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A poet-in-residence at NCSU who has written many books of both prose and poetry. He was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war. As a student, he was unlikely to be drafted into the war, but chose to go anyway to promote peace. After the war, he collected and recorded oral poetry from Vietnamese peasants.

His books include Ca Dao Vietnam, Remembering Heaven's Face (an autobiography), Locusts at the Edge of Summer, Words for my Daughter, and After Our War. His most recent book is a translation of Vietnamese poetry called Spring Essence.

He has taught poetry classes and directs students' studies in Asian literature both at NCSU and his previous employer, the University of Miami.

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