Some new wings.
In honor of Maya Angelou, I also bought John Balaban’s trilingual translation of Ho Xuan Huong, Vietnam’s own sex-worker poet, a concubine with huge courage and an unconventional ethos. Xuan Huong complained about marriage, apparently never having found a marriage of equals based on duyên (fated love/true love), resented being a concubine, and cast some of her ‘wickedest slurs on venal, lazy, or decadent clergy.’
‘While women have always held high positions in Vietnamese society – sometimes leading armies, often advising rulers, and always involved in the management of wealth – few were acclaimed as poets, perhaps because few were tutored in the rigorous literary studies given young men preparing to take the imperial exams in hopes of finding their places in the bureaucratic hierarchy that governed Vietnam from 939 A.D. into the twentieth century.’
I’m deliriously happy for some new reads and re-reads.