All posts filed under: Prose & Poetry

Cultivating an L.A. Hmong Community

There is a common understanding that when a Hmong person journeys into the diaspora, they will find Hmong community if they seek it, and the community will welcome them with hospitality as if they were immediate family. I found this hospitality every time I left the comfort of my family’s home in Fresno, California, to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City. This past weekend, I drove down to Los Angeles to meet its Hmong community. Like many large cities outside of the large Hmong enclaves, such as the central valley in California and the Twin Cities of Minnesota, Los Angeles’ Hmong community is a young and vibrant one. I grew up in Fresno where we are some 30,000 Hmong strong. I do not know how many live in the City of Angels but the Hmong have an early history in southern California. The earliest Hmong migration to California was in Santa Ana, then to the rest of the central and northern regions. During my trip, I took part in …

Writer Souvankham Thammavongsa featured in award-winning literary journal

Writer and poet Souvankham Thammavongsa’s work will be featured in an upcoming award-winning literary journal. Thammavonga’s short story, “Worms,” is included in Ploughshares’ winter 2018-19 issue, a collection of stories, poems and essays from writers all around the world. In “Worms,” Thammavongsa unravels the layered relationship between a single mother and teenage daughter, both of whom are Lao refugees residing in a western world. They, and other Lao refugees, pick worms from the ground on a farm for meager wages. Although only eight pages long, “Worms” explores privilege and the ache and injustice of uprooting one’s life for the promise of a better future—only to be met with hardship along the way. Thammavongsa herself was born in a refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, NOON and Best American Non-Required Reading. She is working on her first collection of stories, called “How to Pronounce Knife,” which is set for a 2020 release date. Thammavongsa currently resides in Toronto, Canada. Other stories in Ploughshares’ winter issue will cover topics ranging …