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Demilitarized Zone: Report From Literary Vietnam

Contributing editor Stephen Morison Jr. recently traveled to Vietnam and spoke with poets and novelists about the challenges they face nearly thirty-five years after the end of the Vietnam War. What his conversations reveal is a complex national psyche that continues to grapple with the legacies of the past even as it accepts the realities of the present.

Morison, who lives in Beijing, has contributed several articles that offer insights into international writing communities, including "Censored Stories: Report From Literary Myanmar" (November/December 2008), "Chinese Characters: Report From Literary Beijing" (May/June 2008), and "The Poets of Kabul: Report From Literary Afghanistan" (November/December 2006).

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 1

    The Tomb of Tu Duc, one of six imperial tombs of the Nguyen rulers. The enormous stone structure is located in Hue, the capital city of Thura Thien, a province in north central Vietnam. 

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 2

    A street vendor in Hanoi.

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 3

    Luu Tuan Anh is the son of the late Xuan Quynh, one of Vietnam's most celebrated female poets. A lifelong citizen of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, Luu has vivid memories of the Vietnam War, including the American attacks that became known as the Christmas bombings, in 1972.

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 4

    Poet and fiction writer Dang Than (left) and Stephen Morison Jr. at the Dinh Lang Restaurant, a European-style café with tables overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi.

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 5

    Dang Than stands beside a captured American tank at the Vietnam Military History Museum in Hanoi.

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 6

    A pair of little kids climb on a Soviet-built MiG-17 jet fighter parked inside the gate of the Vietnam Military History Museum in Hanoi.

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 7

    A woman who sells flowers on her bike in Hanoi.

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 8

    The One Pillar Pagoda, a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi. The pagoda was built by Emperor Lý Thái Tông, who ruled from 1028 to 1054.

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    Credit: Stephen Morison Jr.

    Literary Vietnam 9

    Vietamese dissident Duong Thu Huong sits at a table in the Café Le Metro in Place Maubert in the Fifth Arrondissement of Paris. In 1991 she was arrested for making critical remarks about the Communist Party's interests.

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