`EBOOK ⇔ Spring Essence ✘ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

Superb The translations and cultural notes by John Balaban make the poems of the brilliant Ho Xuan Huong accessible to English readers. Jackfruit t Marilyn Chin My body is like a jackfruit swinging on a treeMy skin is rough, my pulp is thickDear prince, if you want me pierce me upon your stickDon t squeeze, I ll ooze and stain your hands Not much is known about the Vietnamese poet Ho Xuan Huong She lived approximately 1775 1825, spending at least some of that time in Hanoi Other details of her life that she was married twice to minor officials, that she was a concubine, that she ran a tea shop where scholars studying for their civil service exams would come to challenge her tend toward conjecture or are entirely legend Because the earliest surviving copy of her poetry is from 1893, it is not even entirely clear which of the 140 poems associated with her are truly hers and which have been attributed to her from a long folk tradition.What I did find clear about Xuan Huong or Xuan Huong from her poetry was not only her skillfulness in writing in luc bat, but her characteristic playfulness and her unabashed sensuality In some of her best poetry, these qualities impart a sense of a real joy in ordinary experience, as in this poem about country living Water bailing t Nguyen Ngoc Bich Not a drop of rain for this dry heat Come, girls, let s go bail water.Let s drag our delta shaped buckets to that huge square fieldwhere our bodies can pulse to the water s lapping.Crouched, straining to catch each trickle from the rockheads,our buttocks tighten with such labor.Indeed we work so hard we forget the effortand, taking a final stance to bend and lift you part your legs a second, and it s filled.Unable to resist bawdy entendre and tricky wordplay, Huong seems equally unwilling to pass up a chance to poke fun of the pompous or inflated To a weeping widow she scoffs, If it disturbs your blood, then swear off meat on passing a general s shrine, she grousesOh, to trade in my lot and be a man Was that all that a hero could have doneHuynh Sanh Thong.If you sense some proto feminism in that last one, you re not alone Huong is most known for her poems which are equally frank in expressing her frustrations with what she sees as the unique tribulations of being a woman At times this takes the form of lament, sorrow in the face of her vulnerable place in a patriarchal, Confucian society Other times she flashes with anger for instance, on the life of a concubine Sharing a Husband t Linh Dinh One under the quilt, one freezes.To hell, father, with this husband sharing.Once in a while, twice a month, maybe,I might as well not have it.Trade punches for rice, but rice is moldy.And work s work, but I m working for free.Had I known things would turn out this way,I would have settled for being alone.In her willingness to speak of her pain and her bitterness, Huong shows she s not cowed Rather her emotionality is a sign of her defiance, which links her to the heroine of Nguyen Du s beloved epic Tale of Kieu, who could ve expressed something like of the following sentiment The cake that drifts in water t Huynh Sanh Thong My body is both white and roundIn water I may sink or swim.The hand that kneads me may be rough I still shall keep my true red heartETA It occurs to me to clarify she s talking about the dessert ch x i n c , which is both fun to make, and delicious with lotsa ginger.It s this defiance that makes her such an irresistible subject of folk legend, and a continuing target of controversy Look no further than the kerfuffle in 2008 when Poetry published some translations of her work by Marilyn Chin, and a publisher of Balaban s Spring Essence accused her of noodling around This kicked off a series of furious letters blog posts in the poetry sphere in which accusations of racism, cultural imperialism, sexism, and of em fighting words were thrown about POETS GETTING REAL, which is undeniably a little funny, but why Cause Ho Xuan Huong gets real In his post on the myth surrounding Huong for the Poetry website, Linh Dinh says her enduring popularity testifies to the Vietnamese s need and desire for a masterfully blunt, loose talking woman I would argue we could all use some blunt, loose talking woman And why wouldn t we when they re this fun and on tap for a penis joke Rating 5 stars Mezzo Cammin The Women Poets Timeline offers a nice essay on Ho Xuan Huong that puts her into historical context and elaborates the Poetry Foundation incident Notes on English translations As for this particular book, John Balaban s Spring Essence is the only dedicated volume of Ho Xuan Huong s poetry in English His translations are generally lyrical, if a teensy lacking in fire He tends to excel at the melancholy and pastoral selections He misreads a few poems, but is overall very readable, offering notes on most of the poems This will be the most accessible volume for many readers, and it s not a bad introduction Rating 3.5 stars Linh Dinh s translations of six of her poems in his aforementioned Poetry Foundation post on Ho Xuan Huong are the best of all that I ve