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The Viet Arcane

The Viet Arcane


A Miracle Book is what I call the work you are holding in your hands. I'm not referring to the form and/or content of The Viet Arcane, but to the existence of the book itself, which involves the telling of a story that goes back almost half a hundred years.The American war in Vietnam began in l965. I was an assistant professor of English, American and Comparative Literature at the time, in Greece on a Cre-ative Writing sabbatical from UCLA, where I taught. I was fiercely opposed to that war and, when I returned to teaching in the Fall of that year, I broke some State laws in attempting to prevent my students from being drafted (or so I was told I felt I never broke any laws but those that served the imperialist war in Vietnam), and I was terminated ironically enough in the same week that the students gave me the award for distinguished teaching.Realizing even then that UCLA was a cultural corporation, I turned my back on academic life and for the next 48 years I've lived as a poet, translator and painter in the street , as it were, first in Venice, California; then in Topanga Canyon, California, where I wrote The Viet Arcane in 1970-71; then in Echo Park, Los Angeles, where I began The Arcanes; and since 1972 in San Francisco, with many journeys to Italy, France, Sicily, Greece, Venezuela, Haiti, Austria, Iraq, Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, China and Colombia either for readings or upon publications of translations of my poems into different languages.The only thing I carried out of UCLA, apart from the memories of some very fine students who would come to be fine activist poets and translators especially the late Max Schwartz, as well as Stephen Kessler and Gary Gach was a library card to its excellent collections.One day four years after I was done with UCLA, I found in its library stacks the book that would change my life unalterably. I had been living at the very end of Venice, in southern California, writing and translating for David Meltzer's Tree magazine, a journal devoted to Jewish kabbalistic poetry and prose that is, the anti-zionist real poetry of the Jewish people. There was a group of hip artists and poets interested in kabbala Wallace Berman in Topango Canyon; Meltzer in San Francisco; Asa Benveniste in London; Jerome Rothenberg in San Diego, as well as poets and painters who were not Jewish, like George Herms, Dean Stockwell and Russ Tamblyn, the latter two fine actors publicly and in their private lives excellent graphic artists.The book that I discovered was written in Havana, Cuba in 1964-65. Its title is A Rainbow for the Christian West and its author is a Haitian poet, novelist and intellectual, Ren Depestre.The book enacts in a series of poems an invasion by the Vodou Loas or Haitian gods and goddesses into the southern and most racist part of the United States.It was published in French in Paris by Pr'sence Africaine in 1967. I discovered in 1970, translated it in Venice and Topanga Canyon from December 1971-March 1972. It would appear later that year by the Red Hill Press of Fairfax, California, whose publisher, John McBride, lived in the north of the State, but whose colleague, Paul Vangelisti, an Italo-American poet originally from North Beach in San Francisco, lived in Los Angeles and edited the very fine international poetry journal, Invisible City. I've clarified the details of the Depestre book for two reasons: (1) as I've said many times before, it was my translation of the ...Rainbow... book that turned me into a communist as a poet, so it was a momentous eventuation for me, and (2) it lead to what ultimately is The Viet Arcane.That is, a couple of month after I'd completed the translation, I saw a notice in a footnote to a book I was reading about Vietnam that one Maurice Durand had written a book The Technique and Pantheon of the Vietnamese Mediums (I translate the original French), which was based upon a Vodou sect in Vietnam! I sent off to Paris for the book and was amazed to discover when it arrived that it contained the 24 song/texts (in both Chinese and Vietnamese) of a sect of Mediums who follow the Dao Mau (the Worship of the Mother) religion, whose ritual, which the book describes not merely in words but with more than 50 pages of photographs of Mediums in action, is called Len Dong.Though the sect's activities were banned by the North Vietnamese government during the war as a grouping that might promote superstition, I was particularly moved by the account of the Mediums, especially in the light of its vodouisant dimension, after having translated Depestre's book only a short time before. I'd studied a good deal of the people and history and language of Vietnam since the American war had begun. Inspired both by the Durand book, and the anti-war work of the mediums of media at Pacifica Radio's KPFK station (my wife at that time Ruth was head of Drama and Literature for the station; we'd done many anti-war broadcasts, and so it wasn't difficult for me to include the cultural workers there by transferring them into the texts), I wrote The Viet Arcane over the next three months in 1972 in Topanga Canyon, California. That was not the title I gave the book in 1972. At first I called it Len Dong and then, after I'd left southern California for San Francisco in the autumn of that year, I changed the title twice in ensuing years to Anh, for one, and Nam for another when I sent it as a submission to a publisher. That's perhaps why the book was literally lost since 1996, the last year I recall sending it to a press in hopes of publication.The three copies of the manuscript all had either been lost, discarded or I didn't know what had happened to them, except that I no longer had a copy of the text, and my original handwritten copy had gotten, for the most part except for a few of the 36 sections lost as well.And yet, during the '70's in San Francisco, when I had copies of the manuscript, after having met a young Chinese-Vietnamese filmmaker, Paul Kwan, and given him the manuscript to read, I was informed by him a couple of weeks later