All posts filed under: Prose & Poetry

An Iu Mien Story Pt.1 – #FreeSaelee, The Secret War, and Resettlement

“I would never think that we would have that many supporters,” Naichann Saechao says, referring to the nearly 200,000 signatures collected online to free her nephew Kao from ICE detention.  In fall 2020, the internet was shaken up by the Guardian’s story about an Iu Mien American refugee named Kao Saelee from California. Despite Kao’s service fighting historic wildfires just before finishing his 22 year prison sentence, he was handed over to ICE for deportation to his birth country of Laos. Instead of reuniting with his family who had come to take him home, Kao was taken to an ICE detention facility across the country in Louisiana. Despite calls for a pardon by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Kao is still in ICE detention today. With the massive reaction to Kao Saelee’s story, more people are talking about the plight of young refugees finding their way in America. However, the visibility of these refugee experiences, especially for communities like Iu Mien Americans, remains low. According to Iu Mien Community Services –Iu Mien are a vibrant ethnic …

Southeast Asian American Verse in the Time of Coronavirus

Looking for something to read because you find yourself suddenly with a lot of free time but no place to socialize? This year is the 45th anniversary of the Southeast Asian diaspora, especially for the Lao and Hmong community. Because April is National Poetry Month, Little Laos on the Prairie is providing a reading list of poetry books that are still relatively easy to order from Southeast Asian poets. We recommend ordering directly from their publishers to support them, but you can also find many at major new and used bookselling websites. Lao Poets Light by Souvankham Thammavongsa, Pedlar Press, 2013. This collection won the Trillium Award in Canada for the best book of the year, examining life in Ontario. Light is among the one of the author’s books that are easier to find hers compared to her classics Small Arguments and Found, the latter of which was inspired by a scrapbook she discovered in the trash her father had kept while in the Thai refugee camps. Found later inspired a short film. Her latest collection, Cluster tackles everything from war to …