Monday, December 29, 2014

Hmong writer releases first full-length book of poetry, To Live Here

We're happy to note the release of Soul Vang's long-awaited full-length book of poetry, "To Live Here" from Imaginary Friend Press.

Laotian Ameican poet Bryan Thao Worra recently pointed out "Soul Vang is easily one of the best Hmong poets of our generation. He's a significant voice and I find his work stunning and profound." Thao Worra first became acquainted with Vang's poetry in the late 1990s while working with the writers and artists of the Paj Ntaub Voice Hmong literary journal and the Bamboo Among the Oaks anthology.

Thao Worra remarked "It's somewhat tragic that his work wasn't picked up by Asian American publisher, particularly a Hmong press. As Hmong and Lao approach 40 years in the US, I think this still speaks volumes about our place within the various worlds of arts and letters." This raises some interesting questions for all of us to consider about the importance of our community's writers working with institutions nominally committed to publishing voices like ours. To Live Here is selling for just $15, shipping and handling included.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Refuge of the InvisibLao: A Visual Essay coming in January, 2015

Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lao Diaspora this January by attending a storytelling art and photography exhibit at the Vine Gallery entitled: “Refuge of the InvisibLao: A Visual Essay.” This is one of the first events of its kind in the country

The exhibit will feature the work of acclaimed neo-expressionist Chicago-based artist Chanthala Kommanivanh and past and present portraits of Lao American journeys that were collected by LLOTP Founding Editor, Chanida Phaengdara Potter, and other special guests.

The event welcomes community members, public officials, advocates, scholars, and those interested in immigrant stories from Laos and Southeast Asia.

They're asking many profound questions during this exhibit:
What is your dream after a tumultuous past? After the Laotian Civil War during the Vietnam War era, thousands of Southeast Asians emigrated to the United States, Australia, France and other countries. Thousands more followed as students, merchants, and to simply start new lives. How have the years changed our sense of who we are, who we have been, and who we can be?
During this time, Little Laos on the Prairie will launch its 2015 #BeLaod campaign to promote historically invisible stories of Lao American journeys in the United States.

Stories of displacement, isolation, identity crisis, reflection, hope and happiness are some of the themes that encompass the depth of the path to an American Dream for the Lao Diaspora.

The opening storytelling reception is Saturday, January 10, 2015 from 5:00pm-8:00pm. Appetizers and drinks will be served. Originals and prints of artwork will be available for sale. All proceeds goes to The Lao Diaspora Project and their collaborators to continue their work.

Exhibition runs January 10-24, 2015. The Vine Arts Center is located at 2637 27th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's  the 2nd level of Ivy Arts Building in the Seward neighborhood.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meeting the Needs of Lao Writers

Laotian American writer Bryan Thao Worra has a new column in the Twin Cities Daily Planet this month discussing Lao legacies, leadership and the literary arts. His core question is "How do we create events that are meaningful for our writers to advance in their skills and to find their audiences?"

His questions are important for Lao American writers in any genre, whether it's poetry, playwriting, prose, or experimental literature, and applies easily to the traditional arts such as storytelling or textile weaving, the visual arts or other forms.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Krysada Panusith Phounsiri poem featured at Little Laos on the Prairie

Photo courtesy of Roxrite

Laotian American poet and interdisciplinary artist Krysada Panusith Phounsiri was featured at Little Laos on the Prairie this week with his poem, "Brother." His very first collection of poetry drops this month through Sahtu Press. Dance Among Elephants is the title and will be around 75 pages, selling for $15. Krysada Panusith Phounsiri is a multitalented artist based in San Diego. His collection is divided into five parts, embracing his love of dance, Laos, and family. This is the only Lao American poetry collection to come out in 2014. We've seen a complete preview and it's pretty awesome. Don't miss it when it comes out!

Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Rhysling Awards coming Friday, December 12th

The 2014 Rhysling Awards, hosted by Elizabeth R. McClellan and the Science Fiction Poetry Association, honoring the best speculative poetry of 2013, will be held in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, December 12, 2014 at 7:00 P.M. at the Goddess and the Moon, 603 8th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee, as well as being livestreamed online.

A speculative poetry-themed open mic will follow, open to any interested poets. The Rhysling Awards honor short and long form works in science fiction, fantasy, horror and slipstream poetry. The 2014 Rhysling Anthology, the annual collection of nominated works, will be publicly released at the event. Copies will be available for sale, as well as memberships to the SFPA.

Event details, updates and information are available at : RSVPs are appreciated, but not required.

 The Rhysling Award nominations and selections are made by the members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, founded in 1978 to bring together poets and readers interested in science fiction and speculative poetry. The Rhysling Award honors poetry in two categories: short poems of 1 to 49 lines and long poems of 50 lines or longer.

The annual award is given to one (1) work in each category, and the second and third place works are also honored. The list of the 2014 nominees is available at The Rhyslings are considered in the speculative fiction field to be the equivalent in poetry of the Nebula and other awards given by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America for “prose” work: achievement awards given to poets by the writing peers of their own field of literature.

The winning submissions are regularly reprinted in SFFW’s Nebula Awards Anthology. Past winners include such science fiction and fantasy notables as Ursula K. le Guin, Catherynne M. Valente, and Jane Yolen. Nominees this year have come from around the world and appeared in publications such as Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Apex Magazine, Asimov's Science Fiction, Star*Line and Mythic Delirium. This year, Lao American writer Bryan Thao Worra had two poems nominated, "The Robo Sutra" and "Five Flavors" both in Strange Horizons.

"I think its wonderful that our community takes the time to read and consider the many fascinating approaches people take to express their imagination through poetry," said Thao Worra, who was the winner of the 2014 Elgin Award for Book of the Year.

Elizabeth R. McClellan, the 2014 Rhysling Chair and editor of the 2014 Rhysling Anthology, will be announcing the winning works and honorees, as well as emceeing the open mic to follow. For more about the Science Fiction Poetry Association and the Rhysling Awards, visit For more about the 2014 Chair, visit