compared, and he provides nice context on the tradition Ho is coming from He s also pretty unsparing about Balaban s translations Marilyn Chin offers a very modern, fun takes on five of Ho s poems that for the record, I consider very valid For greater accuracy, Huynh Sanh Thong has includes some twenty Ho poems in his exhaustive An Anthology of Vietnamese Poems From the Eleventh through the Twentieth Centuries I find his archaic cadence rewarding, though it may take some getting used to. 3.5 5 Kh ng ch ng m ch a m i ngoan.C ch ng m ch a th gian s th ng.No husband, but pregnant, that s skillful.Husband and pregnant, that s pretty ordinary Vietnamese Folk Proverb This work has a high enough average rating that I can display my level of engagement honestly than not Poetry, translation, innuendo although admittedly obvious in than one place all conspire to slow the passage of my comprehension, and a little less than a 150 pages, truncated even by the necessaries of introduction and end notes, is usually incapable of forcing patience onto my reading pace The inevitable argument appears when the overlords of the general public male, WASP, sexually predatory, etc confront a nonwhite woman writing and fucking, and writing about fucking, and perhaps fucking through writing the 21st century didn t invent the conversing played in the theme of send nudez through the late 18th and early 19th century, and the lack of concrete in a EuroAnglo sense of things, of course evidence as to whether H Xu n H ng wrote or even existed and blah, de blah, de blah, has contributed to the piss poor number of ratings on this side of things, but I m hoping Vietnam and its disaspora have treated and continue to treat her better My copy has its female presenting nipples censored with a big ol library ownership sticker that, I m assuming, didn t save it from being subsequently discarded, but there s nothing anyone at the Sacramento Public Library or anywhere else can do about the text, and I m sure it s even delightful in both the raunchy and celibate turn of the word for those who can directly interpret the aesthetically pleasing polygonal organizations of the non romanized scripts As such, never you mind that only one poem spoke to me in any sense that didn t require further consultation of the end notes in order to appreciate One can educate themselves well enough in an extremely necessary manner on the facts and supposed fictions of H Xu n H ng alone.I imagine a fair number of those in the audience saw some variation on the phrase of sexual innuendo and immediately became 69% interested in reading this work, although that thought inevitably leads to contemplation of the sort of sordid white maleness that lusts after their waifu through the lenses of their various masters and doctorates, so let s not continue along that path Beyond the nod at Orientalism that compromises the landscape through which works such as this are permitted to function, as I said earlier, H Xu n H ng, for all intents and purposes, fucked around in an extraordinarily noteworthy and productive sense, and what I didn t get from her writing I will get from the incentive to track down something biographical concerning her as subject, warnings about conflicting and conflating material be damned I wouldn t mind material about the other famous people she interacted with, but what I really want is something about the travels she underwent, as all the awed hints at how long and arduous they must have been pale in comparison to the amount of academic text to be found on her status as concubine, her various marriages established through such a relationship, and even the constant questioning of her authorship, her biography, and, ultimately, her claim to classical fame I don t know the first thing about Vietnamese beyond the romanized syllables of various menu items, but the introduction to this edition tells me that even the text H Xu n H ng is aged beyond modern Vietnamese grasp, much as The Tale of Genji and Beowulf are old enough to need guiding through the convulsions the centuries has forced their respective languages through to let ancient words reach new linguistic inheritors Is the effort worth it Should that even ever be a question worth asking This is my first finished work of 2019, and what a way to enter the year Not an absolute favorite, nor a loved or even really liked it, but does it remind me of how small a place the reading status quo truly has in the world and how much further I have to go Most assuredly, and that s all one can ask of what one reads at times More informed readers will have a much better go at this than I, and until Sacramento Public Library and others commit to the ownership of editions safe from all forms of censorship, all I can do is send this book on its way and hope it wanders into hands accredited, although without the all too often accompaniment of fetishization, than mine As for further pursuits, this edition informed me that my beautiful edition of An Anthology of Vietnamese Poems From the Eleventh through the Twentieth Centuries has a good twenty poems of H Xu n H ng and selections from myriad other names, so I ll be waiting