There were also numerous workshops, like the Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon centered around increasing the visibility and accessibility of Asian American literature. “I really wanted to capture that — within the midst of all this WASP life — Asian American identity thrives, immigrant identity thrives, and that working class folks live here. That there needs to be an openness in the way we engage with community and how we choose to do this work of sharing was clear as well. "We can safely say that if there was no Vietnam War, Little Dog’s mother and therefore Little Dog would not exist, and Tiger Woods would also not exist. Why present this dual existence in this manner? Particularly memorable was the opening invocation by Ching-In Chen who spoke about the poem they were sharing, one that allowed them to be included in a family wedding; a fitting testimony—to a poem that made space for inclusion—for an event that was open to all. When Ocean Vuong moved to New York City after high school, he was startled to hear the general perception of his hometown. “You have to really care for bodies — you are rubbing, cleaning, clipping, painting.”. Eliot Prize for his poetry. Appearances. It is about survival as a creative act,” Vuong said of his characters. Based on Vuong’s experience growing up as the son of a single mother and as a refugee of the Vietnam War, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” centers on Little Dog, a creative and precocious child who is the first in his family to learn how to read. Poets and writers like Arthur Sze, Kazim Ali, Gerald Maa, Rajiv Mohabir, and Dorothy Wang urged us to think on how we, as Asian Americans, use language to articulate identity, which is one reason I was excited to attend the Pacific Islander Poetry Reading hosted by Kundiman, with Christopher Diaz, William Nu’utupu Giles, and Lee Kava. Continuing in the same vein were events like the VS Podcast Live held on the rooftop of the Eaton featuring superstars Sarah Gambito, Joseph Legaspi, and Cathy Linh Che, hosted by the illustrious Danez Smith and Franny Choi. This was also clear in the live and continuous screenings of “Queer Check-In” Video Poems curated by Franny Choi and co-produed by the Smithsonian APAC and Kundiman as part of the digital exhibition A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America. “I would say: ‘What are you talking about? One of Vuong’s goals was to depict Asian American life in New England, which he said is rarely represented in literature. “Because they spend day in and day out putting their heads down, we can hold our heads up.” Rose was given a standing ovation. "I would tell people I was from Hartford, Connecticut, and people would say ‘Ooh, fancy,’” the writer, who was born in 1988, said. / That's all I wanted to be. “On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous” also touches on the mixed outcomes war can bring. @ocean_vuong: “your mom and dad, fresh off the boat and ready to open a nail salon called Forever Beauty #1” Ocean Vuong's debut novel, "On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous," is scheduled to be released Tuesday by Penguin Press. Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, the curator of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, told me that the way the organization does not operate under traditional hierarchies was key to the preservation and growth of Asian American literature. In his début novel, the poet tells a story of surviving the violence of America. ... I’d told him earlier in the day, my mom died suddenly from cancer, launching me and my family into grieving disarray for … POEMS. "They are both a product of the war," he noted. More. The warmth and laughter of this reading carried over to Queer Literoake the following night, emceed by the incomparable Dan Lau, and featuring an incredible gathering of poets and writers like Wo Chan, Mimi Khúc, Jericho Brown, Kristen Arnett, Kazim Ali, Gowri K., Ricco Siasoco, and Regie Cabico.