Lao American publisher Sahtu Press recently announced their forthcoming 2014 title, Dance Among Elephants, which will be the debut book from artist and poet, Krysada Binly Panusith Phounsiri.
Krysada Binly Panusith Phounsiri is a Lao American who was born in Houay Xai, Laos. He immigrated to the U.S. at age two where he lived in Southeast San Diego. He began writing poetry at age 11, but fell in love with poetry when he attended UC Berkeley. It was at Berkeley where he learned June Jordan’s foundation in poetry and it was also where he found his ways to share his story.
His writings carry the stories of his family, his culture, and his life for the purpose of expressing what he loves in a manner of art. “In a world where many do not know about Laotian Americans and their history in America, I want to bring readers into his world of words in an attempt to uncover some truths and disperse stereotypes plaguing the umbrella Asian-American community.”
Dance Among Elephants will feature over 70 pages of his poetry and photography, exploring questions of family and memory, tradition and history, and what it means to love and dream as a Laotian American. Poems of his include “Street Masquerade,” “Elephant Dancer,” “Afterlife” and “Ode to Kao Niew.”
A resident of San Diego, he normally goes just by the name Binly, a nickname used by his family since childhood. He was a Physics/Astrophysics double major, with a minor in Creative Writing, and a professional dancer who has performed internationally. He is also an avid photographer. His work has appeared previously in publications such as the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s national photo project “A Day In the Life of Asian America”.
Founded in 2013, Sahtu Press specializes in works by Laotian American writers and artists. Over time, they hope to expand their offerings for members of the community and to introduce the world to many great voices in the coming years ahead. Their first title was acclaimed artist Nor Sanavongsay’s debut children’s book A Sticky Mess, which premiered in Minnesota in December 2013 at the Lao Cultural Center in Minneapolis. Pre-orders for Dance Among Elephants will be available soon, with an estimated price of $15, plus shipping and handling.
Little Laos on the Prairie