I was only a child when the war began / Just six years old when they came for a “meeting” / I saw Ma tremble as Ba ran to hide / He squeezed behind the armoire, “Hush, my child” / The space was so narrow, “Don’t say a word” / Something was wrong, I’d never seen him there before

THIS IS FOR MẸ: With Love I Rise

I was only a child when the war began / Just six years old when they came for a “meeting” / I saw Ma tremble as Ba ran to hide / He squeezed behind the armoire, “Hush, my child” / The space was so narrow, “Don’t say a word” / Something was wrong, I’d never seen him there before

Textures of April 30th

I didn't expect to be challenged by a history I had long preferred not to think about: that so many people we eventually lived alongside in Australia had initially celebrated our demise.

Book Review: The House I Inherit

Paul Bonnell reviews Phuong T. Vuong's The House I Inherit. In “What my father gives me,” Vuong writes: my father who gives me / salted lemons / makes offerings / when my silence seems / too prickly for much else / my father so good / at surviving / even his preserved lemons / stay afloat in salt water

Legible Language: Artist Profile of Hieu Minh Nguyen

My writing, therefore, uses inviting language—language some might call accessible—to make the world legible to subjects like my mother, and to make subjects like my mother legible to the world.

140LBS for Mother’s Day

A single woman supplied with a folding chair and multiple voices was able to render an entire audience paralyzed with grief. By the end of the show, it seemed clear that while this began as a tale seeking revenge, it was actually a tale of a daughter seeking to understand, connect, and honor her mother by any means necessary, even if it meant ripping apart scars by uncovering her and her family’s unaddressed trauma.

SPEED 2: Sheep Machine @ Malmö Konsthall, Sweden

Vi Khi Nao's ekphrastic poetry, Sheep Machine, on exhibit at Malmö Konsthall, Sweden, in conjunction with the video art by visual artist Leslie Thornton that Nao's textual experiment "narrates".

THIS IS FOR MẸ: Saying Goodbye to Fear with Trinh Mai

There is a lot of conversation around inherited trauma. They are so very real. We’ve lived with them and through them. But I wanted to also cradle our inherited strength in our other hands, holding them side by side as a reminder that we are given this very strength that will walk us through the trauma.

Tình Nước // Fading Waves: A Story of Disappearance

Through my parents’ repeated retellings of their stories, with the same tones, rhythms, inflections, and unreconcilable non-endings, I realized that beyond being a ubiquitous source for survival, water, or nước, was also personally symbolic for my parents.

News & Events: May 2019

Socio-cultural, literary, and political news and events relating to Việt Nam and to the Vietnamese diaspora. ■ News from the Diaspora ■ Thich Nhat Hanh, Preacher of Mindfulness, Has Come Home to Vietnam Exhibition at Dot Art...

Memory Is A Story With Multiple Endings: Interview with Filmmakers Quyên Nguyen-Le & Ly...

I came up with the title Hoài (in Vietnamese meaning both ongoing and memory) to encapsulate the feeling experienced by queer refugee descendant—realities fractured with memories, multiple identifications, and an unsettling home that is rooted in refugee displacement.

Whose American Dream?

My mother, still beautiful despite dark half circles under her eyes, tensed her petite body; she did not narrowly escape communist Vietnam as a boat person to have her only child talk to crazy people for a living.

Book Review: King of Joy

We are more connected yet paradoxically more alone than ever. And we are no longer angry, or simply angry, but sad. Chiem leans into this sadness and lays his characters’ pain bare. Chiem works in metaphors that hit you hard in the heart.

You Pick Color

From one witch to another, I sat across from her and asked the question that has haunted me my entire life. The question that made me travel almost 3,000 miles to Brendon’s hometown, to elbow my way through the tourists, to float on my back on the clearest waters you really ever did see and wonder if what Lan Vo told me would ever come to fruition.

Memory Work: The Missing Piece Project

The Missing Piece Project calls for a collective intervention at the Wall by Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and other refugee community members still affected today by the legacy of American militarism and imperialism in Southeast Asia. This project envisions a nationwide, coordinated, mass dedication of items at the Wall by refugee community members on the upcoming April 30 anniversary in 2020.

An Invitation to Spirits: Đám Giỗ for My Mother

Dear Mom, I’m writing to apologize that 24 years passed before we hosted a Đám Giỗ for you. Although it took me so long to invite you home, that ceremony shifted my relationship with you, your life and your death.

“NÀNG THƠ” / “MUSE”

Một buổi sáng thức dậy / nàng muốn được ăn cả vạn vật trên thế giới / những vật chất như ô tô, tàu hoả / đồ dùng hàng ngày quấn áo, giày dép, giấy vệ sinh