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Reckless Spring is poems by Hồ Xuân Hương with pictures by Bill Sullivan printed in a special hand-bound limited edition. Reckless Spring contains images and graphics that Sullivan created in response to 52 versions of 13 poems by the Vietnamese poet Hồ Xuân Hương. Hồ Xuân Hương is the Patti Smith of classical Vietnamese poetry. Beneath a seemingly tranquil surface of mountain passes, household duties, and traditional foods and games, her poems offer an unblinking critique of women’s place in society, mixed with the frankest eroticism. In more than 60 images that draw on Japanese shunga, Matisse, and Hollywood fan magazines of the 1930s, Sullivan riffs on Hồ's themes of femininity, feminism, sex and sexual politics. Published by SUN Editions, 2018.
Softcover, hand bound, 140pg
8 x 11"
Second edition of 50 signed and numbered copies
Poems by Hồ Xuân Hương / pictures by Bill Sullivan / renderings in English by John Towey / translations in French by Juliet Towey / renderings in Nôm and modern Vietnamese by Maurice Durand
Hồ Xuân Hương (1772-1822) today is an oral poet of great renown in Vietnam. She is known as an iconoclast whose life and work challenged the conventions for both a woman and a poet of her day. Formally her poetry followed classical Chinese styles, but she preferred to write using Nôm, a unique and nearly extinct ideographic writing system in which Chinese characters were modified to represent spoken Vietnamese. The renderings of the poems of Reckless Spring follow in the footsteps of the work of Maurice Durand a Vietnamese-French linguist who lived most of his life in Hanoi and died in France in 1968. His extensive yet unfinished book "L'oeuvre de la poétesse vietnamienne Hồ Xuân Hương ” is a translator's guide to Hồ's poetry. John Towey is an American writer and translator who has used Durand’s notes and interpretations to render Hồ's poetry into English with an extreme clarity that underscores the extraordinarily modern quality of her work. Juliet Towey, a French-American translator, has worked with both sources to translate Hồ's poetry into French using a lyrical script that echoes the handwritten poems of Cocteau and Matisse.