March 28, 2023

Afterland: Poetry of Mai Der Vang
“Flight of the Hmong People and Their Survival as Refugees”

Talk & Book-Signing
Thursday, May 25, 2017
4 to 5:30 p.m.
UCLA Public Affairs 2270

Mai Der Vang’s Afterland is a powerful collection of poetry that recounts with devastating detail the Hmong exodus from Laos and the fate of thousands of refugees seeking asylum. By telling the story of her own family, Vang also provides an essential history of the Hmong culture’s ongoing resilience in exile. Many of these poems are written in the voices of those fleeing unbearable violence after US forces recruited Hmong fighters in Laos in the Secret War against communism, only to abandon them. That history is little known, but the three hundred thousand Hmong now living in the United States are living proof of its aftermath. With poems of extraordinary force and grace, Afterland holds an original place in American poetry and lands with a sense of humanity saved, of outrage, of a deep tradition broken by war and ocean but still intact, remembered, and lived.

Mai Der Vang is the winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and is an editorial member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle and coeditor ofHow Do I Begin: A Hmong American Literary Anthology. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Post.

Sponsored by Graywolf Press, UCLA Department of English, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies, UCLA Asian American Studies Cener, UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, UCLA Community Programs Office and Writing Success Program, UCLA Center for the Study of Women, UCLA Office for Instructional Development (OID), UCLA South-East Asian Campus Learning Education and Retention (SEACLEAR), and UC Irvine Asian American Studies Department.

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