ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Lao-Hmong-American Uses Poetry to Express His Values on Life


Lao-Hmong Amerian poet Bryan Thao Worra recently published his first poetry book entitled “On The Other Side Of The Eye.” Born in Vientiane, he was only six months old when he was adopted by an American pilot who worked in Laos during the Secret War in the 1960’s. His adopted parents brought him to the United States in 1971.

Bryan grew up surrounded by a white family, well aware that he is different from his parents. Bryan told VOA in an exclusive interview that he was taught that the values of a person is not in his race nor his skin color, but rather the person he is and what he aims to make of his life. The first Lao-Hmong-American poet, who is also a writer and journalist,
became interested in writing at an early age, but began writing seriously in 1991 while in college.

Bryan told VOA that …“Luckily, I had a great teacher who introduced me to many great works of world reknown poets. I started to write and keep writing ever since. I started out with writing short stories first, then worked my way into poems. I have won so many awards for my poems. My style of writing is based on people, culture and language.”

Bryan says that Asian poets like to follow the concept “Less Is More.” He adds that poetry is a way to express, connect, and interact between languages. Poetry can do so much more then short stories in a limited space. It is very challenging, a choice of word in a language. It is a reflection of people, culture and traditions.

“I am honored and privileged to be the first Laotian-American poet to come out with this book “On The Other Side Of The Eye.” This book of poems is a view point from the other side of the eyes, not only from the writer’s perspective, but also from a different view point, a different angle as seen by other people.

Bryan’s poems have appeared in over 60 journals including the Bamboo Among the Oaks Anthology, as well as Whistling Shade, Urban Pioneer, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Mid American Poetry Review, Jade Magazine, the Asian Pacific Journal and the Journal of the Asian American Renaissance, Bakka Magazine, among many others. In 2005 Thao Worra became the interim executive director for the Hmong American Institute for Learning, publisher of the Paj Ntaub
or Hmong Voice literary journal. He was also a 2002 MN Playwrights' Center Many Voices Fellow, and was an active member of the SatJaDham Lao Literary Project, working actively to promote the work of Laotian and Hmong artists and writers.

Currently Bryan Thao Worra resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and has worked at national and regional levels on issues of Southeast Asian refugee resettlement.

For more on VOA’s interview with Bryan Thao Worra, listen to our Lao Diaspora report. And stay tuned for a follow-up report that VOA will bring you in the near future.

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