About the Book
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.
In addition to being a preeminent scholar of world philosophy and a Zen master, Tuệ Sỹ is one of Vietnam’s most celebrated poets. He is a survivor of sixteen years of imprisonment and an eloquent witness to the tumult, tragedy, and resilience of his country over the last sixty years—and a full-length translation of his work into English is long overdue.
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.