on the incentive to pick that up one of these days I may run into Love After War, Memories of a Pure Spring, or even Dumb Luck first should my instinctive shying away from poetry win out, but it ll be there when I need it C nh thu Autumn Landscape Th nh th t t u ti u m y h t m a,Khen ai kh o v c nh ti u s.Xanh om c th tr n xoe t n,Tr ng x a tr ng giang ph ng l ng t.B u d c giang S n say ch p r u,T i l ng phong nguy t n ng v th hay, c nh c ng a ng i nh ,Ai th y, ai m ch ng ng n ng Drop by drop rain slaps the banana leaves Praise whoever sketched this desolate scene the lush, dark canopies of the gnarled trees, the long river, sliding smooth and white I lift my wine flask, drunk with rivers and hills My backpack, breathing moonlight, sags with poems Look, and love everyone Whoever sees this landscape is stunned. Ho Xuan Huong, whose name means Spring Essence, was a concubine during the end of Vietnam s second Le Dynasty 1592 1788 , a period of unrest and social decay She was a woman who wrote poetry in male dominated, Confucian tradition a remnant, both social and artistic, of the Chinese who had once dominated Ho Xuan Huong s country Though the poems are full of double entendre, sexual innuendo, and subtle attacks on all levels of male authority social, religious, political, etc , she and her works have survived because of her charming cleverness and pure mastery of poetry As the Utne Reader has noted, Ho Xuan Huong was simply, one of the most remarkable poets who ever lived I would highly recommend this volume to anyone interested in poetry or women s studies it is uncomplicated and beautiful Her words are inspiring, and the scenes she paints elegantly mix disintegration and the sacred Similar, I imagine to walking through a ruined pavilion. Ho Xuan Huong s clever way of loading her poetry with naughty double entendres and delicate sexual undertones really resonated with me Her poems on themes other than sex were comparatively uninteresting I simply wasn t very moved by them In light of the fact that Ho Xuan Huong is considered one of Vietnam s great poets, I would guess that the fault lies with the translator rather than with Ho Xuan Huong herself, though. I enjoy anything that has survived against the odds of history, and even so if it s the work of a woman There s a permanence to these poems, a sense that Ho Xuan Huong s spirit is alive in them still She writes about mountain passes, wellsprings, rusted coins, willow trees a second reading reveals the innuendos behind these nouns So, too, we have poems about men and women, life and death, sexuality and love Pluck the low branches, pull down the high.Enjoy alike the spent blossoms, the tight buds The translation is equally fascinating each poem is printed in three forms, 1 the ancient and near extinct N m script in which Ho Xuan Huong wrote 2 the modern Vietnamese equivalent, qu c ng 3 the English translation by John Balaban Having no understanding whatsoever of calligraphic languages, I still enjoyed the sight of N m on each page It gave me a sense of just how vast the gap, not only in time and geography, that Ho Xuan Huong and I had travelled to meet The work of John Balaban in bringing these poems to a wider readership is applaudable and this book marks the first time that N m has been printed as type.My favourite poem was Country Scene The waterfall plunges in mist.Who can describe this desolate scene The long white river sliding throughthe emerald shadows of the ancient canopya shepherd s horn echoing in the valley,fishnets stretched to dry on sandy flats.A bell is tolling, fading, fadingjust like love Only poetry lasts. I ve been in the mood for poetry lately went shopping in my poetry shelves and pulled out Spring Essence Sat down in the morning and had it read by nightfall Think I will keep it on my current stack for a while, so I can pick it up and re read a poems now and again Ho Xuan Huang is my kind of poet I have a strong affinity for certain types of poetry Asian forms such as Haiku, Tanka in the case of Ho Xuan Huong, the form is lu shih , actually forms of all kinds, particularly Sonnets women poets poems that push against societal constraints poems that address love, loss, eroticism I don t mean dirty Limericks Spring Essence has it all Ho Xuan Huang, if she existed at all, lived in Vietnam born sometime around 1785, it is thought she died sometime around 1820 There is some mystery surrounding her very existence and evidently some scholars believe she is a catch all character for one or other poets who did not want to write under their own name due to the dangerous nature of the content pushing at male dominance, erotic double entendre which was verboten.It must have been challenging to translate these poems, maintaining the simultaneous straight and erotic perspectives Evidently, this poet was a genius at this type of poetry.What she wrote over 200 years ago still feels real and current today And even today, she would piss some people off I like that about her.I highly recommend Fascinating, often sexual poems written by an eighteenth century concubine.When I first read this book, I was sure that it was a hoax perpetrated by a