Friday, October 13, 2017

Transitioning to Laomagination


As some of you may have noticed, over the last few weeks we've been slowly doing the rollout for Laomagination over at Thaoworra.com or http://thaoworra.wordpress.com. On The Other Side Of The Eye will continue to be active but we'll slowly be putting the more important and useful posts over at Laomagination. After the 12th anniversary of On The Other Side Of The Eye, I anticipate this site will be largely maintained as an archive rather than actively updated. Thank you for your support!

Recent book citations

Some books recently came to my attention where I'm apparently cited for one reason or another. Sharing them here so that I have a reasonably accurate note on what they were.


Dictionary of Midwestern Literature - Volume 2, Dimensions of the Midwestern Literary Imagination. 2016.


Asian America: A Primary Source Reader, featured my poems "E Pluribus Unum," and "Golden Triangle Holy Mountain," in 2016.



Cited in The Best Horror of the Year Series, Book 6, 2014 and in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: 21st Annual Collection



The Great American Mosaic: An Exploration of Diversity in Primary Documents [4 volumes] in Sept. 30, 2014 by Gary Okihiro and Lionel Bascom.


Asian American Culture: From Anime to Tiger Moms, 2016.

My thanks to everyone who took the time to read my work and engage with it. I look forward to writing more for you all in the future. In the meantime, study hard, and keep imaginative!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 Speculative Poetry News Recap


As you can imagine, when you have so much going on in the world of speculative poetry, it can be a little hard to keep track of everyone's news after a while. We're now in October, so it seems like a good month to do a recap of all of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association member news as people reported to Michael H. Payne, who has my fullest and sincere appreciation for what is such a tremendous task, given how many of us are spread out over 19+ countries.

In addition to our files on Google Docs, we're also keeping them up at our blog SPECPO, and we appreciate pingbacks and linking to those posts because it helps get all of your wonderful accomplishments further attention from the various search engines, and as the saying goes: We all do better when we all do better. If there are any corrections you'd like made, as always, let us know and we'll get that addressed promptly.

January:

https://specpo.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/member-news-january-2017/

February:
https://specpo.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/member-news-february-2017/

March:
https://specpo.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/sfpa-members-activities-roundup-march-2017/

April:
https://specpo.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/member-news-april-2017/

May:
https://specpo.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/member-news-may-2017/

June and July:
https://specpo.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/member-news-july-2017/

August:
https://specpo.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/member-news-august/

September:
https://specpo.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/member-news-september-2017/




And in case you missed it:
2017 Elgin Award Winners

2017 Speculative Poetry Contest Winners

2017 Dwarf Star Award Winners

2017 Rhysling Award Winners

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association was established in 1978 by Suzette Haden-Elgin and has an international membership representing over 19 nations and cultures including United States, Italy, Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Israel, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, the Hmong, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association publishes two journals: Star*Line and Eye to the Telescope. It oversees three major literary awards for poetry: The Rhyslings, the Dwarf Stars, and the Elgin Awards. We also conduct an annual science fiction poetry contest and other special events and gatherings. Further, we also provide resources for emerging and established poets seeking professional publication and networking opportunities.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reading fiction at Wordbrew V!


Even though there's not a guarantee of BeerLao being available there, I have been talked into joining Wordbrew V for 2017! I'll be bringing something from the Southeast Asian horror side of things. Wordbrew V is October 22nd. A big thanks to Conrad Z-ro for the invitation!

This is the 5th year of local authors reading short sections of their fiction onstage. "Think of it as speed dating for fiction," I've been threate...informed. We convene at Kieran's Irish Pub at 85 6th St N, in Minneapolis!

After the readings, we all hang out, nosh, schmooze, and the authors are available to sell/sign their books. Genres range from Sci-fi to Horror to Fantasy and Beyond. It's a great opportunity for fiction fans to experience a variety of authors/genres all in one event.

 Hosted by the MinnSpec Writers Group. MC - Rob Callahan.  The doors open at noon, and readings start at 1. No cover!

Speculative Poetry Panel Ideas for 2018


This is a list that will be updated as more inspiration hits, but I know that many of our members are asking what kind of events they can propose in support of the SFPA Ruby Anniversary throughout 2018.

There’s no “Official” SFPA curriculum on speculative poetry as it stands, but our officers, ad hoc historians and others will certainly be happy to work with individual members to fine-tune various panel proposals or connect them with other members in the state or city for readings and events on these or similar subjects! 

