FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Mai Der Vang's "Afterland" came as a result of winning a Walt Whitman Award last year. She's had poems published in a literary anthology but this is her first book.
"The Afterland of the refugee, where does that refugee end up-- and then I also talk about the Afterland of that country that just gone through that war."
It is a collection of very personal poems.
Vang said, "I hope that it opens up a new opportunity for education on how the Hmong people came to be here."
Vang studied English at UC Berkeley and earned a masters in fine arts from Columbia. But research about the Hmong-American experience always came up empty.
"I never left the library without checking out a book and I always looked for Hmong names but I never found any," said Vang.
Vang is part of a small circle of Hmong-American poets paving a new path.
"It feels incredible to see the book in its final form-- to see my name on it."
The Hmong culture has a form of "sung" poetry. Vang's voice is a modern variation and it helps connect her community.
Vang's book launch for "Afterland" will be held Thursday evening at seven at Bitwise South Stadium in Downtown Fresno.
Fresno poet launching book after winning a prestigious award
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