Lao American writer Bryan Thao Worra was selected to be a part of the Poetry Parnassus to represent Lao poets in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics. His poem “No Regrets,” has been placed on display in the outdoor spaces around the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall until September.
The exhibition is one of many events taking place during the Festival of the World at Southbank Centre. The poetry of other international poets will be displayed as part of a fantasy landscape inspired by a collective of artists, with performances in over 50 languages planned.
Thao Worra’s poem will also be included in the World Record Anthology being published to commemorate the occasion. Among other poets participating are California poet Kay Ryan representing the US, and Kosal Khiev, who a Cambodian refugee deported by the US who is currently rebuilding his life. Thailand is represented by the award-winning poet Chiranan Pitpreecha, while Vietnam’s poets are represented by Nguyen Bao Chan.
“I’m honored by the literary company I’m in, and thankful for the tireless support of the organizers,” Thao Worra said.
More than 6,000 nominations were received from the public regarding their favorite poets from the 204 countries represented at the Olympics. Thao Worra was selected to represent Laos. Almost 150 poets representing six continents are scheduled to attend the Poetry Parnassus in person. Others will participate through internet webcasts, posters, or other artistic ways to connect with their audiences.
“No Regrets” was a poem written by Thao Worra in recognition of the Lao American poet Saymoukda Vongsay’s first chapbook, published in 2008. She has since gone on to win the Carey Prize in Spoken Word and other recognition across the country. The two have regularly collaborated on projects to raise awareness of the Lao American literary voice.
Born in Laos in 1973, Bryan Thao Worra’s poetry is taught in classrooms and textbooks. He is the creative works editor for the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement and the first Lao writer to hold a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts.
He is also the first Lao American professional member of the Horror Writer Association and a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. He has served on the board of the Loft Literary Center, and is the author of several books of poetry, including On the Other Side of the Eye, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.
A week-long event, the Poetry Parnassus was inspired by the Greek myth of Mount Parnassus, believed to be the home of the Muses – the goddesses of literature, science and the arts. For more information you can visit: http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/poetry-parnassus.