Speculative Poetry Workshop (60 Minutes) It's the SFPA ruby anniversary and this year we’d like to see plenty of speculative poetry workshops filled with creative prompts and exercises in both short forms and longer forms to bring out your imaginative verse.

SFF Poetry Slam/Open Mic (60 to 120 Minutes)
Help getting the weekend off to an exciting start with a poetry slam, open mic for the convention. In some regions, members may prefer to do a round-robin approach, or both, if there’s particular support at the event for poetry readings. If you’re really daring, you can propose the Stately Thunderdome approach to SFF poetry readings. Themed readings are certainly encouraged. Do you want to do a reading of vampire or Godzilla-inspired poetry? Hard SFF poems? The sky’s the limit.

40 Years of the SFPA (60 Minutes)
A look at the origins of the SFPA, Suzette Haden Elgin, prior presidents, current membership and highlights and an introduction to the state of speculative poetry around the world today.

Rhysling Awards Retrospective (60 Minutes) The 40th anniversary Rhysling Awards will be revealed at Diversicon 26, but we encourage a look at Rhysling winners and nominees from previous years, including more thorough discussions of what trends we could see over the years among what the members preferred and didn’t. Alternate panel idea: Going Vogon: A challenge to make truly awful SFF Poems for consideration.

Grandmasters of Speculative Poetry (60 Minutes)
A look at the work of the SFPA Grand Masters. A discussion of the poetry work of David C. Kopaska Merkel, Marge Simon, Steve Sneyd, Jane Yolen, Ray Bradbury, Robert Frazier, and Bruce Boston and their contributions to the field of SFF Poetry.

Lady Poetesses From Hell and Other Midwestern Entities (60 Minutes)
A look at the Minnesota Speculative Poetry collective Lady Poetesses from Hell and other regional speculative poetry collectives and workshops of the Midwest.

SFPA Poetry Clinic (60+ Minutes or as time permits)
Volunteer poets, editors will meet with poets one on one or in small groups, depending on demand to look at 2-3 poems and provide feedback and critique on how to improve the poems for publication or performance.

Elgin Awards In Review (60 Minutes)
A look at the 2017 Elgin Award nominees and previous winners of the Elgin Awards and nominees of note that have been selected by our members from around the world.

Star*Lines, Dwarf Stars and Eyes to the Telescope, Oh My! (60 Minutes)
Past and present editors and contributors of the SFPA publications discuss the publications, editorial approach and what we're looking for in the years ahead.

Art of the SFPA (60 Minutes)
A look at the Star*Line, Rhysling and Dwarf Stars covers and interiors of the last 40 years, as well as other special projects of the organization over the decades.

SFPA Book-Off! (60 Minutes)
Shameless self-promotion time! SFPA members in town get 2 minutes to pitch us your newest or favorite book/anthology they've written that's available in the SFPA bookstore/table at the convention this year. No sample-reading, save it for the open-mics...

New Voices, New Verses (60 Minutes)
A look at the work of new first-time members of the SFPA from 2017-2018.

Speculative Verse, Pulitzer Prizes and Poet Laureates (60 Minutes)
A look at the work of Tracy K. Smith, US Poet Laureate, Pulitzer-prize winning author of the poetry collection Life On Mars.

Updating The ‘Verse (60 Minutes)
A Speculative Poetry News panel, with a special and a look at new and defunct Speculative Poetry Markets around the world

Among The Stars/In Memoriam (60 Minutes)
Memorial remarks on speculative poets who passed away in 2017 and 2018

Speculative Poetry Magnetic Poetry Board
Throughout the weekend, members and participants can have fun playing with a magnetic poetry board.

It's A Cookbook! It's A Cookbook!

Poems of recipes or cocktails inspired by or involving SFF or horror themes set up at the hospitality suites.

Coming to Arcana 47!

Arcana is a long-running horror convention that bills itself as "a convention of the dark fantastic." Arcana is held annually in St. Paul, Minnesota and typically features a famous author or artist from the dark fantasy genre as its guest of honor. Arcana programming includes a variety of panels, talks, and films. Other programming includes a book and art auction and an "open" reading. The presentation of the Minnesota Fantasy Award is a key feature of each year's convention.


