A Note on Vietnam War Poetry


  • Edwin Thumboo




 From the response to Vietnam War (1955-75), especially its atrocities including the long-term effects of chemical weapons, it is clear that the total experience, immediate and long-term, was most unusual. Moreover, for the Vietnamese, it was national survival and identity. For the Americans, an attempt to stem the spread of Communism. A third factor was the different reaction in part religious/spiritual/cultural in the attitudes to death and destruction in which duty and doing the right thing mattered. This is reflected in the poetry written by both sides in the works of Vietnamese poets, Pham Tien Duat, Nguyen Duy, Huu Thinh and Van Le, and Americans, John Balaban for example. With the final piece, it emerges that all cultures, whatever their form, ultimately share the same substance consisting of universal values that transcend war, geography, culture and politics.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Edwin Thumboo

 Edwin Thumboo is a Singaporean poet and academic who is regarded as one of the founders of literature in English in Malaysia and Singapore. He was appointed Professor of English at the National University of Singapore in January 1979, where he also served as Head of the Department of English Language and Literature (1977-1993) and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (1980-1991). Thumboo has won the National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Awards for Poetry three times: 1978, 1980 and 1994. He also received the inaugural SEA Write Award in 1979, the first Cultural Medallion for Literature in 1979 and the ASEAN Cultural and Communication Award (Literature) in 1987  




How to Cite

Thumboo, E. (2017). A Note on Vietnam War Poetry. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.31436/asiatic.v11i1.971



Section III: Interviews