The Song Poet: Best memoir of 2016 – Library Journal


Yang’s second stellar memoir (after the The Latehomecomer) takes readers back to the mountains of Laos, to her father’s birth and childhood, through the French occupation, and finally to the turbulent war that led to the family fleeing through the jungle to a refugee camp in Thailand and ultimately landing in the American city of […]

May 26, 2016: BBC’s The World


Think of kwv txhiaj as song poetry. Or better yet, think of it like a Hmong version of the blues. And in that vein, think of kwv txhiaj the way American writer Ralph Ellison thought of the blues: “an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.” Ellison’s quote starts off a new book about kwv txhiaj and one of its singers, a man named […]

June 3, 2016: MPR Interview with Tom Weber

When Kao Kalia Yang told her father she planned to write a book about him, he laughed. “‘No one wants to read a book about a man like me when you can read books about men like Barack Obama’,” Yang remembers him saying. But she persisted. “My stubborn heart wanted to prove him wrong.” Read […]

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Bee Yang

Hmong song poetry | kwv txhiaj hmoob

Thaum Hluas Txog Hnub Laus: When the Days of Youth are Gone (Bee Yang, 2014)

This is an album of Hmong song poetry, kwv txhiaj hmoob, composed and sung by Bee Yang, Kao Kalia Yang’s father. The album notes and English translation of one of the songs are by Kao Kalia Yang.

Kwv txhiaj is, in the words of Ralph Ellison on the American Blues, “an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-cosmic lyricism. As a form, the blues [and kwv txhiaj] is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.”

NOTE:  The duration of the songs do not reflect the actual song length.  Please consider ordering the CD for the full songs.  Thank you.

*This CD is available for purchase for $15.  Click below to order:


Bee Yang: Hmong Song Poetry