On Saturday, I'll be presenting at 11:00-11:55 a.m., Mainstage. for the panel: Giants in Fact, Folklore, Fiction, and Film. For Arcana's annual “Monster of the Year” panel, this time we look at giant guys and gals, from dinosaurs to the Giant of the beanstalk to Bigfoot, King Kong, Godzilla, and on. Eric M. Heideman, mod.; Scott F. Wyatt and I will discuss with the audience. I'll be bringing in a particular conversation on giants in Southeast Asian myth and legend, naturally! Or unnaturally, as the case may be for this convention.

From 4:00-6:00 p.m., Mainstage is the Minn-Con Auction. The Minn-Con Auction keeps the Arcana parent organization afloat through a blend of books, magazines, DVDs/BluRays, artwork, and miscellaneous items. So much fun it’s scary! I'll be one of the auctioneers with Dwayne H. Olson!

I'll also be helping with the late-night Scary TV Party at Krushenko's: "That signpost up ahead…Do not touch your television set. " starting at 9:30PM until whenever the last person falls asleep! If they dare!

This year's guest of honor is William F. Nolan, who was born on March 6, 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He is a prolific writer and actor, particularly known for Logan's Run (1976), Trilogy of Terror (1975) and Burnt Offerings (1976).

From the speculative theater perspective, Roy C. Booth will be there, as will Cynthia Booth! Roy C. Booth hails from Bemidji, MN where he manages Roy's Comics & Games (est. 1992) with his wife and three sons. He is a published author, poet, journalist, essayist, gag writer, and optioned screenwriter with over 900 publication credits, and internationally awarded playwright with 57 stage plays published (Samuel French, Heuer, et al) with 825+ productions worldwide in 30 countries in ten languages. He is also known for collaborations with R Thomas Riley, Brian Keene, Eric M. Heideman, William F. Wu, Axel Kohagen, and others!

Cynthia Booth is a published poet, short story writer, and internationally awarded playwright presently also residing in Bemidji, Minnesota. They’ve been long-time talented friends and supporters of my work, and I’m excited to see them a part of this year’s Arcana to hear what’s new with them in their creative journeys!

I'll see you there!

2017 Elgin Award Winners Announced!

It was an honor and privilege to have Minneapolis-based poet Josh Brown as our Elgin Award Chair for the largest year of nominees in the history of the SFPA: Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. He recently shared his personal remarks on the process as chair at SPECPO.

Coordinating the 300+ members of our international organization to read through and consider 52 books is no small task. Especially when those books come from such diverse traditions as the Hmong, Anglo-Burmese, Filipina, South Asian, and Vietnamese Diaspora, classical science fiction, Christian and Islamic allegories, the early history of computing, haikus, experimental poetics, the work of SFF Poetry Grand Masters, and so much more. Some were by first-time authors, and some were by poet laureates of their cities. But so many of our members found space and time in their own busy schedules to consider all of them.


I thank Josh for his firm and steady hand on this, because rallying our membership to read and engage with so many diverse texts as these, across 19 nations and almost every time zone, especially with people who have a poet's temperament is truly no small task.

I applaud all of our members who boldly tolk on the challenge and helped Josh, I, and the executive committee of the SFPA come to a consensus on the matter. I look forward to all of the discussions that are yet ahead for these works, and the other nominees.


My personal and official congratulations, then, to Jeannine Hall Gailey, Neil Aitken, Jenna LĂȘ, Marge Simon, Sandy DeLuca, Margaret Rhee, Wendy Rathbone, and John C. Mannone in our 39th year of the SFPA as the recipients of the 5th-ever Elgin Awards for Speculative Poetry Books of the Year. 
May the times ahead be filled with even greater encouragement and inspiration and opportunity for them, and may the very best of their words always find their way to the stars they're meant for.

Full Length Category
 First: Field Guide to the End of the World • Jeannine Hall Gailey (Moon City Press, 2016)

Second (tie): A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora • Jenna Le (Anchor & Plume, 2016)

Second (tie): Small Spirits: Dark Dolls • Marge Simon (Midnight Town Media, 2016)

Third: Dead  Starships • Wendy Rathbone (Eye Scry Publications, 2016)

Chapbook Category
First Place: Leviathan • Neil Aitken (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2016)

Second Place: Radio Heart, or; How Robots Fall Out of Love • Margaret Rhee (Finishing Line Press, 2016)

Third Place: Apocalypse • John C. Mannone (Alban Lake, 2015)

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Moving Mountains on a budget


SEARAC recently posted a helpful video for folks interested in figuring out how to get to the Moving Mountains summit in October on a budget. I applaud this resource being made available to prospective attendees and find much of the information may be applicable for other organizations putting together their own evens in the future. The advantage is that for many of these ideas, they build vital skill sets that are practical and worthwhile outside of this event and issue alone. If you're going to apply these, I'd recommend getting a start on it now, and I would be concerned that the time is very short to fulfill the funding drives because transport tickets will only increase between now and October.


