Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asian American Poet Spotlight: Soul Vang

California has produced a number of Hmong American writers of particular quality. Consider Burlee Vang and Pos Moua, the author of the book Where the Torches Are Burning, printed by Swan Scythe Press a few years ago. One particular standout to me is the Hmong writer Soul Vang.

Soul Vang’s poetry has appeared in Tilting the Continent, How Much Earth, Bamboo Among the Oaks, and the Central California Poetry Journal. Like many, he was born in Laos and came to the U.S. with his family as a child after 1975, with a year in Nongkhai, Thailand and Hawaii. He also served in the U.S. Army and settled down in California. He received an M.F.A. in poetry from CSU Fresno.

While he and I might disagree occasionally on some formatting issues in poems, he always has my respect for a serious and rigorous style of poetry that is true to our experiences without exoticizing them. He often takes on his journey as a soldier to discussing current events to occasionally, "simply" settling back down into his backyard. You can visit his blog at http://hmongpoet.blogspot.com where he shares some very fine poems, such as "Afternoon at the Long Cheng Café."

To date, he and I have never met in person, but I would consider any discussion of Hmong poetics incomplete without a discussion of his work.

1 comment:

Soul Tswvchoj Vang said...

Thanks, Bryan. I would love to sit down and discuss poetry with you. Let me know the next time you are in town. I will be sure to let you know if I come to MN. Keep being prolific. Soul