Nam Le | 36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem

Recorded Mar 14, 2024
Direct Download: 20240314-namle36.mp3

In conversation with Airea Dee Matthews

Referred to by Nick Cave as “exquisitely crafted fire bombs of incandescent rage,” Nam Le’s 36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem is a debut collection of verse that both honors and shatters the tropes of diasporic literature. Le is also the author of The Boat, a short story collection that takes readers to such places as New York City, Tehran, his birth country of Vietnam, and Australia, where he was raised and now lives. Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award, and a Pushcart Prize, this work has been widely anthologized, translated, and taught. Le has also contributed writing to a wide array of publications, including Zoetrope, The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Bomb, Boston Review, and One Story.

Airea Dee Matthews is the 2022–23 Philadelphia Poet Laureate and directs the poetry program at Bryn Mawr College. Her collection Simulcra won the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Best American Poets, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, and VQR, among other journals. Matthews’ other honors include a 2022 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship, a 2020 Pew Fellowship, and the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Her latest work, Bread and Circus, addresses themes of income inequality, commodification, and conventional economic theories through poetry, prose, and imagery.

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