Ngo Duc Hanh: “Life is inspiration. The human condition is my inspiration”

Επιμέλεια συνέντευξης: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού

Translated by: JyKhanh

“I wish two things: The war between the two neighboring countries: Russia-Ukraine ends and the world “recovers” strongly after the pandemic and geopolitical upheaval”

His bio: Poet/Journalist Ngo Duc Hanh was born in 1960 in Ha Tinh province, Central part of Vietnam. He is bachelor of journalism. He currently lives in Hanoi and works as the Deputy Editor in Chief –  Vietnam Bridge and Road Magazine. He also works as the managing editor for the Literature and Arts newspaper. He is also member of Vietnam Writers’ Association and Hanoi Writers’ Association.

His published books: “Our homeland folksong” (2015), “Dried straw road” and “Night ballad” (2017), “Concept” and “The sing to find you” (2019), “Another Ballad” (2020).

View point for writing: “Poetry is a contemplative voice of each individual. For every writing is to start ourselves conversation with such expectation, that through their words may the writer communicates with readers”.

Dear Honorable Poet, please share your thoughts about the pandemic and the future of literature after the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic is a non-traditional disaster, as we have seen it. It not only causes visible damage to economy, life, human life; but also the subtle damage, and other emotional consequences. Human life on the planet has become so fragile – something that we sometimes, for various reasons, forget. Literature has come into this playground, first of all to reflect, then to forecast. I think, literature will continue to have great works about it, with the responsibility of awakening, connecting people, spreading social responsibility for the living space of mankind.

The Good and the Bad. Who is winning in nowadays? Science has made great achievements, the industrial revolution 4.0 is releasing energy, creating endless energy. However, how literary life will adapt is still a big question. I don’t think anyone wins today, either they lose or win together. Only one value is love between people that creates absolute victory.

Tell us where inspiration is coming from for you? Life is inspiration. The human condition is my inspiration.

Are the people reading books or no? As I said, reading is a learning experience, the culture of reading is not lost. The problem is that literary works must adapt to the times they are living in, and speak the voices of the times.

How many books have you written? And where can we find your books? I have just published 8 works, not many, not satisfied with myself. Readers can access my poetry/writing through e-commerce, other social networking applications, or works used on newspaper, personal Facebook page… In general, I am not good at making the market, has not yet approached the introduction of “digital age” works.

Do you believe that our life, our destiny is written or we can change it? A living person must have divine faith. I don’t follow any religion, but I have God in my heart. I still read the Bible, listen to the hymns. I think God knows how to listen to each destiny’s wishes and give strength.

Religion is the cause of many wars – a lot of people they say that. What do you think? Religions themselves are values, are beauty. Buddha, Jesus Christ, Holy Ala… if they were alive again, they would always have a common voice for people. I thnk conflicts and wars here and there are caused by taking advantage of religion, not by religion.

Money brings happiness? Money is a means to satisfy people’s material needs, but money is not synonymous with happiness.

The book. E-book or Hardcover book. What will be the future? Traditional printed books and e-books, I think will coexist. Each type of publication has its own “market share” in the spiritual life. How happy it is to turn the pages of a traditional paper-printed book. I heard that word, every rustle of life.

What do you think about the year of technology? Are we lost ourselves inside the mobile phone, the computers… Technology is a product of people, people need to adapt to the technological era, but that does not mean that people will “disappear” in technology.

Environmental issues. Is the progress the technology and the humans are responsible for all this disaster? Why? Back to the answer about the Covid-19 pandemic. When the pandemic was in the “fourth wave”, which means it was very difficult, our poet and translator Kieu Bich Hau said one sentence: “Covid’s mission”. The further back in time, the more humanity realizes the mission of this corona species. Humans are responsible for the environment. It warns, awaken us that “Earth is only one”. Never before has the green economy, the circular economy… been talked about as much as it is now.

A wish for 2023. I wish two things: The war between the two neighboring countries: Russia – Ukraine ends and the world “recovers” strongly after the pandemic and geopolitical upheaval, as I just said.

His poem:

The dot

No capitalize the first line

No dots and commas

Innocent character


You were ancient in the noisy world

Hid the silence beside

Own things that have not been said

You missed a line in the poetry page

You know you might regret it tomorrow

People loved each other not by hitting puberty

But by innocent character

The line had not finished yet, but still tiptoe to the next page.

Author’s note: I agree that Polis magazine can use my answers for this interview for publishing in its online version and other platforms. (Ngo Duc Hanh)