Thursday, October 22, 2009

[Introduction To Lao Writers] Saymoukda Vongsay

Saymoukda 'Mo0ks' Vongsay of Minnesota is a first generation Laotian American writer and the author of No Regrets, a chapbook of poems released in July, 2008. She has performed at universities, museums, clubs, theaters, festivals, and overseas in Italy and Japan.She has worked with the Center for Hmong Arts and Talents, the MN Spoken Word Association, TruRuts, Yo! The Movement, and others. She has been an advice columnist and associate editor for Focus Entertainment Magazine. Along with numerous community projects, she is working on her novella, Flooded With Blood and Breath.

In her collection No Regrets, we see a good range of her work and some of the styles she enjoys, including those that we would consider updates of traditional Japanese forms. Her poems are notable for their brevity and immediacy.

Matchmaker, Immigrant Status and The Lost Brother Poem are particular favorites of mine and traverse familiar ground in different ways than many Laotian American poets. Vongsay's themes touch heavily on the issues of love and romance in the inner cities among Laotian Americans. Many might critique her work for still being quite young, but I find it worth encouraging and it speaks to her generation and the hip-hop community. It will be interesting to see what her follow-up works are.

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