The evening has a very special reading featuring several of the writers included in this ground-breaking anthology, including Bee Cha, May Lee, Vayong Moua and myself. The reading is free and starts at 7PM!
This event is made possible thanks to the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.
First printed in 2002 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, Bamboo Among the Oaks featured 23 writers working in many different genres, from poems to short stories and plays.
When it came out, it was described as "...a landmark book," by Anne Fadiman, the author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, and '...a groundbreaking anthology" by David Mura, author of The Colors of Desire: Poems and Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei. 5 years later, this still holds true.
And as a quick recap:May Lee is a former member of the Hmong spoken word group, FIRE (Free Inspiring Rising Elements) and has been published in Bamboo Among the Oaks, Paj Ntaub Voice, Unarmed Journal, AsianAmericanPoetry.Com, Bakka Magazine and The St. Paul Almanac. A co-founder Portraits of Boiled Thoughts, Lee has been an actress and performed for Pom Siab Hmoob Theatre in some of the very first Hmong American plays.
She is also the winner of the Loft Literary Center’s Mentorship Program in Non-Ficton (2005), the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant (2004), the Playwright Center’s Many Voices Residency Fellowship (2002), the University of Minnesota’s Anna Augusta von Helmholtz Phelan Scholarship for Creative Writing (2001) and the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Project grant. Her work has been regularly presented by Mu Performing Arts.
I should point out that this is a particularly unique reading because while we have worked with one another variously throughout the years since Bamboo Among the Oaks came out, this is the first reading where all five of us have come together at the same time.