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Vietnam War

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Cheyenne, 2013
Promising freedom, democracy and prosperity, America brings widespread destruction and death, but it’s all good, for the war profiteers. Since each Uncle Sam misadventure is a bonanza for them, the more, the merrier. Bring it on! On April 21st, 1975, I was still in Saigon. As the Vietnam War neared its end, there was much... 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
Dien Bien Phu, 2020
Nothing is equal to anything else. In 1904, Jack London traveled from Korea to China. As soon as he crossed the border, he saw what he thought was a much more energetic, resourceful and resilient civilization, Gushing at length over the Chinese, London concludes, “The Korean is the perfect type of inefficiency—of utter worthlessness. The... Read More
So now I’ve been to the Plain of Jars. Among places, it has among the most evocative of names. It sounds so plain, yet so poetic, because we simply don’t associate any plain, or meadow, with jars, and we’re not talking about Mason ones here, but stone, and huge, with the largest ten feet tall... Read More
Vung Tau cafe, 2017
And so we’re in Vung Tau, a sleepy, seaside city at the mouth of the Saigon River. I’m staying in a hotel owned by an Army unit. My room is quiet, cheap and has an ample balcony with an ocean view. I’ve only stumbled onto two other guests, each sitting on a massage chair. The... Read More
Poets Phan Nhien Hao and To Thuy Yen (far left) in New Haven
I’ve only been to New Haven four times, and last week, it was only to participate in the commemoration of the Fall of Saigon, as organized by the Vietnamese Studies Program at Yale. I was one of three poets invited. The other two were Phan Nhien Hao (b. 1967) and To Thuy Yen (b. 1938).... Read More
Giang in Fort Indiantown Gap, 2016
It’s remarkable that I’ve been friends with Giang for nearly four decades. We’ve spent but a year in the same state and, frankly, have little in common. Giang studied computer science, business administration and engineering technology. He makes more in a year than I do in ten. He drinks Bud Lite and recycles corny metaphors... Read More
Vernon (Right) in Friendly Lounge
Looking for Vern for over a week, I finally found him in the Friendly Lounge. Vivacious Kelly was bartending. Overhearing Vern say how he had to take his helmet off because of the letters “VC,” Kelly looked perplexed, “Why?” “Because VC stands for Viet Cong,” Vern clarified. “Viet Com?” When you’re young and beautiful, you... 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.