Linh Dinh

I was born in Vietnam in 1963, came to the U.S. in 1975, and have also lived in Italy and England. I'm the author of two collections of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five books of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). My work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007 and Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, among many other places. I'm also the editor of the anthologies Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and Three Vietnamese Poets (2001), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by the Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My poems, stories and political writing have been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read my works in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the U.S. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.

Blacks, Cops and a Sinking Economy

In Ethnic America, Thomas Sowell observes, “American pluralism was not an ideal with which people started but an accommodation to which they were eventually driven by the destructive toll of mutual intolerance in a country too large and diverse for effective dominance by any one segment of the population.  The rich economic opportunities of the country also provided alternative outlets for energies, made fighting over the division of existing Continue Reading...

Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President

Waking up to news of the Orlando shooting, I thought of the possibility that a Muslim shooter would be identified, in which case a Trump presidency would be nearly guaranteed. As with 9/11, the 2015 Paris massacre and the San Bernardino shooting, Islamic terror is immediately fingered, with the purported killer already dead. What lightning fast police work, eh? Continue Reading...

Obscured American: Noam the Straying Hasid

Last year in Leipzig, Germany, I met a young woman who had just returned from Chicago, where her family lived in tony Lincoln Park.  She had also studied at Williams College in Massachusetts, where tuition alone was near $50,000.  Germany was too white, she complained, and she was ashamed of the anti-immigrant attitude shown by many of her countrymen.  For Christmas, she went to Palm Springs, California.  Though only in her mid-twenties, she had Continue Reading...

America Cannot Be Great Again

Interviewed by Spiegel in 2005, Lee Kuan Yew observed, “The social contract that led to workers sitting on the boards of companies and everybody being happy rested on this condition: I work hard, I restore Germany's prosperity, and you, the state, you have to look after me.  I’m entitled to go to Baden Baden for spa recuperation one month every year.  This old system was gone in the blink of an eye when two to three billion people joined the Continue Reading...

Obscured American: Manon the Aspiring School Counselor

Before interviewing 33-year-old Manon, I had never talked to her.  She only bartends at Friendly Lounge one day a week. The joint was completely empty when we started at noon.  Folks can hardly afford a beer anymore. An hour into our conversation, Tony the cook came in to take his midday break, then a stranger appeared.  An El Salvadorian, he said his name was Joseph and a cook at Little Caesars.  Though friendly enough, his English was Continue Reading...

Gypsies

Unlike all of my articles of the past several years, this one will have no photographs.  I apologize.  Since arriving in Germany in late September, I’ve visited nine other countries, and have written about and photographed Germany, Singapore, England, Poland, Hungary, Turkey and Ukraine.  Though I’ve been to the Czech Republic three times, I couldn’t quite come up with the right angle to discuss it, so with just over a week left before returning Continue Reading...

Broken Ukraine

I hadn’t even changed money when a guy in a military jacket approached me for a donation for Ukraine’s war efforts, and he was quite persistent too.  This happened in Maidan Square, now turned into a death shrine, with photos of sacrificed soldiers scattered all over.  Of different sizes, many were draped with rosary beads and/or accompanied by a flag, flowers, votive candles and/or pine twig.  Many of the dead had faded or bled smearily.  Some Continue Reading...

Poland Looking West

In 1985, Czeslaw Milosz said in an interview, “The importance of the movement in Poland, of Solidarity, is that it is not just a Polish phenomenon.  It exemplifies a basic issue of the twentieth century.  Namely, resistance to the withering away of society and its domination by the state.  In the Poland of Solidarity, owing to some historical forces, there was a kind of resurgence, or renaissance, of the society against the state. Continue Reading...