aesthetic: LAO’d AF 6/16 at the Loft

On Saturday, June 16th, Lao American creator Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay of Saint Paul will hold conversations with ethnic Lao survivors of the Vietnam War to develop a new body of work exploring memory, violence, trauma, and healing.

The poems will go on to live in a series of videos online. This will be part of the acclaimed long-running Equilibrium spoken word series at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, which has previously held tremendous significance to Lao American writers over nearly 15 years.

She will be joined by Philadelphia’s Catzie Vilayphonh, the founder of Laos in the House and a member of the groundbreaking spoken word duo Yellow Rage.

Lao American poet Bryan Thao Worra will open for them as they share their latest work including new video poems they’ve recently completed. This is their first reading together in Minneapolis in 3 years since the 2015 National Lao American Writers Summit.

Tickets are $10 at the door or $5 for Loft members.

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During Saymoukda Douangphouxay Vongsay’s recent Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship through the Loft Literary Center, she interviewed ethnic Lao survivors of the Vietnam War and turned their stories into poems and visual poems. The visual poems are conceptualized and directed by her collaborators Hlee LeeIrene Hsu, and Melissa Vang.

Catzie Vilayphonh will be showcasing her 4-minute visual poem piece “S.O.S. in reverse” which premiered recently at the Asian Arts Initiative’s 25th Anniversary celebration in Philadelphia.  It was created in collaboration with Noah Lawrence Holder and was a project that was important to her in order to create work that could be seen by those outside the art world.

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. It has been the host to many historic moments in Asian American literature over the years.

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