Lao spoken word artist receives Loft Immersion grant
MINNEAPOLIS (Dec. 23, 2016) — The Loft Literary Center recently announced Monday that Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay of Minneapolis is a recipient of the 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship.
Other fellowship recipients include Diego Vazquez and Marcie Rendon (Minneapolis), #BlackTransMagick, J Mase III & Vita E. (Seattle and Chicago), and Camisha L. Jones (Herndon, Va.). The alternate recipient is Hieu Minh Nguyen, with honorable mentions to Keno Evol, May Lee Yang and Alysia Harris.
The Loft Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship is for artists of color and Indigenous artists and provides writers financial support and professional assistance to develop and implement community learning and enrichment plans. Winners receive grants of $7,500 to underwrite projects of their own design.
At least one winner will be a Minnesota resident. Four winners are selected each year.
Vongsay will travel Minnesota to have conversations with ethnic Lao survivors of the Vietnam War. She will then create a new body of work inspired by their stories and produce video poems.
Vongsay was born in a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1984. Because of her unique background, her work is focused on creating tools and spaces for the amplification of refugee voices through poetry, theater, and experimental cultural production. She was a recipient of the 2010 Alfred C. Carey Prize in Spoken Word
and the 2016 Intermedia Arts Verve Spoken Word Grant.
Vongsay’s writings can be found in such publications as Saint Paul Almanac (Arcata Press), Lessons For Our Time (MN Center for Book Arts), Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement (Purdue University Press), and The Asian American Literary Review (Binghamton University). She is best known for her award-winning play KUNG FU ZOMBIES VS CANNIBALS (Theater Mu) and is developing two more plays for the KUNG FU ZOMBIEVERSE anthology of stage works.
Read more about Vongsay online at www.saymoukdatherfugenius.com.
This year’s judges included Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, a Philadelphia based poet and visual artist. She is currently working on her forthcoming book of poetry, The City of Pearls (UpSet Press 2017).
Danez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer and performer from St. Paul, Minn. They are the author of the award-winning [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014) and the forthcoming Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017). Danez, a member of the Dark Noise Collective, is the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow.
The third judge was Marisa Carr, a poet, playwright and actor based in Minneapolis, MN. She is a multi-show veteran of The Loft’s nationally-acclaimed EQ Spoken Word series. He selected Awards and Fellowships include recognition from Minnesota State Arts Board, The Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellowship, Naked Stages at Pillsbury House + Theatre, Creative Community Leadership at Intermedia Arts and Inroads for Native Writers at The Loft.
Founded in 1974 (incorporated in 1975), The Loft Literary Center is one of the nation’s leading literary arts centers. The Loft advances the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature. Their core values are that “literature is essential, writing can be taught, inclusiveness is imperative, boldness brings excellence, community makes us strong, and wise management fuels our success.” Find our more online at www.loft.org.