Monday, December 29, 2014

Hmong poetry: To Live Here, by Soul Vang

It's recently been brought to my attention that Soul Vang's long-awaited full-length book of poetry, "To Live Here" has finally been released, thanks to Imaginary Friend Press.

Soul Vang is easily one of the best Hmong poets of our generation. He's a significant voice and I find his work stunning and profound. I first became acquainted with his verse in the late 1990s through my work with the Paj Ntaub Voice Hmong literary journal and the Bamboo Among the Oaks anthology.

I haven't had a chance to read To Live Here, but knowing Soul's previous poetry, this is certain to become an essential classic for the community alongside texts such as Pos Moua's Where the Torches Are Burning and Burlee Vang's The Dead I Know: Incantation for Rebirth.

It's somewhat tragic that his work wasn't picked up by Asian American publisher, particularly a Hmong press. As Hmong and Lao approach 40 years in the US, I think this still speaks volumes about our place within the various worlds of arts and letters. But that aside, I'm delighted to see this book has come out at last through Imaginary Friend Press, and I'm glad to see they can appreciate the importance of this collection not only for today's readers but for the generations yet to come.

To Live Here is selling for just $15, shipping and handling included. That's a great deal to read an amazing voice. Don't miss this one.

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