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caravaggios-sacrifice-of-isaac
Several online commenters have pointed out that Covid spelled backward becomes דיבוק in Hebrew, meaning dybbuk, a malicious possessing spirit. Using Google Translate, I found that divoc did yield דיבוק, but now, Google has tinkered with דיבוק so it merely translates as “obsessed.” Very cute. Exorcised, dybbuk is just excessive passion, you see, like a... Read More
Graham, Oksana and their children in Kiev, 2021
You grew up in El Cerrito, just north of Berkeley, then attended Reed College in Portland. Reed was like a madhouse in the 60's. Then you went to Berkeley, before heading to Vietnam for four years, during the height of the war. Did you transform from a hippie to a gung-ho grunt? I was too... Read More
Taipei, 2021
I just interviewed an American who'd traveled for five years straight, but you have been outside the US for 18 years altogether. Why, first off, and how have you been able to sustain yourself? Was there no place you wanted to settle? Will you ever return to the US to live? I had always wanted... Read More
gjirokaster-2021
Borges and Bioy-Casares created a detective who solved crimes from a jail cell. Don Isidro Parodi could help others, but not extricate himself from a false accusation. Removing themselves from the world, desert hermits were still sought out by those overwhelmed by day-to-day problems, whether financial, familial or perhaps even sexual. Nathaniel West’s Miss Lonelyhearts... Read More
tirana-2021x
Though long-inhabited, Tirana never became a city until after World War II. In 1938, it had but 38,000 people. Further, its architectural heritage has been much destroyed during the Communist decades, so there are almost no historical churches or mosques left. A striking exception is the Et’hem Bey Mosque, completed in 1821. Only shuttered by... Read More
Me shack in Al-Quala\
So where was I? As I was saying, traveling during Covid is not exactly relaxing. Entry rules can change overnight, and flights may be canceled at the last minute. No really means no, just like on your first date, all those moons ago. You ain't getting in, so stop begging. On my last day in... Read More
belgrade-2020x0828
There’s a rather innocuous painting by Peter Saul called “Bathroom Sex Murder,” so this article’s title is also a harmless joke. It’s better than “My Summer Vacation,” no? Of course, I’m not anti-Semitic. Jew canceled, I’m just trying to uncancel myself, bits by bits, with tads of cutesy sensationalism. Walking into a bar, a guy... Read More
Writing about Kafka in a Saigon McDonald\
A Saigon McDonald’s is hardly the ideal place to muse about Kafka, but that’s where I am, because I crave ketchup this morning, and I have just enough free time to pose as a writer. Running ragged, I spent this past week hosting two Korean salesmen. They’re in Vietnam for Metalex, a trade convention of... Read More
shutterstock_1066808576
In 2018, the publication of Albert Einstein’s travel diaries was greeted by newspaper headlines lamenting his politically incorrect views of Asians, particularly the Chinese. Most egregious was Einstein’s verdict on Chinese women, “I noticed how little difference there is between men and women; I don’t understand what kind of fatal attraction Chinese women possess that... Read More
Leipzig, 2015
Our first year in Ea Kly was a failure. We lost quite a bit of money. For the past month, I’ve been in Saigon so we could formulate a new game plan. Even in a low-wage economy like Vietnam, plastic recycling is barely feasible. Seeing people falling is funny. In his magisterial Crowds and Power,... Read More
Ea Kly, 2019
Eileen Neff was my professor at the Philadelphia College of Art, and we became friends and even did coke together, though just once. In January, Eileen emailed to ask if I would consider writing a piece about Walt Whitman for the American Poetry Review, where she is a board member. Its late editor, Stephen Berg,... Read More
Trotsky\
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1835, “Among the ancients, the slave belonged to the same race as his master, and often he was superior to him in education and enlightenment. Freedom alone separated them; freedom once granted, they easily intermingled. The ancients therefore had a very simple means of delivering themselves from slavery and its... Read More
Linh Dinh
About Linh Dinh

Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). He has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.