Thơ mới (Vietnamese New Poetry, 1932-1945) is a literary movement in colonial Vietnam that is broadly considered to have marked the modernization of Vietnamese literature.
This paper examines depictions about natural disasters, ecological wounds, and about relationships between humans and nature in New Poetry, asking how those descriptions reflect social and political issues in colonial Vietnam. The paper argues that ecocriticism, developed in Western academy, brought to the New Poetry Movement new meanings, associated with a material world. That is the specific reality of colonial Vietnam in the early twentieth century, when the colonial modernization resulted in natural and social collapses in the area. This approach is especially significant, given that New Poetry is largely seen as the embodiment of the expansion of Western romanticism by Vietnamese scholars. Moreover, in examining Thơ mới (Vietnam) from perspective of ecocriticism, this paper extends the ecocritical approach to non-Western literatures.
Specifically, although ecocriticism developed in the West, particularly in United States and England, it has become an effective approach to non-Western literatures, particularly since the early twentieth first century. In this context, Asian literatures, particularly Southeast Asian literatures, potentially offer ecocriticism new meanings, amany of which are associated with local social and political conditions and histories.