I was invited to speak at an innovative event on translation and creative expression organized by the scholar Catherine H. Nguyen from the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature and the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights at Harvard University. Together with poet-scholar Quan Tran, we shared our scholarship and arts practice. I spoke about my scholarly research and its intersections with artistic expression and personal history. It was a refreshing and radical opportunity to speak honestly about my ‘historian-artist’ identity and diverse body of work–from research essays and teaching on Vietnamese history to film-poetry on translation and feminist performance art.[Read more…] about Translating Across Time and Space: Film Screening, Artist Talk, and Creative Translation Activity at Harvard
Joy, humility, love, fulfillment, exuberance, a bursting at the seams…I still can’t adequately express into words the overwhelming feelings and thoughts from the premiere of my film “Undeniable Force of Khó Khăn” at Viet Film Fest 2019.[Read more…] about “Undeniable Force of Khó Khăn” Premiere at Viet Film Fest 2019
Do you still remember how to rustle, shake, and dance to the melody of wind and sky? Or do your concrete mirrors only know how to stand still, bitter, and silent?
Can I hold you forever closely in this tender moment? Ah but forgetting you will make finding you oh so much sweeter.
A morning whisper mechanical steps lead me somewhere I once was.
Walk swiftly breathe gently pause abruptly. Where am I going? A second glance through the looking glass to ponder, who are you?
I had the honor of hosting an artist talkback with Susan Lieu after her show in Boston in November 2019. Check out this inspiring, uplifting, heartwarming, and hilarious artist, and catch Susan’s show “140 lbs” on tour now![Read more…] about Susan Lieu’s “140lbs” and Artist Talkback
Here is an ongoing list of conversation starters and questions as part of my ongoing #FamilyNotes project. This list is tailored to the Vietnamese American diaspora (questions are in English and Vietnamese). However, many of the questions could be used for all conversations. Thank you to all who have contributed to this list![Read more…] about Conversation Starters and Questions for Vietnamese American Diaspora (Bilingual)
Family Notes is a conversation toolkit to help facilitate intergenerational, multilingual conversations between loved ones. Rather than focus on genealogy and the concretizing of capital ‘H’ History, Family Notes welcomes the complexity of language and storytelling: non-linear, mythical-folkloric, creative, iterative, and collaborative. Family Notes Toolkit will include a 1) field notes style booklet, 2) an accompanying website for resources, and 3) ideas and examples of creative projects sparked by the conversations.
While writing and researching Family Notes, I will share resources, working chapters, and media here under posts tagged #FamilyNotes. Follow along here or sign up for the mailing list below.[Read more…] about Family Notes
In 2017 while in Hanoi, I wrote this poem in English about my grandmother. It remained in draft version as I worked on the translation, feeling inadequate and lost. During this month of Black April and remembrance, I remember them both by finally letting it go.
To you Grandmother,
Love your bạn, em, chị, cháu [friend, younger sister, older sister, granddaughter]:
Bà đâu rồi, cháu siêu nhớ bà.
Bà có nhớ cháu của bà không?
[Where are you grandmother? Granddaughter painfully misses you so.
Does grandmother remember her granddaughter?]
And you respond,
Hôm nay tôi mệt quá. Thôi đi về đi, tôi có nhiều việc làm.
[Today I am so tired. Sigh, go home. I’m really busy.]
Today you are tôi and I the distant stranger.