Susan Nguyen with Joyce Chen
Poet Susan Nguyen will make a welcome Seattle visit, after giving a stellar reading virtually last September, and at and with our friends at Little Saigon Creative. Her award-winning debut collection, Dear Diaspora (University of Nebraska Press), was the recipient of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize and is a powerful chronicle of reckoning with personal and collective pasts, ongoing trauma, being part of refugee diaspora.
“‘Last night I had the American dream,’ Nguyen writes, puncturing the dream bubble in which ‘America’ exists as the only and inevitable state of success and belonging. In this collection, diaspora, specifically Vietnamese diaspora, is verdant and lush—suffused with green light, mustard greens, grass and trees—blooming through the drought of American love for Nguyen’s speakers. The poems in Dear Diaspora offer us a lexicon we’ve needed to imagine how we might arrive at and receive one another better in land and language, in memory and touch.”—Natalie Diaz.
“Dear Diaspora is a capacious and wholly felt account of a speaker’s contending with place and memory. Susan Nguyen’s gorgeous book maps out the longing of a particular Vietnamese immigrant experience… [and] also captures, through its documentary research, a collection of voices of Vietnam War refugees in the aftermath. Against a backdrop of love and desire is the search to knit together a place of belonging and origin, rooted both in the sensual world and in the realm of the imagination. Dear Diaspora is a heartbreaking and breathtaking debut.”—Cathy Linh Che.
Joining Susan Nguyen in conversation is Joyce Chen, a writer, editor, and community builder who draws inspiration from many coastal cities. She has covered entertainment and human interest stories for Rolling Stone, Architectural Digest, Elle, Refinery29, the New York Daily News, and People, among others, and her creative writing credits include Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, Narratively, and Slant’d, among others. She has contributed op-eds to Paste magazine, and writes book reviews for Orion and Hyphen magazines. In 2022, she co-edited the anthology Uncertain Girls in Uncertain Times, a collection of poetry paired with essays and life lessons. She is a proud VONA alum and was a 2019-2020 Hugo House fellow. Joyce is the current Hugo House Writer-in-Residence (prose). She is also the executive director of The Seventh Wave, an arts and literary nonprofit that champions art in the space of social issues.
Co-presented by Little Saigon Creative and Elliott Bay Book Company. Due to limited capacity, this event requires registration.