Nhã Thuyên, our guest on Sunday June 26th, is this year’s Poet-in-Residence at Poetry International, the Rotterdam-based poetry festival, one of the largest in Europe. During the interview at Mayflower Bookshop, this Vietnamese poet and performer gave an insight into her life by talking about her love for poetry and literature.
Interspersed with several readings by Nhã Thuyên – and delivered in the English translation at least as convincingly by Freek Bouricius – the interview led past her sources of inspiration: Vietnamese poetry as well as world poetry in translation, such as classical Chinese poetry, Luis Borges, Dostoyevsky, Emily Dickinson, and more recently Etel Adnan. When traveling, she is inspired by the places she visits: “In a new place, you not only see new things outside, but you also discover new things inside yourself”.
The event was concluded by a preview of her new book ‘Taste of Waters’, which will hopefully be published in Vietnamese at the end of 2022 and in an English translation in 2023. Taste of Waters contains 34 poems, each consisting of one long sentence. Nhã Thuyên read the poem ‘Don’t hide the madness’ from the new collection in an original way. She had written the poem, consisting of one long sentence, on a strip of paper several metres long, which was rolled out during the reading.
We were captivated by her imaginative poems and look forward to her new book!