Saturday, May 28, 2005

Hmong and Laotian American Poets

As readers of this blog know, I've lamented in the past about a lack of southeast Asian poets and poetry in the Asian American poetry scene. Here is a useful resource for anyone interested in Hmong and Laotian American poets and poetry, courtesy of poet Bryan Thao Worra: Hmong American Institute for Learning,


Blogger Lee Herrick said...

Roger, I just started blogging and found yours. It's cool. By any chance, did you go to Duke? I publish a literary magazine called In the Grove, and we published a Roger Pao a long time ago. Anyway, have you heard of Pos Moua? He has a book from Sandra McPherson's press. Another great book/anthology is called Titling the Continent. Email me some time and check out my blog. I have no idea where it's going, but I'm going to write about poetry and activism related to APA culture.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Hey Lee,

Thanks for posting! Yup, you've got the right Roger Pao.

I hadn't heard of Pos Moua, but I googled after you recommended, and "Where the Torches Are Burning" does look interesting. I'll be sure and look for it around here. Yes, Tilting the Continent is another great book rec.

What's the link to your blog? I'd be really interested in visiting.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Lee Herrick said...

My blog is Thanks for visiting, Roger. Stay in touch. I'll e-mail you more to hear about Harvard.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Great blog, and thanks for the shout out! Actually, I don't think that there are any blogs, or even websites, out there dedicated to anything related to Asian American literature/poetry and political activism. I'm definitely looking forward to reading about it.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Anonymous Poet said...

You might try Gilbert Koh at If you haven't already. He is in Singapore, I believe.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Thanks for the post. Yes, Gilbert is from Singapore. And he used to frequent this blog -- and I hope he still does.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Bryan Thao Worra said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Bryan Thao Worra said...

Well, along this line, of course, you should check out Bamboo Among the Oaks, the world's first anthology of Hmong American writing, including poetry, short stories, plays, etc.

Some pieces are of course a little rougher than others, but it really gives a good snapshot glimpse of where Hmong American writing has gone in the last 11 years.

It came out in 2002 from the MN Historical Society Press. One of the short stories, How Ms. Pac Man Ruined My Gang Life, was reprinted in Jessica Hagedorn's second edition of Charlie Chan Is Dead.

The Paj Ntaub Voice literary journal comes out 2 times a year.

This is significant because until the mid-1990s the Hmong community did not have a written literary tradition in their 4,000 year history.

(Although they did have oral poetry and songs, some of which have only now been transcribed, with few fully translated into languages other than Hmong)

The larger question is of course, how will contemporary Hmong poetics evolve?

11:54 PM  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

I think I would be of interest to Roger only if I were physically based in the USA. His area of interest is not so much Southeast Asian poets, but Southeast Asian American poets.

But anyway you might be interested in Chin Woon Ping, a poet formerly from Singapore and Malaysia who has emigrated to the US and who now teaches literature in one of the Ivy League institutions:

There is another interesting poet as well, Goh Poh Seng, but I guess he doesn't quite fall within your area of interest as he chose to emigrate to Canada.

Then of course there's Li-Young Lee, born and bred in Indonesia, another Southeast Asian country, but I think you must have come across him by now.

2:09 AM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Hey Gilbert,

Glad you're still reading! You're right that my primary interest is in Asian American poetry, but that certainly doesn't mean that I'm not interested in poets not based in the US. It's definitely cool to keep up with what you are doing. :)
And thanks a lot for the links!

3:13 AM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Hey Bryan,

Yes, it's a good point that Asian cultures may have oral, as opposed to written, traditions, which may account for the lack of written work by newer immigrants.

And as in the e-mail I sent you, I'd like to note that the Paj Ntaub Voice certainly represents the best of what the grassroots, community-based literary scene can offer.

3:18 AM  
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6:33 PM  
Blogger BLOGGER said...

ey, check this poem out

my heart beat faster then
a drummer beat on his drum
my love for you is more then
the sky cover up the world
my desire for you is hotter then
the molten lava in a volcano
love can not be destroy by anything

2:54 PM  
Blogger ng2000 said...

Valuable resource of Hmong news summaries...

9:54 AM  

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