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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 St. Paul. Yang writes first in the voice of her father; the second part reveals her own perspective, that of a woman learning to find words in both the language of her Hmong heritage and of her adopted country. These two points of view balance each other and the result captures the raw emotions of grief, joy, fear, and love.

Read review here.

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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:

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