All posts filed under: Prose & Poetry

SEAD to release book of Southeast Asian-authored narratives

The Southeast Asian Diaspora (SEAD) Project is celebrating Minnesota’s first-ever Southeast Asian-authored anthology Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center in St. Paul.  “Planting SEADs: Southeast Asian Diaspora Stories” will feature stories, poetry and artwork from Hmong, Khmer, Lao and Vietnamese Minnesotans, whose narratives reflect the entirety of the refugee experience. Trauma is often intertwined with our shared backgrounds as Southeast Asians, and the experiences that come along with that can be scattered, disjointed or simply not talked about. Through this collection of 20 stories, art and poetry, we can begin to connect the histories that link our diaspora cultures together. “More than 100,000 Hmong, Khmer, Lao, and Viet diaspora call Minnesota home,” Chanida Phaendara Potter, executive director of SEAD, said. “Storytelling is necessary to make sense of who we are as a people and the living and breathing memories we share as Southeast Asians. We hope fellow Minnesotans find hope, understanding and see their neighbors in these beautiful stories.” The book launch and signing will take place from 1-4 p.m. Saturday …

Saymoukda Vongsay unpacks family, migration and identity in debut children’s book

When writer Saymoukda Vongsay first wrote “When Everything Was Everything,” a poem depicting the Lao refugee experience, she didn’t expect it to transform into what it is today. In her first children’s book of the same name, Vongsay reveals glimpses into her childhood as a young Lao girl navigating America with her displaced family. Touching on universal and present topics like refugee experiences, class, and family,  the story connects with children and adults of all ages. Although the book was just released this past month, its inception spans even farther. Vongsay said she wrote “When Everything Was Everything” around seven years ago at a writers workshop for women of color as a last-ditch “hurrah” before quitting her writing career. One prompt asked the group to think of a time in their lives that involved a lot of movement or migration and Vongsay said she thought back to her early years. “I just created this list of all the times I felt my family moved or migrated,” she said. “I was also looking up movement in other …