Reenactments - Signed Copy
In Reenactments, Hai-Dang Phan grapples with the history, memory, and legacy of the Vietnam War from his vantage point as the son of Vietnamese refugees. Through a kaleidoscope of poetic forms, the past and present, the remembered and imagined, all intersect at shifting angles providing urgent perspectives on conflicts both private and public.
Phan weaves throughout the collection stories of his family’s exodus from Vietnam, thoughtfully reenacting an American experience of immigration, dislocation, inheritance, and hope. And, in a fresh move, Phan widens the lens, incorporating translations of several Vietnamese poets. This moving debut marks a vital addition to the literature of immigration and a distinctive contribution to contemporary poetry.
"Phan's debut unflinchingly presents the trauma inherited through cultural memory as a kind of endless war reenactment...These poems are unadorned and ominous in their vision of memory, a clarion that never ceases to alarm or awe."—Publishers Weekly
Hai-Dang Phan's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2016, and he is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship. Born in Vietnam and raised in Wisconsin, he holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. Currently, he teaches at Grinnell College and lives in Iowa City.