My wife and I are back in Vietnam. I'm doing OK. For 2 1/2 years, I interviewed 36 people in a series called Obscured Americans. It's somewhat like what Studs Terkel did, except that I give a much, much fuller portrait of each person, with an intro to each that's like a mini essay.
There's a blind nun who's in love with a double murderer, a black Constitutionalist preaching outside Independence Hall, an Iraqi refugee who's raising her children alone in Scranton while working in a Dunkin Donuts factory, a young Hasid who's trying to leave his community, a Chinese bar owner in a white, working class New Jersey town...
I've also continued with my Postcards project, but besides American places, I've written about foreign ones. If you have a moment, check out this recent Postcard about Tokyo:
The foreign Postcards include pieces on Kiev, Marseilles, Tarragona, Mexico City, Phnom Penh, Akreiy Ksatr, Nghe An and Dak Lak, etc.
I'm writing away, Dan, except the American universities have stopped inviting me to talk or teach, for I'm touching way too many sensitive topics, but to compensate for this loss of income, I've gained absolute intellectual freedom. Unlike nearly everybody else, I can say exactly what I think without worrying about being punished by the system, since I'm no longer a part of it.
My iconoclasm is the reason Postcards from the End of America has only gotten one major review, and it was a very nasty one, from that increasingly discredited Washington Post.
So that's where I am, and I'm fine with it. Being in Asia will also give me new topics to write about.
If you come to Saigon, I'll show you around. We'll have a great time eating, drinking and enjoying the insane street life of this crazy city!
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
- Linh Dinh
- Born in Vietnam in 1963, I lived mostly in the US from 1975 until 2018, but have returned to Vietnam, where I live in remote Ea Kly. I've also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), a novel, Love Like Hate (2010), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), and six collections of poems, with a Collected Poems apparently cancelled by Chax Press from external pressure. I've 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 Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in Tokyo, London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.