Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | The tumulus of pain in the vernacular (216)

I was born 1971, Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. My family and I were a part of the first exodus of boat people after the Vietnam war. In March 1981, we settled in Sydney, Australia. I graduated with a bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney. I have been translating Vietnamese literature for the past five years in my search to better understand my mother’s language and culture. My translations have been shared through blogging over the past year. I am still a registered pharmacist practicing in Western Sydney. I hope to continue translating, and continue to share Vietnamese art and literature, beyond borders on SONGNGUTAITRAM.
(July 2021)

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm


Language is a gateway into another sphere, you are the unexpected time traveller. You find yourself in the minds of strangers, you succumb to someone else’s heartache, you’re lost in the memories of someone else’s tumulus of pain. 

I have become an unexpected gateway of the vernacular, via the force of my curiosity I am now at the precipice of worlds, I am more a medium than a voice. 

The intangible barbwire of the vernacular may perhaps constrain the movement of those who are dear to me, but by their audacity and courage, by an imagination the making of the cosmos, their words bleeding crimson through the steely thorns. 

Those who are free forget why they are free, the cost of their liberty is buried in self-pity. The idea of lewdness in the vernacular is an impossibility, words are innocent, oblivious. Ill intent is the mark of the Man.

November 2021

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

10 replies on “Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | The tumulus of pain in the vernacular (216)”

You are a treasure.

Hey! Can you fill my expired prescription for medicinal marijuana?

Wonderful post!
It is my pleasure to be allowed to know more about you.
And Thank you for your work here.

Liked by 1 person

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