Friday, September 08, 2017

SFPA Dwarf Star Awards Announced


This year’s chair for the Dwarf Star Awards, Robin Mayhall gave us many fine works to consider. Our members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association voted, and here are the results:

First Place: “aster than the speed of lightf” by LeRoy Gorman 
Second Place: “Lover” by Holly Day
 Third Place: “Loss” by Sandi Leibowitz .

 Chair Robin Mayhall said “Congratulations to each of these winners. Your work is extraordinary—truly the best of the best short poems published in 2016! Many thanks to those who nominated poems and to all of the members who voted. If you haven’t yet read through your copy of the 2017 Dwarf Stars Anthology, please pick it up and read these wonderful works, as well as the many other surreal, funny, sad, spooky and beautiful poems therein.”

 For those who want a list of the 2017 candidates, please click here. This award is given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association to recognize the best speculative poem of 1–10 lines published in the previous year.

Mieng at the Museum in Philadelphia!

Our amazing friends at Laos In The House recently gave us the update on what’s happening throughout September in Philadelphia starting this weekend. If you’re in the area be sure to catch it!

Friday, September 8, 6-8PM Opening Reception: Hurry Up and Wait
Curated by Adriel Luis (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center), this new exhibition at the Asian Arts Initiative takes on art that explores the moments within in the complex process of migration. September 1 – December 15, 2017

Saturday, September 9, 10AM-8PM PHLA Kitchen Opens at Art Museum's Perelman Cafe -
A delicious new menu created for Philadelphia Assembled by twelve Philly culinary artists and storytellers. This month's dishes are inspired by survival, and will feature mieng! Come taste this Luang Prabang specialty available September 9 – October 8, open Tuesday through Sunday 10-2:30PM.

Thursday, September 14, 6-8PM Recipes For Change with Catzie Vilayphonh -
Join us at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Culinary Literacy Center for a special evening of food and storytelling. Presented in partnership with Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and The Philadelphia Commission for Women, as part of Welcoming Week, an annual series of events where communities bring together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to raise awareness on the benefits of welcoming everyone. Participants will make mieng and hear the story of a trickster who uses it to teach a lesson.


Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Ananya Dance Theater Presents: Shyamali/Dissent Sept. 15-16th


"Shyamali: Sprouting Words" is inspired by the courage of global women of color who speak up to sustain communities and whose dissent fuels life force. It celebrates women who refuse to be broken and invokes the resilience of grass, which springs up even when trod upon.

Ananya Chatterjea's choreography combines the metaphor and poetry of Contemporary Indian Dance in a movement practice anchored in social justice as it invokes the spirit of Dakini, traditionally embodied by destruction, chaos, and transformation.

Dakini lives in the possibilities of audiences' and performers' discomfort and insists that the role of women's rage and their spiritual ecstasy be seen in the arc towards equity. This tumult resolves through choreography that weaves ritualistic performance and dances of the gentle warrior.

Chatterjea's production team includes the dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre, collaborating director Marcus Young, composer Greg Schutte, scenic designer Joel Sass, media designer Darren Johnson, costume designer Annie Cady, and lighting designer Kevin A. Jones.

Be sure to catch it!

Monday, September 04, 2017

Thanks for joining us at DreamHaven!


Conrad Zero took some great footage of my reading at DreamHaven Books for the 10th anniversary of my first full-length book of poetry, On The Other Side Of The Eye on August 30th, 2017. We had a good showing and I appreciate everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to see me for my first reading since coming back to the Twin Cities, outside of the Science Fiction convention scene. 

I also appreciate Yuk Ki Lau coming out, because he was the one who designed the distinctive cover for On The Other Side Of The Eye. I also saw Mali Kouanchao, the award-winning Lao American artist and entrepreneur behind Cool Jerk, and Mike Davis of Burlesque North America who've been long-standing supporters of my work. We all had a chance to also celebrate the end of Lao-American Artist Heritage Month in Minnesota. Special thanks to Terry Faust, Kev Minh Allen, and Peuo Tatyana Tuy for their help documenting this event, as well as Tessa Johnstone Carlson for all of her help making this a great evening. I deeply appreciate the support DreamHaven gave us to hold this reading on short notice!

