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.

Turkey’s Weasel Problem

Though we head into 2016 without a direct war between the US and Russia, such a conflict still hovers over mankind.  It’s hard to imagine Uncle Sam relinquishing his supremacy without a crazed fight.  By abetting Turkey in shooting down that Russian plane, the US achieved one important objective, at least, and that’s scuttling the Russia, Turkey natural gas pipeline, the Blue Stream.  Through its EU vassals, the US is now trying to block the Continue Reading...

A Young Frenchman Reflects

I gave a reading, slide talk in Leipzig.  You can’t count on too many people coming to such an event.  It is said that a favorite line at any poetry reading is, “And this is my last poem.”  Around 40 people actually showed up, however, with some even having to sit on the floor.  They were students, academics, American expats and at least one man who had seen me on Iran’s Press TV.  Filmmaker Elisa Kotmair came down from Berlin. Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Woodbury, New Jersey

The first recorded race riot in Camden occurred on September 12th, 1864.  The Philadelphia Inquirer: A riot, which threatened serious consequences, took place on Friday night in South Camden […]  In an ale house on Spruce-street, a party of men were drinking in the early part of the evening, when some colored men came in and called for drinks.  The white men raised objection against the negroes being allowed to drink at the same bar with Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Champ Ali in Camden

Going from Philly to Camden, I take a train across the Ben Franklin Bridge, then get off at Broadway.  In 1969 and 1971, fire bombs were thrown, shop windows smashed and businesses burnt and looted all around this area. The 1969 riot was sparked by a false rumor that a black girl had been beaten by a white cop.  An unknown sniper then killed white policeman Rand J. Chandler and a 15-year-old black girl, Rose McDonald. Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Jack’s Famous Bar in Philadelphia

I’ve depicted Jack’s in a Kensington Postcard, two poems and even a Vietnamese article.  In business since the end of Prohibition, Jack’s is the last bastion of a Kensington that existed before all the factories moved out and the heroin came in.  Old timers on a shrunken budget can mosey in to get buzzed for under five bucks.  Though a pitcher of Yuengling is only $3.75, I once saw a woman sit for at least an hour drinking nothing.  She just Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Ashley, Pennsylvania

It doesn’t get any better than this. Luxuriating in Dunkin’ Donuts, Chuck Orloski and I each have our own cup of coffee and, yes, our individual donut.  Shrewd, I have ordered one without a hole since you get more donut for your bucks that way.  Biting into a jelly filled, deep fried piece of dough, I too am fulfilled.  Momentarily forgetting about his utility bills and the onrushing due date for next month’s rent, Chuck smiles goofily as he Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Williston

Oil made this America-dominated, futuristic world, and with its increasing scarcity, will unravel it.  Most pampered yet most disappointed, we’re living in the age of peak oil, water, gold, copper, wheat, rice, cabbage, porn, greed and banking shenanigans, etc., for with more mouths than ever going after a shrinking donut hole, the ugliness is just getting started, and let us not forget, this age of oil has also been an era of mass carnage, a Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Center City, Philadelphia

Ah, to be in perfect health, good looking, with all the possibilities in the world spread out like an extravagant buffet, begging for your attention!  Should I become a recording star, the next Obama (or Hillary) or precocious billionaire?  Maybe I’ll marry a rich yet good looking one and see the world before I turn 22?  These days, though, a young person’s daydream must meet the sick reality of an economy sinking into quicksand as weighted down Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Silicon Valley

Decades ago, I’d show up weekly to clean the Philadelphia apartment of a California transplant.  Daughter of a Hollywood executive, Jacqueline confessed she had to escape California because “California women are too beautiful.”  To save her self esteem, she had to flee to Philadelphia. Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Invited to give a reading at Dickinson College, I came to Carlisle, a town of 19,000 people 30 miles from Harrisburg.  Arriving by train, I passed Amish country and saw plows being pulled by horses.  On extremely long clotheslines, single-colored clothes fluttered in the wintry wind.  Rising high and lithographed against the pale sky, they resembled subdued prayer flags.  A white bearded man under a straw hat waved.  Lancaster, Elizabethtown, Continue Reading...

Postcard from the End of America: Washington D.C.

For nearly four years, I lived just 20 miles from Washington, in Annandale, VA, and I worked in D.C. for 9 months.  From my home in Philadelphia, I’ve also gone down to Washington at least a hundred times, so this metropolis should not be alien to me, and yet no American city is more off putting, more unwelcome, more impenetrable, and this, in spite of its obvious physical attractiveness, and here, I’m talking mostly about its Northwest quadrant, Continue Reading...