"Learning Late Letters", a poem originally written in Vietnamese by Nguyễn Hoàng Quyên, was one of the winners of the 2020 Words Without Borders Academy of Americans Poets Poems in Translation Contest. The narrator is remembering their dead father and his letters. The middle part of the text consists of 36 short two-word sentences beginning with "Die", and in the following paragraph the number 36 is repeated many times.

Is there any particular significance to the number 36 here? Is it regarded as a magical number in Vietnamese culture? Does the usage of this number, to a Vietnamese reader of the original text, imply something, like a particular type of magic or people?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.