scholar or a gaggle of them, but now I m not too sure and I simply don t care because the writing is so interesting.This was written in Nom, a nearly extinct ideographic script From the jacket This book is the first in history to have Nom printed as type, and features the 1,000 year old script alongside its modern Vietnamese equivalent, quoc ngu, and John Balaban s English translations The poems vary in quality as in any collection but there are some real stunners in here Like this Consoling a Young WidowYour funeral cries just hurt our ears.Stop wailing or you ll shame the rivers and hills.Let me advise you on your tears If you ve got weak blood, don t eat rich food.The poet pretty much exhibits the heartlessness and wit one expects of a courtesan, and this keeps the poetry interesting Of course, the poor translator struggles horribly with the poet s constant punning Only can only empathize I think he does very well with a nigh impossible task.This one s been around for a while You ve probably noticed its distinctive cover in one of the chain bookstores before Congrats, Copper Canyon Press Another winner from you folks. SPRING ESSENCEHo Xuan Huong 1772 1822 was a Vietnamese woman poet born at the end of the Later Le Dynasty Period 1428 1788 the greatest and longest lasting dynasty of traditional Vietnam who wrote poems with unusual irreverence and shockingly erotic undertones for her time She is considered as one of Vietnam s greatest poets, such that she is dubbed the Queen of Nom Poetry and has become a cultural symbol of Vietnam I came across her name first in a travel guide where one her poems was listed It led me to search for her poetry It was a sheer delight to read her poems in the book titled Spring Essence , which is what her name means in Vietnamese language The epoch she lived was marked by calamity and social disintegration A concubine, although a high ranking one, Ho Xuan followed Chinese classical styles in her poetry, but preferred to write poetry in an extinct ideographic script known as Nom, similar to Chinese but representing Vietnamese And while her prosody followed traditional forms, her poems were anything but conventional Whether mountain landscapes, or longings after love, or apparently about such common things as a fan, weaving, some fruit, or even a river snail, almost all her poems were double entendres with hidden sexual meaning She brought to life the battles of the sexes and the power of the female body vis a vis male authority, human weakness and desire, and boldly discussed various aspects of religious life, social justice, and equality including sexual freedom, as well as a range of other issues and experiences potentially detrimental to the status and aspirations of women On close scrutiny, her lyrics offer surprising insight into a private Vietnamese past the candid voice of a liberal female in a male dominated society In a Confucian tradition that banished the nude from art, writing about sex was unheard of And, if this were not enough to incur disfavor in a time when impropriety was punished by the sword, she wrote poems which ridiculed the authority of the decaying Buddhist church, the feudal state, and Confucian society So, in a time when death and destruction lay about, when the powerful held sway and disrespect was punished by the sword, how did she get away with the irreverence, the scorn, and the habitual indecency of her poetry The answer lies in her excellence as a poet and in the paramount cultural esteem that Vietnamese have always placed on poetry, whether in the high tradition of the literati or the oral folk poetry of the common people Quite simply, she survived because of her exquisite cleverness at poetry.Her poems were copied by hand for almost 100 years before they finally saw a woodblock printing in 1909.Below are some samplers of her playful poetry I am sure it will delight you as much as it did me The reader will experience Ho Xuan Huong s lonely, intelligent life, her exquisite poetry, her stubbornness, her sarcasm, her bravery, her irreverent humor and her bodhisattva s compassion in these poems.SwingingPraise whoever raised these polesfor some to swing while others watchA boy pumps, then arcs his back.The shapely girl shoves up her hips,Four pink trousers flapping hard,Two pairs of legs stretched side by side.Spring games Who hasn t known them Swingingposts removed, the holes lie emptyMale MemberNew born, it wasn t so vile But, now, at night,even blind it flares brighter than any lamp.Soldierlike, it sports a reddish leather hat,Musket balls sagging the bag down belowJack FruitMy body is like the jackfruit on the branch My skin coarse, my meat thickKind sir, if you love me, pierce me with your stickCaress me and sap will slicken your handsWeaving at NightLampwick turned up, the room glows white.The loom moves easily all night longas feet work and push below.Nimbly the shuttle flies in and out,wde or narrow, big or small, sliding in snug.Long or short, it glides smoothly.Girls who do it right, let it soakthen wait a while for the blush to showThe man and wife mountainA clever showpiece nature here displaysIt shaped a man ,then shaped a