anthology, through 146 poems by 81 Vietnamese of both sexes and of various ages living in the USA, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, and Vietnam, the core of their feelings (or syndrome): Feud (with those who have caused deaths, injuries, pain, separation from relatives, loss of properties...); nostalgia; gratitude (to the host countries that have offered refuge and opportunities...); improvements (to integrate into and contribute to the welfare of their adoptive societies); aspirations (for a free, democratic and prosperous Vietnam).
These poets, however, have tried to maintain their four-thousand-year-old cultural legacy while self-confidently to integrate into the melting-pot.
The authors are not only individuals, strangers, of a different race; but, as human beings, reading their works might suggest to widen our knowledge, to discover, learn about, and sympathetically share their situation, somewhat our very own human condition.
We hope that this might be a modest part in promoting communication and understanding between nations.