Thursday, June 01, 2017

31 Refugee Poets from Southeast Asia

On June 20th, we’ll have the 16th observance of World Refugee Day, established by the United Nations in 2001 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. For fairly obvious reasons, this is a subject that is close to my heart as part of the Southeast Asian diaspora, even as I’m saddened the topic remains timely.

This year, I’m sharing 31 poets who have been refugees or have roots in the refugee diapsora, and I encourage my fellow poets and readers to also push themselves to read more poets whose lives have been touched in such a way. Not just the poems that touch on the refugee experience, but their wider bodies of work. Because of my particular specialization, I’m focusing on Southeast Asian and South Asian poets this year who have books or a substantial body of spoken word work out in the public. Of course, there are poets from many continents and nations whose experience should be brought forward into the conversation. I encourage you all to make your own lists, as well, and share them with the community. In no particular order:

  1. Shailja Patel 
  2. Souvankham Thammavongsa 
  3.  Linh Dinh 
  4.  Mong Lan 
  5.  Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay 
  6.  Vaan Nguyen 
  7.  Do Nguyen Mai 
  8.  Jenna Le 
  9.  Soul Vang 
  10.  Hai-Dang Phan 
  11.  Khaty Xiong 
  12.  Hoa Nguyen 
  13.  Sokunthary Svay 
  14.  Krysada Panusith Phounsiri 
  15.  Phayvanh Luekhamhan 
  16.  Mai Der Vang 
  17.  Chath Piersath 
  18.  Pos Moua 
  19.  Catzie Vilayphonh 
  20.  Peuo Tuy 
  21. Burlee Vang 
  22.  Cathy Linh Che 
  23. Nhan Trinh 
  24. U Sam Oeur 
  25. Anida Yoeu Ali 
  26.  Barbara Tran 
  27.  Ly Van Aggadipo 
  28.  Princess Moon 
  29.  May Lee Yang 
  30.  Mai Neng Moua
  31. Bunkong Tuon

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