I'm looking forward to more readings with all of you in the very near future, so stay tuned for more details!


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mai Call for Submissions: September 08


MAI: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS for vol. 03 

Volume 03 will focus on images: photography, illustration, comics, or other forms of arts in photographs depicting the lives and roots of Southeast Asian America. Deadline: September 08, 2017 Publication will out in September

 This volume is possible with funding by a grant from the University of California Critical Refugee Studies Collective. If you would like to read MAI 1 and 2, see issuu.com/maivzine

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sisavanh Phoutavong selected as Artist of the Week by Nashville Arts


Congratulations to Sisavanh Phouthavong who was selected by Nashville Arts Magazine as the Artist of the Week earlier this month. Her visual artwork was displayed on billboards across Nashville.

Sisavanh Phouthavong is one of the first professional Lao American visual artists and educators of her generation. Over 5,400 Lao refugees resettled in Kansas in the aftermath of the Laotian Civil War that ended in 1975. Through her powerful acrylic work, she confronts the challenges of bicultural memory and documentation.

She considers notions of the abstract and the concrete for those who must remember both their inner and external histories in a diaspora framed by secrecy and loss. Her work probes what is shared, what is felt, and what must remain deeply personal among the lessons passed on to the next generation as it heals and rebuilds. Be sure to keep an eye out for more of her work in the future.

I'm happy to know her work and celebrate her journey as a fearless artist in our community, and an important voice and vision for our generation.


What Stinks: Fermented Fish and Feelings, a Southeast Asian Creative Healing Workshop, 9/14


What stinks?

In our current socio-political landscape, a lot of things. In this creative workshop, you’ll use poetry, drawing and other artforms to spark dialog about what’s going on around us as we discuss and process ways to support and reflect together.

Our in-house artists are Peuo Tuy, Manola Suvannarad and Aloun Phoulavan.  This event is free and open to API/SEA communities. Light refreshments will be served. Seats are limited so please RSVP to info@theseadproject.org. See you there!

Reminder: DreamHaven Books Reading, August 30th


Looking forward to seeing everyone there! Thanks go to Sahtu Press for their recent coverage, along with Asian American Press.  DreamHaven Books is located at 2301 E. 38th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

IMPRESSIONS features Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay had an excerpt of “When Everything Was Everything” selected for Saint Paul Almanac’s IMPRESSIONS Project on the Twin Cities light rail.  Join the release party on September 1st at 7pm at the Union Depot in downtown Saint Paul.


Loy Khambay-Correa's 10 Parables coming in September


Lao American visual artist Loy Khambay-Correa is marking 10 years as a professional visual artist. Be sure to vist her online at iamloy.com for more details and a look at her previous exhibitions.

Loy Khambay-Correa Born Kheuthmy Khambay, her name meant “Grow Rich Gold Leaf.” Over the years her close family and friends began calling her Loy, which either means “slip away” or “swim.” She was born in a small village in Savannakhet, Laos. Her formative years were spent in Saint Louis, MO and Saint Petersburg, FL.

She developed her love for art watching her uncle Thai Khambay draw when she was a little girl. “I was inspired and mesmerized by his drawings, by the age of 8, I started to draw with him,” she says. She attributes much of her success these days to the tough love her parents gave her, giving her the strength, determination and blessings that drove her to excel. She received her degrees in Commercial Arts along with a Film and Video Production degree from Full Sail University.

Soon after she graduated from Full Sail, she moved to Los Angeles, CA. She had an internship with Women In Film and than worked on various projects. In that world, she went from working in post-production, production, and than pre-production. Today, she only work on projects that she feels that it is worthy to her. If it is going to a good cause or if it is her seed that she is planting.

Through all of that process, she found her love and that was returning back to her art. In 2007, she decided to come out of hiding to reveal her artistic talent to her family and friends. She held her first and solo art show called the Ah-Loy Show. With that success, she plans on having a show every year along with a new theme to showcase her vision.

Recipes for Change with Catzie Vilayphonh coming September 21


Join multimedia artist Catzie Vilayphonh for a special evening of food and storytelling.

This program, presented in partnership with the Office of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and The Philadelphia Commission for Women, is part of Welcoming Week. Welcoming Week is an annual series of events where communities bring together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone.

Participants will sample mieng, a Lao lettuce wrap made from savory sticky rice, and hear the story of a trickster who uses mieng to teach an important lesson. This program also includes opportunities for conversation about life in Philadelphia and the unique challenges and triumphs immigrants and refugees who identify as women face and how we can foster a better community as a city.

