HomeSoutheast Asian Media Studiesvol. 1 no. 2 (2019)

The Rise and Fall of Avant-Garde Vietnamese Poetry in Online Literary Magazines during the Early Twenty-First Century

Tran Ngoc Hieu



This article describes the impact of the Internet on contemporary Vietnamese-language poetry.1 In the early 21st century, the Vietnamese literary landscape regained its momentum after its decline of the Đổi Mới (Renovation) period that began in 1986 with the boom of online literary magazines such as talawas, Tiền Vệ (Avant-garde), Da Màu (Colored Skin), eVăn, and others. As a form of deterritorialization, these online literary magazines opened a transnational space for Vietnamese literature, challenging orthodox censorship while competing with traditional forms of publishing under the control of the state. These journals created a carnivalesque playground for avant-garde poetry, which not only questioned the definitions and conventions of literature but also inspired political resistance. Since 2010, the state’s censorship has placed restrictions on these poetic experiments, causing their decline. Nonetheless, it is necessary to review what the Internet has contributed to the development of Vietnamese poetry while considering the possibilities and limitations of avant-garde poetry in online Vietnamese literary magazines.