“I am a poet who belongs to a generation of Hmong American writers challenging ourselves to write from this place of absence,” writes 2016 Walt Whitman winner Mai Der Vang in her essay “Poetry as Homeland: Reflections on Hmong American Exile and a Literary Future,” part of the first installment of a new series on Poets.org featuring the work of Hmong American poets.

As part of the four-part series, Writing from the Absence: Voices of Hmong American Poets, Vang will feature a poem by and discussion with a Hmong American poet as a way to showcase their work and explore the themes that drive them to write.

Once a month through National Poetry Month, we will unveil the next part of the series. We begin this month with Vang’s essay, followed by a poem by and Q&A with Burlee Vang, founder of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle.

read the first part of the series

read more about mai der vang

read more about burlee vang

read more about the walt whitman award