Poetry Day brings poets closer to readers

The Bach Tung Diep park in district 1 welcomed several poets from all over the city to the biggest poetry event of the year, the ‘Coi nguon – hoi nhap – sang tao’ (Original point – integration – creation) festival from 4pm February 8.

Visitors watch new poetry collections of young poets showed on Poetry Day (Photo: SGGP)

This is a major event among various activities in HCM City to celebrate national Poetry Day on February 9.

A change in this year’s program saw works by senior poets appearing along side works by junior poets. In particular, poetry books by Tran The Tuyen (SGGP’s editor-in-chief) were accompanied works by Ho Thi Ca, Le Tu Le, Thanh Tung, Nguyet Pham, the soldier Pham Sy Sau and the young poet Tran Le Son Y.

As usual, works by junior poets brought some fresh wind to the festival. Doan Nhu Quynh chose to present her favorite poem on a large piece of paper which was torn into the shape of a dress, while the poet Phan Trung Thanh, in a male ‘ao dai’ (Vietnamese traditional dress), chose the lawn to arrange his poem collection, ‘Dong ho mot kim’ (‘The clock has one hand’).

The poet from the central region, Ngo Liem Khoan, chose a humorous and novel way to promote his poems: raising the price of his poetry collection, ‘Tro minh trong mang xoi’ (‘Turn over the body in a gutter), by more than three times the original price. The incident attracted various curious guests to his poems.

The poems by the artistes were arranged as various road signs, which together led to one destination, the main stage. There were many sets of tables and chairs and sedge mats on the grass for the poets and their fans to meet each other and share their feelings about poems. Everyone dived into the flow of poetry.

Among the guests, there were also some foreigners. Though they hardly understood the meanings of the poems, they were still curious and interested in the works. Some were very busy taking photographs of books or asking for some calligraphy while some looked at the poetry books and asked for translations.

Several poems were presented on the stage by the representatives from poetry clubs in the city. Many read verses or dance or act out lively scenes with the scripts from the poems.

When night came, the poets gathered together to read out verses, discussing the poems or reminisced about writing poems. Meanwhile, visitors still spent their time enjoying the displays. Some people watched the poets write calligraphy or read poetry books in a hurry, while some sat beside poets to listen to their stories. Others chose to enjoy the atmosphere by sitting on the grass and watching visitors go by.

The main show started at 7pm with a drum performance and the usual opening poem ‘Nguyen Tieu’ (‘Lantern festival’) by Uncle Ho. Later, the writer Tran Van Tuan, leader of the city’s branch of the Vietnam Writers’ Association read the opening speech, a poem, to declare the festival officially opened. Twenty five poetry readings were conducted by their owners, the poets. 

The festival has closed but feelings from Poetry Day still remain in the hearts of the visitors and the poets.

Today, Poetry Day visits Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature) in Ha Noi. A forum ‘Tho 360 do’ (360 degrees of poetry) is open to young poets, a poetry event, ‘Bac Ho va Truong Son’ (Uncle Ho and Truong Son Road), displays various books containing poems written on Truong Son Road during the American war at the Thai Hoc courtyard.

Various other activities related to poems are being carried out in the festival in the north.

Related article:
Bards get ready for Poem Day

By Tuong Vy - Translated by Truong Son

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