Khe Iem


Khe Iem, Vietnamese playwright, storywriter, poet, editor. Born in 1946 in Nam Dinh, North Vietnam, he went into immigration in South Vietnam after the 1954 Geneve agreement divided Vietnam into two separate parts and set each part under a different political regime: Communist North and Capitalist South Vietnam. “Hot Huyet”, his debut literary work, a play, appeared in South Vietnam in 1972. Thirteen years after the Communist conquest of South Vietnam in 1975, he escaped Vietnam by boat in 1988, spending a year in a refugee camp in Malaysia before coming to the United States in 1989, where he settled in California. In 1994, he founded Tap Chi Tho, a very successful poetry magazine which is under his editorship until 2004 (Poetry Magazine, US: Premier Issue launched in Fall 1994). He also published his other books: “Thanh Xuan” (poetry. US, California: Van, 1992), “Loi cua qua khu” (story collection. US, California: Van Moi, 1996), “Dau Que (poetry collection. US, California: Van Moi, 1996), “Tan Hinh Thuc, Tu Khuc va nhung tieu luan khac” (literary essay. US, California: Van Moi, 2003). The essay “Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry: On the Path of Transformation” published in this issue is Khe Iem’s presentation presenting at the most recent Annual Meeting held by the Association for Asian Studies in 2004 in San Diego, California. The paper focuses on two periods of modern Vietnamese poetry: 1960 to 1975, and 1975 to the present. Through the views of a poet who conducts Tap Chi Tho Magazine and the Website Tho Tan Hinh Thuc which are supporting Post Modernism and New Formalist poetry (Vietnamese New Formalist Poetry is not to be confused with American New Formalist Poetry in which meter and rhyme still remain - Editor’s note), Khe Iem discusses on how and why Vietnamese poetry transformed, and will transform, in his belief, into New Formalist Poetry. The essay is translated by Joseph Do Vinh.


1- “Hot Huyet” (South Vietnam, 1972)
“Thanh Xuan” (poetry. US, California: Van, 1992),

3- “Loi cua qua khu” (story collection. US, California: Van Moi, 1996),

4- “Dau Que (poetry collection. US, California: Van Moi, 1996),

5- “Tan Hinh Thuc, Tu Khuc va nhung tieu luan khac” (literary essay.  US, California: Van Moi, 2003).


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