that he knew of a temple on Potrero Boulevard where the Len Dong ritual was performed! I was astonished. A week later, accompanied by Paul and his artist partner, Arnold Iger, I attended the ritual. In subsequent weeks I attended the temple once again, and the congregation even allowed Paul and Arnold to film the service. At that time I believe there was but one temple in the northern California area, (and that temple on Potrero Boulevard was destroyed by a suspicious fire and the congregation forced to move to St. Jose). Today in fact with the lifting in Vietnam of prohibitions after the war in 1975 and the subsequent loosening of laws against sects within and outside Vietnam temples are flourishing in that southeast Asian country and no less than 11 temples exist in Silicon Valley of northern California! So it was that the miracle that is, the miraculous recovery of the manuscript occurred. On December 12, 2012, the day before my 79th birthday, Alessandra Bava, who's writing my biography in Rome, wrote to say she'd a birthday gift for me: she'd found the manuscript in the archive of La Salle College in the Philadelphia area. Apparently I'd sent the text to a group of Vietnamese activists in the Boston area, which, after the war ended, sold its archive to that college, and my text was among its documents. Alessandra had remembered one of the titles I had given the manuscript and, when surfing the internet for material on my life, discovered the texts, bravely convinced that college's library to release the texts to her for me. What a joy to receive that attachment to Alessandra Bava's email! After 16 years in oblivion! Of course much had happened to me in 40 years (most eminently the loss of my son David at 25 to leukemia/lymphoma in 1982, and my years with the Communist Labor Party 1980-1992), though I was surprised to discover, over the first two months of 2013, when I went through the texts, that the bedrock intuitions and political thrust were already embedded. What I've done here is bring a deeper sense of rage against the imperialism that still tyrannizes the world from its center in Washington, D.C. And I've changed the title, arcanized it as it were, since, historically speaking, my masterwork, The Arcanes, published in Italy by Multimedia Edizioni in the American language in 2006, was actually begun in Echo Park, Los Angeles, a month after I completed this work, when my marriage dissolved and I left Topanga Canyon and was staying at the home of Paul Vangelisti and his then wife, Margaret.This Arcane, reworked in 2013, will be included in the second tower of Arcanes (the first contains 126 Arcanes; the second, a work in progress, numbers 108 and continuing.My heartfelt thanks to Alessandra Bava, for the recovery of the texts; to Ingrid Swanberg of Abacus Press, who diligently searched for the last copy of the text I sent, to no avail (probably because I'd changed the title of the manuscript); to Trang Cao, a Vietnamese-Canadian who helped me with transliterations into Vietnamese of the names of some of my friends. All three women are excellent poets and, in fact, I've included Trang in one of the sections because her help has been like a Medium's for this book.And to Maya Pi Docampo Pham who, in 2008, at the age of 4, painted the cover that I've chosen for this book. She is the daughter of a dear Vietnamese friend, Maria Pham of San Francisco.And to Mark Weiman of Regent Press, who understands that, even if my childhood was lived during the Second World War, and that that war is a destruction that effects everyone even if one were born after it was over the American war in Vietnam was the major catastrophe in my, and others' adult life of this generation, and must not ever be forgotten by this and future epochs. Jack Hirschman, 9781608797264\\Plunkett's InfoTech Industry Almanac presents a complete analysis of the technology business, including hardware, software, networks, computers, peripherals, services and global trade. This market research tool includes our analysis of the major trends affecting the industry, from the global PC and server market, to consumer and enterprise software, to super computers, open systems such as Linux, web services and network equipment. In addition, we provide major statistical tables covering the industry, from computer sector revenues, to broadband subscribers, to semiconductor industry production. No other source provides this book's easy-to-understand comparisons of growth, expenditures, technologies, imports/exports, corporations, research and other vital subjects. You get our in-depth profiles on the top 500 global InfoTech companies objective analysis of the largest and most exciting companies in: Computer Hardware, Computer Software, Internet Services, E-Commerce, Networking, Semiconductors, Memory, Storage, Information Management and Data Processing. Our research effort includes an exhaustive study of new technologies and discussions with experts at dozens of innovative tech companies. Purchasers will find a form in the book enabling them to register for 1-year, 1-seat online access to tools at Plunkett Research Online, including the ability to view the market research/industry trends section and industry statistics. You have access, at no additional charge, to the very latest data posted to Plunkett Research Online. Online tools enable you to search and view selected companies, and then export selected company contact data, including executive names. You'll find a complete overview, industry analysis and market research report in one superb, value-priced package.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
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    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Regent Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9781587902703
  • ISBN: 1587902702
  • Publication Year: 2015
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
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Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
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Conditions Guide
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