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Ghosts Still Walking

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  7 reviews
I cannot live in a world of suffocation, you cannot live in a world of restraint.

Drawing from Vietnam’s long and turbulent history—from Phùng Thị Chính’s suicide in the river Hát, to the casualties of the Vietnam War—Do’s poems highlight the constant struggles of love and survival, and a country’s continuing fight to preserve its traditional way of life.
Paperback, First, 96 pages
Published April 29th 2016 by Platypus Press
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If you’ve ever doubted the existence of ghosts, Do Nguyen Mai’s debut poetry collection, Ghosts Still Walking, will surely change your mind. Spanning both centuries and continents, the poems effortlessly switch from a personal to a firmer and more-assertive tone. Not once do they shy away from complexities of the cultural and emotional sort, instead laying them out in an honest fashion.

The collection is formally divided into three parts, and the poems
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ghosts Still Walking is every bit as haunting as you can imagine. Just take a look at some of the verses from my favorite poem.

"Perhaps, if winds moved eastward / and brought the moon so /clouds would obscure it - and my words, my love / into untruth turn, but even the heavens / cannot bear expenditures to move."

Ghosts Still Walking is full of imagery like this, wisp-like at times, and at others like the tears of history coming alive. I was fully immersed at all times. I couldn't put the book
Greg Bem
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An unparalleled approach to loss, sacrifice, and the journey of integration and recovery. Do writes poems that are sad but never cliche. Eye opening yet demonstrating severe humility. Reading her works can make us, and the world, better.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5! Many of these poems were incredibly beautiful and heart-wrenching. "Tongues of Fire" in particular will stay with me for a long time.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Look at the nothingness we have become. Look at all the emptiness we are now, after you so meticulously tried to carve your civilized speech upon our bones. Look at all the ghosts still walking the earth, neither truly alive nor laid to peaceful rest."


i do not have words adequate enough to appreciate this work. its the poetic equivalent of standing on the front steps of a house feeling the storm raise the hairs on the back of your neck, promising the relief of rain but not an end to the heat.
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"for men cannot wield lightning and flame, but men do plunder fields with rough hands."

What a brilliant collection of poems. Loved every bit of it.
Likely would've enjoyed this if I weren't a Vietnamese-American woman. Whether that speaks to the quality of these poems or an unfair, combative demandingness on my part, born from the precious scarcity of published voices like ours—I can't tell.
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Do Nguyen Mai is a Vietnamese American poet and politics researcher from Santa Clarita, California. She is a graduate of College of the Canyons and Washington College, and she is pursuing her doctoral degree in political science at the University of California, Riverside.