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30 years of Vietnamese-American literature exchange: Connecting by cultural path

logochuan - On the morning of October 28, at the office of the Vietnam Writers’ Association (No. 9 Nguyen Dinh Chieu str.), the seminar on 30th anniversary of the Vietnam-US literature exchange took place. This is the event marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the friendly and strong relationship between Vietnam Writers’ Association and the William Joiner Center (USA).
Conference scene - Photo: Great unity
Poet Huu Thinh, President of the the Alliance of Arts and Literature Associations of Vietnam, Chairman of the Vietnam Writers’ Association said: The American war was the fiercest war that the people of Vietnam suffered and left great consequences. How to heal wounds from broken bricks and grow? That's a big question. But we have overcome that period. The courage, will-power of writers, poets was ahead of politics and diplomacy. The cultural path is the shortest route we have chosen to go to the present days. Poet Huu Thinh quoted writer Nguyen Quang Sang's favorite words talking about Vietnam – US relations: We became enemies in a day but wouldbe friends forever.

Over the past 30 years, the William Joiner Center has worked hard to bring Vietnam and the United States closer together. They began the healing that the US government had not yet been aware of. American veterans really show their desire to be friends with Vietnam by culture rather than by war. They want to know a Vietnam with the solidarity, self-respect, depth of historical cultural beauty, and great human kindness. The cooperation between the Vietnam Writers’ Association and the William Joiner Center has fostered and cemented the relationship between the two peoples, gradually healing wounds and distances in the past. Over the past time, there have been nearly one hundred Vietnamese writers and poets coming to the United States through friendship, includingleadingnames such as Le Luu, Nguyen Khai, Nguyen Quang Sang, Le Minh Khue, Huu Thuy, Nguyen Quang Thieu ...

Poet Kevin Bowen, an American veteran, former Director of the William Joiner Center, who first returned to Vietnam after the war, said: "I am honored to be here and because we have been friends for over 30 years. I remember the first person and all those who brought the message to our country. This is a difficult job but we managed to complete with our hearts. And we still have a long way to go. I always remember your visits. You have taught us about love, friendship and greatness."

Also in the seminar, the poets and writers coming from the two countries shared cordial and warm conversations. Writer Chu Lai, a soldier who once held guns, said: "No one is as fair and honest as a soldier." And that's how they come back, shake hands and become friends. To him, meeting the American soldiers again is like meeting again his memories. As for poet, American soldier Bruce Weigl, the memories of the war have not faded, as shown in the series of poems "After the rain stopped pounding", but he wants to make friends with a beautiful Vietnam. Writers, poets all express the desire for peace, friendship and mutual understanding. That is the path they have been and are choosing.

On this occasion, poet Huu Thinh presented medals of merit to writers and poets who constantly strive to bring about good relations between the two countries.

(Translated by THUY NGUYEN)