All posts filed under: Refugee

Letter to My Daughter for International Womens Day

Dear Nakanya Dao, It’s van mae ying hang saht. International Women’s Day. I named you after a dragon princess because you breathed fire since being in my womb. There’s a reason why Laos celebrates its women and America shrugs it as another day. Our pain still lingers in the skies. Our freedom is still floating between the Mekong and the Mississippi. They say we’ll feel human again when we are free, but you must know the heavy stories we carry in our tong ma lai bags. These stories disintegrate between the blood-soaked pages of your school’s alternative history books. Before I felt American as a naturalized citizen, I was a Resident Alien. Holding onto a fragile green card through my teen years. Before I felt home on the prairie, I was a 2-year-old displaced refugee, in a faded pink petal dress gifted by the Filipinos at the Bataan camp. Before I felt human, I was born on the frigid floor of a crumbling Viengxai cave. Before I could feel, I was in your grandmother’s pa jia sling. Sinking …

A Future We See Ourselves In: Talking with Bryan Thao Worra

This week, the Science Fiction Poetry Association has announced that I’ve been elected as the organization’s new president. I’ll be the first Lao American to lead a speculative literature organization, and Little Laos on the Prairie has asked me to speak a little about that today. The Science Fiction Poetry Association‘s mission is to bring together international writers interested in poetry featuring science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the imagination. Founded in 1978, every year we publish several journals, hold contests and present 3 major literary awards for writers. I myself was a recipient of the Elgin Award for Book of the Year in 2014. The organization also provides resources for poets seeking professional publication and networking opportunities. And these opportunities are definitely needed. Although today science fiction and fantasy seem common in most corners of artistic endeavor, such as film, novels, and the visual arts, poetry is one area that’s received less attention even as remarkably innovative work is being done there. While awards aren’t everything in the literary arts, it’s hard not to notice the …