2018 - Shortlisted
Captive and Temporal is a celebration of the embodiment and sustenance of the poetic imagination. Nguyễn Tiên Hoàng’s compassionate, acute and musically sophisticated lyrics are mobile and transformative, his bilingualism and biculturalism always reaching for textures and possibilities in which poetic language can emancipate vernacular and symbolic memory through a deep sense of personal, filial and communal history. ‘Things take years’, he writes in ‘Ring’, and in Captive and Temporal we witness living cartographies of time, place and the heart.
Nguyễn’s poetry is distinguished by its clarity, energy, and the formal skill with which maturity and wisdom belie a playful, innovative approach to the membrane between language, sensation and the echoes of recollection. The imagery and narration are elegant and surprising, both intimately present and at times intriguingly just beyond the limits of resolution. Nguyễn’s is a unique and generous voice, where Vietnamese and Australian poetic sensibilities are lived, reshaped and rendered fluidly coexistent.