Old Love
Phan Khoi, Hien V. Ho
         Phan Khôi was born in Quảng Nam, Central Vietnam. He was a student in traditional Sinitic Vietnamese (Hán Việt) literature until the age of 19, but was also self-taught in modern Vietnamese quốc ngữ (using roman script). Under the influence of anti-colonial revolutionaries such as Phan Bộ Châu and Phan Châu Trinh, he became a political activist in several movements against the French and spent many years in prison. Afterwards, he was completely devoted to writing and journalism. In 1945, he came to Hanoi to work with the new Vietminh regime, responsible for translating French and Chinese documents into Vietnamese. After 1951, he was among the founders of the magazine "Nhân Văn"(1956) containing articles critical of the communist government's policies. He was then banned from literary activities until his death in Hanoi in 1959.

         His famous poem "Old Love" (Tình già) first appeared in the 122nd issue of the magazine Phụ Nữ Tân Văn (New Letters For Women), on 3-10-1932, with an introduction titled "A new form of poetry introduced to the community of poets." It is considered to be the first free style Vietnamese poem, unrestrained by rules of Tang era (618-903) Chinese poetry ("thơ Đường luật"). It is believed to be at the origin of the Vietnamese "new poetry" (thơ mới) movement of the 20th century.

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