To Huu – a great revolutionary poet

(VOVWORLD) - To Huu, who was born in 1920 and passed away in 2002, was one of Vietnam’s great poets of the 20th century. He was called “a revolutionary poet”, “the people’s poet”, and “the founder of Vietnam’s revolutionary poetry”. To Huu received the Ho Chi Minh Prize in Literature and Arts in 1996.

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Poet To Huu and his wife. (Photo:

To Huu, whose real name was Nguyen Kim Thanh, was born in Phu Lai village near the former imperial city of Hue. He wrote poems at an early age.

At 18 his poems were published in newspapers and he joined the Communist Party of Vietnam. He became President of the Hue Uprising Committee during the August Revolution in 1945.

In 1946, To Huu released his first collection of poems entitled “Poem” (later renamed “Since Then”). Soon came other poem collections titled “Viet Bac”, “Rising Wind”, “Going to the Battle Front”, and “A Musical Sound”.

“To Huu was a vanguard of revolutionary poetry in the early 20th century, Vietnam’s most critical revolutionary period. His poems closely reflected Vietnam’s political and historical events and represented people’s interests and aspirations in different historical periods. To Huu’s poems were a great example of combining politics and art,” said Associate Professor Dr. Le Quang Hung, Vice Head of the Faculty of Vietnamese Studies at the Hanoi National University of Education.

To Huu’s revolutionary activities were linked with his life as a poet. According to To Huu, a good poem must meet certain criteria, including ideological content as well as purely poetic and artistic content. His poems praise the Party, the revolution, and his homeland, yet they are never dry or impersonal.

During two resistance wars, against the French and the Americans, To Huu wrote a number of poems to encourage the spirit of revolutionary soldiers and people, including “Luom”, “Hooray Dien Bien soldiers”, “Vietnam blood and flowers”, and “From Cuba”.

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To Huu’s poem collections. (Photo:

“To Huu’s poems were dedicated to the Vietnamese revolution and the revolutionary point of view and are associated with a great love for the nation. Great joy came from the revolutionary struggle, the heroic resistance wars, and the great achievements of the Vietnamese nation,” said Dr. Hung.

To Huu had greatly contributed to building Vietnam’s culture and art imbued with traditional, advanced and humanitarian values.