Catzie Vilayphonh is an award-winning writer and spoken word poet. Through her work, she provides an awareness not often heard, drawing from personal narrative. A child of Laotian refugees, Catzie was born in camp, on the way to America, and thus considers herself part of the “.5 Generation”.

Tickets are $5 per person and preregistration is required via Eventbrite. Limited free admission for participants who are SNAP eligible. Please call 215-686-5323 or email kitchen@freelibrary.org to inquire about registering free of charge.

SEAD Project Language Workshops coming to Minnesota




The SEAD Project is excited to announce open enrollment for our 8-weeks language program offered in Hmong, Khmer and Lao. Take our fun and engaging workshops integrated with culture, history and social issues. Space is limited. Registration and details are at bit.ly/SpeakSEA.

Note: Classes are based in Saint Paul and Minneapolis. All are welcome in person but we do not have classes available online yet due to our limited capacity.

However, we are accepting test students for our livestream. If interested, please email chanida@theseadproject.org. Southeast Asian languages are available when the needs and capacity are met. Questions to info@theseadproject.org

Monday, August 21, 2017

SFPA Elgin Award for Speculative Poetry Book of the Year Voting Deadline: September 15th


The Elgin Awards, named for SFPA founder Suzette Haden Elgin, are presented annually by SFPA for books published in the preceding two years in two categories, Chapbook and Book. Chapbooks must contain 10-39 pages of poetry and books must contain 40 or more pages of poetry. E-books and self-published books are eligible, as well as print, although there are some restrictions that are outlined here.

This year, we thank our Elgin Award chair, Josh Brown for his invaluable assistance to the SFPA in organizing the nomination process and ensuring eligibility of both nominators and nominees. The September 15th deadline to vote is fast approaching and we have 21 chapbooks and 31 full-length books to consider from 44 presses. If you have any questions on the voting process, please feel free to contact the SFPA. To vote, you must be a member in good standing at the time of your vote.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association was established in 1978 by Suzette Haden-Elgin and has an international membership representing over 19 nations and cultures including United States, Italy, Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Israel, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, the Hmong, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association publishes two journals: Star*Line and Eye to the Telescope. It oversees three major literary awards for poetry: The Rhyslings, the Dwarf Stars, and the Elgin Awards. It also conducts an annual science fiction poetry contest and other special events and gatherings. Further, they also provide resources for emerging and established poets seeking professional publication and networking opportunities.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FAWK Clapback At Microaggression Workshops a success


Congratulations to the Funny Asian Women Kollective who successfully convened their August workshop, The Clapback. A two-day workshop (2 hours per day) it introduced SEA/APIA refugee women to the idea of using comedy to combat or “clap back” at microaggressive behaviors.

FAWK and local artists have been facilitating participatory workshops on America’s complex history with race, social justice, empowerment, comedy, writing and performance. Participants can attend both days of the workshop or just one of the days.

Lead Artists for this project are Saymoukda Vongsay, May Lee-Yang, and Naomi Ko with Guest Artists. In this case, Heather Meyer was the guest artist, and she is a comedy writer, playwright and performer, creator of the yearly sketch comedy game show Women’s History Month: The Historical Comedybration, has taught improv and satirical sketch comedy writing with the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre and Steppingstone Theatre for Youth. She’s studied improv and comedy writing at the Brave New Workshop and The Second City: Chicago.

This workshop is made possible with generous support from Solidarity MN and their partners Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center and Pathway Learning Center.

I passed by to also show Saymoukda this year's proclamation for Lao American Artists Heritage Month:


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cthulhu Wars: Onslaught 3 Kickstarter wrapping up soon


In case you haven't been following along, Petersen Games' Cthulhu Wars: Onslaught 3 kickstarter is winding down this weekend for what is likely to be one of the last expansions for a while as they prepare their next games.

As a De Vermis Mysteris backer from the original kickstarter back in 2013, it's been a delight and occasional pain to watch as Sandy Petersen brought his vision forward. He was one of the original creators of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, which was a deep influence on me as a teenager and how I understood the work of H.P. Lovecraft and other writers of Weird literature. The end result with Cthulhu Wars more than justified the wait, and with his expansion, Onslaught 2, he proved they learned from the first kickstarter. I have no doubt that Onslaught 3 will be delivered even more efficiently now that we all understand the shipping and production process. I've often remarked that Cthulhu Wars is the boardgame I feel like I've waited my lifetime for, or at least some 30 years.


