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The Women Carry River Water (UMass Press, 1997)

The Women Carry River Water cover

Poems by Nguyen Quang Thieu, edited and translated from the Vietnamese by Martha Collins and the author.

About The Women Carry River Water

This book is the first English translation of a collection of poems by a Vietnamese writer of the post-1975 generation. Author of four books of poetry, four novels, and two short story collections, Nguyen Quang Thieu is considered by many to be the most prominent northern Vietnamese poet to have emerged since the American War, which ended when he was in high school. His book The Insomnia of Fire (1992) won the Writers' Association National Award for poetry, one of Viet Nam's most prestigious literary prizes.

Selected and arranged from Thieu's most recent work, including The Insomnia of Fire, this volume is bilingual.

Whether recalling the village of his childhood or exploring the rural and urban complexities of his adult life, Thieu roots his poems in a Vietnamese tradition that honors place. His respect for the passage of time conveyed throughout the collection is traditional, but he moves fluidly through landscapes of the past, present, and future with distinctly contemporary juxtapositions and metaphors. While few of the poems mention war directly, its effects are both felt and transcended in these sometimes sad but always strikingly beautiful poems.

"This is an important book."

—Bruce Weigl

"This book is both timely and necessary for those who are interested in learning more about contemporary Vietnamese culture, literature, and poetry. The translations are perfect."

—Ngo Nhu Binh, Harvard University

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