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2018 Lao American Poet Spotlight

It’s April!  That means it’s Pi Mai Lao, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, and National Poetry Month!

Lactose intolerance kind of dampens our attitude about grilled cheese sandwiches but here at Little Laos on the Prairie we love our poets who’ve been blazing trails across the country, including creators like: Phayvanh Leukhamhan, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Krysada Panusith Phounsiri, Catzie Vilayphonh, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, Xaysouvanh Phengphong, and Kongkeo Saycocie. All of them have helped to make the world a much more interesting place with their verse and creativity!

Last year we discovered several new poets in the community through events such as the Lao American Writers Summit in Seattle and social media, and we want to take the time out to draw your attention to their work. You might discover a new favorite writer!

Alina Amkhavong is a Lao American spoken word artist with roots in Seattle who attended University of Southern California and performed at the Lao American Writers Summit sharing her poem “blossom” with the community. She’s been very positive about embracing her roots and heritage and connecting with other artists and creators. She recently set up her website at https://blessherhustle.com It looks like she has a big future ahead of her!

Photo courtesy of Lao American Review

Belltown Poet is another young Lao American writer from Seattle making his way onto the scene. His poetic style embraces brevity and universal themes; exploring love, fear, hope, and joy. He announced a forthcoming book entitled Street Lights. You can follow him over on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/belltownpoet/ .

Sengarone Peter Vetsmany is pursuing an MFA in poetry from Minnesota State University-Mankato and is expecting to finish in 2020, which will be just in time for the 45th anniversary of the Lao Diaspora. A graduate from the University of Idaho with a degree in philosophy, and love of sports including; hockey, soccer and tennis. We’re looking forward to seeing deep and thoughtful pieces from him in the future!

M Hauntie Yang is a California-based Hmong American artist, ethnographer, and poet (among the many hats she wears). She is the 2016 recipient of the Robert Dana Poetry Prize for her collection To Whitey and the Cracker Jack. She has presented at both Karst Mountains Will Bloom and the Western Literature Conference. She has also been featured at the Academy of American Poets. She has exhibited at UC San Diego, the Helmuth Gallery, Thumbprint Gallery, Mandeville Annex Gallery, and The Loft at La Jolla, CA.

But how about it, Little Laos on the Prairie readers? Who are some of the Lao American poets we’ve missed that you think we should know about? Leave your answers in the comments below!

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