The Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (CHAP) at Porterville College
Is proud to present a special event with
Mai Der Vang
A Bridge of Poems:
Building Hmong Poetics and a Literary Future for Diverse Communities
in the Central Valley
Wednesday, March 13th, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Porterville College Theater (CA-4)
Through a reading and discussion, Poet Mai Der Vang will tell the story of her own family, and by doing so, also provide an essential history of the Hmong culture’s ongoing resilience in exile. Her book Afterland is a powerful, essential collection of poetry that recounts with devastating detail the Hmong exodus from Laos and the fate of thousands of refugees seeking asylum. Many of these poems are written in the voices of those fleeing unbearable violence after U.S. forces recruited Hmong fighters in Laos in the Secret War against communism, only to abandon them after that war went awry. That history is little known or understood, but the three hundred thousand Hmong now living in the United States are living proof of its aftermath. With poems of extraordinary force and grace, Afterland holds an original place in American poetry and lands with a sense of humanity saved, of outrage, of a deep tradition broken by war and ocean but still intact, remembered, and lived.
Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award in Poetry, and a finalist for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She was also the co-editor of the anthology How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011). In Fall 2019, she began teaching in the Creative Writing MFA Program at Fresno State University. For more information on Mai Der Vang, go to http://maidervang.com/
Copies of the author’s book Afterland are currently available at the PC campus bookstore, and will be available for purchase and signing by the author following her presentation.
CHAP events are FREE and OPEN to the public – ALL are welcome
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Out of respect to our presenter and audience, doors will be closed approximately 10 minutes after the start of the event OR when the theater has reached capacity. Due to safety regulations, once the theater is full no additional people can be admitted. Note that campus parking restrictions will be lifted for the period just before and after the event to accommodate members of the public.