Thankfully, Petersen Games has been very committed to giving us a lot of bang for our bucks, from additional and variant miniatures, alternate rules, upgraded game materials and the like. The miniatures themselves are also very dynamic and transferable to other games if you so chose. If you're a gamer who lives the worlds of the Cthulhu Mythos and role-playing, I think it's very easy to make back your investment in terms of overall enjoyment and excitement.


Onslaught 3 has a somewhat different visual look for some of the pieces and people will either love or hate the takes on a few models. But in a nutshell we'll be adding a new faction, The Ancients with a bit of a steampunk vibe and their allies the Yothans. You'll also have a new map depicting the doomed world of Shaggai.



The Masks of Nyarlathotep expansion bring some great models of classic aspects of this fearsome entity including the Haunter of the Dark, the Shadow Pharaoh, the Bloated Woman, and the Dark Demon. Beyond Space and Time brings you a Hound of Tindalos, Wamps and the Vooniths, who will all be fun to add to many games. We also have an unexpected sculpt of Nodens, the Lord of the Abyss. All of the factions will also be getting new unique acolyte sculpts (although the classic acolytes still deserve a lot of love, in my opinion) and there are new sculpts of Azathoth and Cthulhu that will be available. Your mileage will vary on the new mid-Apocalypse investigators that are being added in to the game, but they will also give you a good preview of an upcoming project Petersen Games is working on.


As of this writing, there's a little over a day left for the kickstarter, but only a handful of stretch goals left to unlock. This kickstarter definitely has my strongest recommendation at this point. While I was initially debating if I needed this set, it quickly became clear this will be a must-have for Cthulhu Wars enthusiasts and fans of horror and fantasy games. One of the strengths of this game is that it can be played in a beer and pretzels style, but you can also make it very complex without going into Axis and Allies or Diplomacy territory. Check it out.

Kou Vang's Portraits of Hmong Women now available

In my work with helping the Hmong Paj Ntaub Voice Literary Journal and the Hmong American Institute for Learning in the 2000s I had the privilege to see many of the first pieces of Kou Vang's work to document refugee women rebuilding their lives in the US in the aftermath of the Secret War for Laos.

Considering that the Hmong did not have a written language until the 1950s and a creative literary and visual arts tradition was not really possible until the late 1980s, I'm delighted to see her work finally becoming available for the community and wish her much continued success. Check her work out when you can, available now as Portraits of Hmong Women, currently available as a 113-page e-book on Kindle, but a print edition is forthcoming.


Friday, August 11, 2017

National Lao-American Artist Heritage Month 2017!


A big thanks to all of you who've helped us to make this possible over the years! This month we celebrate many wonderful Lao-American artist anniversaries, gatherings, birthdays and other celebratory occasions. What are some of the ways you'll be celebrating in your community?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Recipes for Change with Catzie Vilayphonh: September 21st


Mark your calendars to join multimedia artist Catzie Vilayphonh for a special evening of food and storytelling. This program, presented in partnership with the Office of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and The Philadelphia Commission for Women, is part of Welcoming Week.

Welcoming Week is an annual series of events where communities bring together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone.

The event will be held at the Free Library of Philadelphia Culinary Literacy Center at 1901 Vine St, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Participants will sample mieng, a Lao lettuce wrap made from savory sticky rice, and hear the story of a trickster who uses mieng to teach an important lesson. This program also includes opportunities for conversation about life in Philadelphia and the unique challenges and triumphs immigrants and refugees who identify as women face and how we can foster a better community as a city.

Catzie Vilayphonh is an award-winning writer and spoken word poet. Through her work, she provides an awareness not often heard, drawing from personal narrative. A child of Laotian refugees, Catzie was born in camp, on the way to America, and thus considers herself part of the ".5 Generation".

Tickets are $5 per person and preregistration is required via Eventbrite. Limited free admission for participants who are SNAP eligible. Please call 215-686-5323 or email kitchen@freelibrary.org to inquire about registering free of charge.

Legacies of War: Mental Health in Laos


Legacies of War recently shared a letter from Dr. Manivone Thikeo on her perspective regarding the state of mental health in Laos. She is one of only two psychologists working in Laos today, and it's definitely worth reading about her experiences to understand the roots and continued need for expanded services and opportunities for treatment in Laos, especially among victims of UXO.

