Nguyễn Chí Thiện (1939–2012) Oral History

Interview with Nguyễn Chí Thiện (1939–2012), a Vietnamese poet and activist who was jailed numerous times by the North Vietnamese during pre and post 1975 Vietnam for a total of 27 years. He often committed his poems to memory during his imprisonments, once at the infamous Hoa Lo Prison. He won numerous awards for his work, including the International Poetry Award in 1985. He resettled in the United States in 1995 and was well known in the Little Saigon community in Orange County, California until he passed away in Santa Ana in 2012.

This interview is part of the Vietnamese in the Diaspora Digital Archive. http://vietdiasporastories.omeka.net Interviews were conducted by the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation as part of the national 500 Oral Histories Project. The interviewee has granted The Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation copyright of the audio, video and photo materials and it is being made available for non-profit educational use.

Additionally, this interview was recorded in the process of producing VIETNAMERICA, a feature-length film and follow-up to the short documentary, Master Hoa’s Requiem. Not all interview materials were included in the final film. The film follows Master Hoa back to Southeast Asia to search for the graves of his wife and two children. Hoa escaped Vietnam in 1981 on a boat with his family and friends. He is the sole survivor. http://www.vietnameseamerican.org/

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