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Cu Huy Can, Vietnamese poet

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Feb 20, 2005, 12:31:45 PM2/20/05
Famous Vietnamese poet dies at 86

The great Vietnamese poet Cu Huy Can, who was part of the new
Vietnamese poetic movement, died at 86 on Saturday evening in Hanoi.
Huy Can, who was a member of the world poetry academy, was known for
his "philosophically-deep" poems which had an implicit and
unlimited sadness.

He was also one of few Vietnamese poets whose talents and works were
known beyond Vietnam's borders.

Born on May 31, 1919 to a poor Confucian scholar's family in Ha Tinh
province, Huy Can managed to build a keen perception to poetry at an
early age with his hometown's rural landscapes and lyrical folk songs
providing him bases for his works.

>From 1939-1943, the poet studied at the Hanoi College of Agriculture
and Forestry where he received an engineering diploma.

But during his years as a student, he lived with and was influenced by
his lifetime friend, poet Xuan Dieu, who was a big name in Vietnamese

At 24, Huy Can debuted his first collection of poems entitled "Sacred
flame," which earned him a reputation in the new poetry movement.

The collection reflected the inside world of Huy Can as his best friend
Xuan Dieu wrote.

"Through 'Sacred flame', my most outstanding feelings are of
space. I listen to the loneliness around, I stand on the observatory of
the soul, looking at the boundless world and have a deep sadness which
spreads to eternity. Feeling the boundlessness, Huy Can produces poems
full of universal sadness," wrote Xuan Dieu.

When Xuan Dieu died, Huy Can wrote "Memoirs of a pair" which told
of the lives and friendship of the two poets.

In 1942, Huy Can published a literary book titled "Sutra praying for
an heir" and a collection of poems called "Universal song", which
bore his eagerness for change.

In 1945, with all his enthusiasm, Huy Can became the founder of the
Democratic Party in the Viet Minh Front.

Within the same year, he was elected to the National Liberation
Committee and went to Hue to witness the abdication of Emperor Bao Dai
with his two other Communist companions.

He then devoted most of his time to the Vietnamese revolution and
became absent from the poetry forum for nearly 10 years.

After Vietnam's reunification in 1975, Huy Can returned to the
artistic world with his poetry works "The house in the sunshine"
(1978), "The seeds are grown again" (1984), "The bird makes the
wind" (1989), "A wish with two centuries" (1987) and "I came
back to sea" (1997).

In his 60 years, he has published nearly 30 collections of poems and
more than 10 literary books and essays. As well, Huy Can still has more
than 500 unpublished poems and papers on culture and arts.

His name is also well-known in other parts of the world. His poems have
been translated into many languages and selected to appear in many
poetry books featuring famous poets.

In 1994, the selection of poems "Marees de la Mer orientale" was
co-translated by Huy Can and Paul Schneider and published in Paris.

In 1996, his poetry collection "Messages stellaires et terrestres"
(The message of the stars and earth) was printed in Quebec, Canada.

Years after, Huy Can was invited to deliver speeches on Vietnamese
civilization and literature at College de France in Paris.

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