Dreaming the Mountain


Dreaming the Mountain

Poems by Tuệ Sỹ

The North American debut of Tuệ Sỹ—poet, monk, scholar, dissident, and one of the great cultural figures of modern Vietnam.
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The North American debut of Tuệ Sỹ—poet, monk, scholar, dissident, and one of the great cultural figures of modern Vietnam.

Arguably the most important Zen master in Vietnam today, Sỹ is a preeminent scholar of world philosophy, the survivor of three prison sentences and one death sentence, and a witness to the tumult, tragedy, and resilience of his country over the last century. In addition to being one of Vietnam’s cultural heroes and most celebrated minds, he is also one of its finest living poets—and a full-length translation of his work into English is long overdue.

Assembled by the esteemed translator Nguyen Ba Chung and the acclaimed poet Martha Collins, Dreaming the Mountain reflects a lifetime of creation, crisis, and commitment. It includes the early imagism of Sỹ’s Zen studies as a scholar and critic, the midlife work that represents his attempted retreat from the disorder and devastation of war and subsequent years of imprisonment, and late, elliptical poems that consider a lifetime of experience. From the “fleeting dream of red blood at dusk” to the quiet determination of one who sets out to “repaint the dawn,” Sỹ’s collection reflects the journey of a poet who speaks as one with his country, who captures its darkness and its light. His lyrical addresses to silence, graced by supple and fluid syntax, speak of a chaotic “world that is a moment’s dream” and a “time [that] falls like rain,” of a father who dreams of a crane’s wings, and of the crane’s dreams, too.

At once personal and universal, coolly observant and deeply compassionate, the poems of Tuệ Sỹ bring singular attention to a fleeting, painfully precious world.

Vietnamese, Vietnam, Laos, zen, Southeast Asia, Buddhist, Buddhism, war, dissident, dissidence, philosophy, scholar, prison, meditation, colonialism, imperialism, ontology, Nature, Ho Chi Minh, translation, lifetime, poetry, poetry in translation
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8.5 × 5.5 × 0.75 in
8 oz

Tuệ Sỹ is the author of Dreaming the Mountain.


Martha Collins is the co-translator of Dreaming the Mountain and Black Stars. She has also published eleven volumes of poetry. 


Nguyen Ba Chung is the co-translator of Dreaming the Mountain. He is a writer, poet and translator. 

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