Bao Phi

“For those of us who are marginalized people, creative writing, storytelling, prose, poetry — these are our history books, because we’re left out of history.” – Bao Phi, MPR News, 2017

Bao Phi’s Essay “Brutal” is included in A Good Time for the Truth.

This children’s book was written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui.

“The many fans of Bao Phi will be thrilled by this book. New readers will be seduced by his trademark blend of passion, politics, and poetry. His poems alternate between the profane and the provocative as they deal with war and history, love and heartbreak, the inner city and the inner self. A powerful read, a gutsy writer.” – Viet Thanh Nguyen

Watch Bao Phi read his poem “The Nguyens” on TPT.

Research Questions

Growing up, Bao Phi did not see himself or his experience reflected in literature. His response has been to create work for young people in multiple genres (fiction, auto-biography, essay, poetry, etc.) to address this lack. In this interview he refers to Thousand Star Hotel as a guidebook for young Asian-Americans. Reflect on Phi’s use/choice of genres to effectively communicate various themes and messages to young people in multiple age groups.

In “Migrations, Diasporas, and Borders,” Susan Stanford Friedman writes about transculturation, a concept that refers to intercultural interactions that recognize reciprocal influences across cultures and borders. “Immigrant and diasporic cultures not only change in relation to their new locations, but the cultures in which they settle also transform as a result of the presence of the outsiders in their midst” (276). How does Bao Phi’s work in multiple genres reflect this concept? How has he as an author transformed the literary landscape in MN?