36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem

Nam Le


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Canongate Books
7 March 2024
ISBN: 9781805300762
80 pages

From the publisher

An explosive, devastating debut poetry book from the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize

36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem
is an urgent, unsettling reckoning with identity - and the violence of identity. For Le, a Vietnamese refugee in the West, this means the assumed violence of racism, oppression and historical trauma.

But it also means the violence of that assumption. Of being always assumed to be outside one's home, country, culture or language. And the complex violence - for the diasporic writer who wants to address any of this - of language itself.

Making use of multiple tones, moods, masks and camouflages, Le's poetic debut moves with unpredictable and destabilizing energy between the personal and political. As self-indicting as it is scathing, hilarious as it is desperately moving, this is a singular, breakthrough book.