Posted by: Ryan Wolfson-Ford
Lao poetry in America has gone in diverse directions since the end of the Southeast Asian conflicts in the 1970s. It has served a variety of social and cultural purposes for many of the communities who were rebuilding their lives and considering their next directions. Over the last five decades, poetry has been one of the leading forms of literary expression among those with roots in Laos, including ethnic Lao, Khmu, Tai Dam, Lue, Iu Mien, and Hmong, with works composed primarily in American English but often introducing new words from their heritage, in addition to sharing their perspectives on history and traditional beliefs, myths, and their personal and collective dreams as they engaged with an America on the verge of significant cultural shifts thanks to computers and the internet. This post takes a look at some of the opportunities and challenges readers and writers alike have faced to collect and share these works.