The Renovation Generation

#10 Nam Lu

#10 Nam Lu

Café owner and poet on the struggle to find meaning in words and life. Nam Lu is known to Hanoi's creative community as nonsensical poet, thoughtful photographer and the occasional quirky subject of friends' artistic projects. He is the co-founder of both the Café Nhà Sàn and Tranquil, two of the capital's most quiet caffeine oases. Over two long conversations we talked to him about his poetry, noticing the details that make certain objects special and certain individuals unique, and coping  with an inability to find meaning in life. Chủ quán cà phê và nhà thơ chia sẻ về những cố gắng trong việc tìm ý nghĩa của câu chữ và cuộc sống. Nam Lu được biết đến trong cộng đồng sáng tạo Hà Nội như một nhà thơ tự do, một nhiếp ảnh gia tâm huyết và thi thoảng một nhân vật kỳ cục trong vài dự án nghệ thuật của bạn bè. Anh là nhà đồng sáng lập của quán cà phê Nhà Sàn và Tranquil, hai trong số những ốc đảo cà phê yên bình nhất tại Hà Nội. Sau hai cuộc trò chuyện dài, chúng tôi đã nói chuyện với anh về những bài thơ, về việc nhận ra những chi tiết có thể làm cho một vài đồ vật cụ thể trở nên đặc biệt và một vài cá nhân trở nên độc nhất, và đối phó với việc không thể tìm thấy ý nghĩa cuộc sống.   Links Tranquil Café Café Nhà Sàn Lu on Instagram Lu on Tumblr Transcript For full transcript, click "Next" [FULL TRANSCRIPT] This is Vietnam’s Renovation Generation. Sonic portraits of young minds re-shaping the country's future. In episode ten we’re talking to Nam Lu, nonsensical poet, collector of old objects and books. People they often call me Lu, Lu is my nickname, it comes from blue, it’s my favourite colour and also my favourite mood of the day… We talked to him about not believing in words, being the black sheep in his family and struggling with finding meaning in life. ** There are some parts of this conversation which some listeners might find upsetting** [MUSIC] How long have you been smoking the pipe? Nearly two years. We had coffee with him in the courtyard of the quaint house he lives in which doubles as his café... The Tranquil. We want to create a quiet and peaceful space for people. Tranquil café has quietly established itself as exactly that space. Silence is gently enforced and the handful of tables filling the small space with shelves full of books are always occupied by people working, reading or just seeking refuge from Hanoi’s constant buzzing. It is the place created by its owners with their own needs in mind just as much as the customers'. There is an old saying here that the customer is god. I think it’s bullshit. The customer they are friend, and friends you respect me, I respect you and we are both happy. You are not my god I am not your servant. Nam is certainly no servant to anyone. He has much more important things to concern himself with. Like writing and figuring out just what the point of his life is. I don’t know want I am doing with my life. While you are figuring that out what are you doing with your days? My mind is so full of thoughts I have to write down. Some people they can paint, some can write music. With me I write. He writes prose and short fiction, but mostly poems. And though he spends so much time arranging words, Nam, it turns out, distrusts them.   I don’t really believe in words. If I see something very beautiful, or something very sad, something very delightful, I can never make you feel the same feeling. So last year I have one of my books published and some people they ask me about the message behind my words. I don’t want my work to carry some message. You don’t have to understand it in one way, that’s very limited and very narrow. I want people to take my work as something like the tree they see on the street. They can enjoy it or they can hate it. Nam himself doesn’t read much poetry, but there is one influencer who pops up a lot… Trần Dần.

Duration: 13 min

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