woman, tooAbove some snowflakes dot his silver head.Below , some dewdrops wet her rosy cheeks.He flaunts his manhood underneath the moon.She rubs her sex in view of hills and streams.Even those aged boulders will make love.Don t blame us, human beings, if in youth On a journey, the poetess saw two huge rocks, one poised on top of the other, resembling a couple engaged in sexual intercourse The Condition of WomenSisters, do you know how it is On one hand,the bawling baby on the other, your husbandsliding onto your stomach,his little son still howling at your side.Yet, everything must be put in order.Rushing around all helter skelter.Husband and child, what obligations Sisters, do you know how it is A very touching poem capturing the social issues of women On Sharing a HusbandScrew the fate that makes you share a man.One cuddles under a cotton blanket, the other s coldEvery now and then, well maybe or maybe not.Once or twice a month, oh, it s like nothing.You try to stick to it like a fly on ricebut the rice is rotten You slave like a maid,but without pay If I had known how it would goI think I would have lived alone.The Unwed MotherBecause I was too easy, this happened.Can you guess the hollow in my heart Fate did not push out a budeven though the willow grew.He will carry it a hundred yearsbut I must bear the burden now.Never mind he gossip of the worldDon t have it,yet have it So simple This poem is a classic gem of leaving unsaid everything but what is needed A heart unfolding In those times, for an upper class woman, pregnancy out of wedlock could be punished by being forced to lie down while an elephant trod on her stomach, killing both mother and unborn child For peasants, socially far free in sexual encounters, there s a folk proverb No husband, but pregnant, that s skillful.Husband and pregnant, that s pretty ordinary Questions for the MoonHow many thousands of years have you been there Why sometimes slender, why sometimes full How old is the white Rabbit How many children belong to Moon Girl Why do you circle the purple loneliness of nightand seldom blush before the sun Weary, past midnight, who are you searching for Are you in love with these rivers and hills Autumn LandscapeDrop by drop the rain slaps the banana leaves.Praise whoever sketched this desolate scene the lush dark canopies of the gnarled trees,the long river, sliding smooth and white.I lift my wine flask, drunk with rivers and hills.My backpack , breathing moonlight, sags with poems Look and love everyone.Whoever sees this landscape is stunned What an amazingly beautiful sketch it is Look and love even men has a subtle sarcasm Spring Watching PavilionA gentle spring evening arrivesairily, unclouded by worldly dust.Three times, the bell tolls echoes like a waveWe see heaven upside down in sad puddles.Love s vast sea cannot be emptied.And spring of grace flow easily everywhere.Where is Nirvana Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten This is my favorite, a masterpiece indeed Seeking solitude in nature, she realizes that it is nature itself, not any organized religion or other construct of the human world, that holds the key to the search for nirvana and sometimes can see heaven upside down in sad puddles `EBOOK ↬ Spring Essence ⇰ H Xu N H Ng Whose Name Translates As Spring Essence Is One Of The Most Important And Popular Poets In Vietnam A Concubine, She Became Renowned For Her Poetic Skills, Writing Subtly Risqu Poems Which Used Double Entendre And Sexual Innuendo As A Vehicle For Social, Religious, And Political Commentary The Unwed Mother Because I Was Too Easy, This HappenedCan You Guess The Hollow In My Heart Fate Did Not Push Out A Budeven Though The Willow GrewHe Will Carry This A Hundred Yearsbut I Must Bear The Burden NowNever Mind The Gossip Of The WorldDon T Have It, Yet Have It So SimpleThe Publication Of Spring Essence Is A Major Historical And Cultural Event It Features A Tri Graphic Presentation Of English Translations Alongside Both The Modern Vietnamese Alphabet And The Nearly Extinct Calligraphic N M Writing System, The Hand Drawn Calligraphy In Which H Xu N H Ng Originally Wrote Her Poems It Represents The First Time That This Calligraphy The Carrier Of Vietnamese Culture For Over A Thousand Years Will Be Printed Using Moveable Type From The Technology Demonstrated In This Book Scholars Worldwide Can Begin To Recover An Important Part Of Vietnam S Literary History Meanwhile, Readers Of All Interests Will Be Fascinated By The Poetry Of Ho Xuan Huong, And The Scholarship Of John BalabanThe Translator, John Balaban, Was Twice A National Book Award Finalist For His Own Poetry And Is One Of The Preeminent American Authorities On Vietnamese Literature During The War Balaban Served As A Conscientious Objector, Working To Bring War Injured Children Better Medical Care He Later Returned To Vietnam To Record Folk Poetry Like Alan Lomax S Pioneering Work In American Music, Balaban Was To First To Record Vietnam S Oral Tradition This Important Work Led Him To The Poetry Of H Xu N H NgNgo Than Nhan, A Computational Linguist From NYU S Courant Institute Of Mathematics, Has Digitized The Ancient N M Calligraphy