In the opening poem of Battlefield Blooming, “Midnight Notes to the Martyr Nhất Chi Mai,” Do begins the collection by echoing a decades-old plea for peace from a young Buddhist nun. Unlike many, Do refuses to shy away from the gruesome, vivid image of the self-immolating nun, instead confronting it directly: “Martyr, I am your backwards reflection. / My body is a flaming torch / I did not light.”
Do Nguyen Mai is a Vietnamese American poet and politics researcher from Santa Clarita, California. She was raised by her Vietnamese refugee parents in the Santa Clarita Valley, where her father still works as a machinist and her mother is a self-employed manicurist.
Do is a graduate of College of the Canyons and Washington College, and she is pursuing her doctorate degree in political science at the University of California, Riverside. She currently works with Courage Campaign conducting electoral and legislative research, while her personal research focuses on Asian American politics.