Ly Van survived the brutal communist Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and later led the Glory Buddhist Temple in Massachusetts for 20 years until his death in January 2008. As his peers were going through his effects, they discovered his manuscript of poetry, which no one even knew he'd written.
The book, entitled "O! Maha Mount Dangrek," is a collection of two lengthy poems: one an autobiographical piece on the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, the other about a friend's story of love in the time of genocide. The title in English means "Oh Mighty Mount Dangrek" and refers to the mountainous plateau between the Cambodia-Thailand border refugees were forced to climb to escape the Khmer Rouge.
A 14-city tour is now planned to promote the book with readings and accompanying musical performances by young Cambodian artists. The tour began April 1 at a Middlesex Community College reading and will now continue with stops in Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Paul,, and Long Beach. The publication of Ly Van's work, printed in its original Khmer and in English, completes a two-year project by followers.