Hmong American horror comes to Minnesota: August 11th

Coming August 11th to the Twin Cities: Bedeviled, a Hmong American horror film by Burlee Vang and Abel Vang.

The brothers hold the distinction of being the first Hmong Americans to ever receive a Nichols Fellows from the Academy of Arts and Sciences (those Oscar folks). This ought to be a very interesting screening! The Pioneer Press has a nice article about their journey. The movie will run until August 17th.

Clear your schedules and see you there, folks!


Politico Magazine: When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election


Politico Magazine has a fascinating article confirming a long-held suspicion about Nixon and Southeast Asia. Based on new notes examined by historians, it concludes that then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon interfered with Vietnamese peace talks President Johnson was arranging to bring an end to the war. It's worth a read, and considering some of the bigger issues in question in connection to today's contemporary politics. What we accept, and what we will not. I think it really increases the importance for Southeast Asian Americans to re-examine our collective and shared history, going forward.

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay Poetry and Soul Lao coming August 25


Lao American poet Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is partnering with COOK ST PAUL and SOUL LAO for a night of story sharing and specialty dishes inspired by Payne Avenue. Join us on August 25th 5pm-9pm at COOK ST PAUL! This event is part of the East Side Arts Council's Payne Avenue Poet project.

Also be sure to check out her broadside release party on September 1st for the St. Paul Almanac's Impressions project, where her poem will appear with illustrations by Koua Yang at Twin Cities light rail stations:


Lao elephants in the news

CNN recently highlighted the MandaLao elephant preserve in Luang Prabang, which couldn't come at a more timely moment considering the contrasting reports that elephants in Laos are being sold for as little as $2,500 to foreign interests at an alarming rate. Once known as the Kingdom of a Million Elephants, we may very well see the last elephants of Laos disappear in our lifetime.


Lao tank crew to compete in International Army Games


The Laotian Times is reporting that a Lao tank crew will be among the competitors in the International Army Games this year that's being hosted by China and Russia. They'll be driving a T-72B3 Battle Tank. Their first match will be against Uganda, Angola, and Tajikistan. Semi-final races will take place from 8-10 August, with the four finalists to compete on the closing day, August 12.

It looks like the event will be quite a spectacle. Alas, no word yet on the names of the particular crewmen who will be competing this year for Laos.

Using a three-man crew, the T-72B3 is a Russian tank, updating the classic T-72 with a "new engine, new gunners sight, new fire control system and have some other improvements," according to Military Today. It can reach a top speed of 70km/hour or 43 mph. For comparison's sake, the US M1 Abrams can reach speeds of approximately 72km/hour or 45mph. Some tanks have been able to reach close to 60 or 70 mph, for short periods of time under the right conditions.

Growing Up Khmer American at Intermedia Arts, 8/9

If you're up for a late-night show at the Minnesota Fringe this year, be sure to check out Peuo Tatyana Tuy's "Growing Up Khmer American" at Intermedia Arts on 2822 Lyndale Avenue S. in Minneapolis.

Peuo will share stories, particularly about growing up in Lowell, MA - killing chickens in the house, going to the ocean to get shellfish (for free), growing up hip-hop and loving rhythm and blues music (also sharing her first break beat/rap poem), her parent's surviving the genocide, and fighting the injustice system. www.PeuoTuy.com


Peuo Tuy is a spoken word poet, writer, motivational speaker, and workshop leader. Her poetry collection, Khmer Girl, is inspired by the traumas of her life, including escaping the killing fields of her native Cambodia and enduring the inequities of life as an immigrant in the United States.

 Peuo’s spoken word performances have been featured in video projects, including “Futurographies: Cambodia-USA-France,” a multi-media exhibition traveling to Cambodia and France in 2016. She was one of the original members of Urbintel's HerStory cast, whose performances were filmed and performed live at East Coast venues from Massachusetts to North Carolina.

She has appeared at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club, Harlem Book Fair, and the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as various junior high schools and high schools.

For people of all ages, she conducts writing and self-empowerment workshops that focus on peace, compassion, and overcoming adversity in difficult times.

Peuo also has worked as a community organizer for CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities/Mekong NYC in New York and for the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL) in California, where she helped Southeast Asians and other immigrants gain equal rights in the public welfare system. She is one of the founding members of the new Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA).

She'll also be performing at Poets and Pints at Sisyphus Brewing, 712 W Ontario Ave, # 100 in Minneapolis on August 16th between 7:00PM-10PM.