8 O’Clock Buzz host Jonathan Zarov interviews award-winning Lao American writer Bryan Thao Worra, one of the featured guests of this year’s Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Spring Conference.
Currently living in California, his work appears in over 100 international magazines, books and newspapers, including Innsmouth Free Press, the Journal of the Asian American Renaissance, Tales of the Unanticipated, and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. His 2013 book DEMONSTRA received the “Book of the Year Award” from the Science Fiction Poetry Association. He set a historic precedent in 2009 as the first Laotian American to receive an NEA Fellowship In Literature. In 2012 he was a Cultural Olympian during the Summer Olympics in London representing Laos
He holds over 20 awards for his writing and community service. A key focus of his work has been addressing the literary and cultural reconstruction of the Lao and Southeast Asian refugee communities, whose collective journeys began 40 years ago. One particularly unique aspect of his work is cultivating participation of refugees in science fiction, because he believes it is important for refugee communities to be able to write of a future they see themselves in.
He was last in Madison in 2015 for a reading discussing the effects of Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance left over in Southeast Asia after the end of the Vietnam War.
Today he’ll be sharing one of his more well-known poems, “On A Stairway in Luang Prabang” which was featured at the London Summer Games in 2012.
The 2016 Spring Conference of the Wisconsion Fellowship of Poets is being held :
The theme of this year’s conference is “Crossing Borders: Hearing other Voices in Poetry.” The event typically gathers between eighty to a hundered of the state’s most passionate poets gather to engage in workshops, readings, open mics, book fairs and a banquet/awards ceremony.
The WFOP held its first meeting on April 23, 1950. The organization is devoted to promoting a fuller recognition and appreciation of poetry around the state through seminars, a quarterly Museletter, two annual conferences, poetry contests and awards, and other regional and statewide events. WFOP publishes the annual Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, is represented on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, and sponsors educational activities throughout Wisconsin.