Bao Phi

Bao Phi has been a performance poet since 1991. A two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist, Bao Phi has appeared on HBO Presents Russell Simmons Def Poetry, and a poem of his appeared in the 2006 Best American Poetry anthology. Read more about Bao Phi.

Posts about Disasters

Celebrating Courage

Posted by: Bao Phi Updated: March 17, 2011 - 12:50 PM




There is a lot to read, and worry about, in local and world news.

Today I want to celebrate courage.  Real courage.  The story of the Fukushima 50 humbles me.  Here is one link to their story.  I wish them the best.  I wish them luck.  I cannot imagine what it is like to be in their situation.


I also want to give props to Rep. Mike Honda, who recently made a bold stand and statement against the hearings against Islam led by Peter King, drawing parallels to what happened during to Japanese Americans during World War 2.  It would have been easier to just "go with the flow" or stay silent, especially as a politician.  It is brave to make a stand, especially one that can make you unpopular with the status quo.  Thank you for inspiring us, Mr. Honda.


(Thanks also to Angry Asian Man for posting this, keep up the great work brother!)


Last but certainly not least, a student by the name of Alexandra Wallace recently put up a Youtube of herself delivering a racist, ignorant screed against Asians and Asian Americans.  Sadly, some of the responses, though perhaps justified in their anger, can be seen as counter-productive, sexist, and ignorant.  However, my buddy and all-around awesome performance artist Beau Sia responded with his own video, a persona poem that digs deeper into the root problems.  Bravo Beau!




World Happenings

Posted by: Bao Phi Updated: June 7, 2010 - 10:22 PM

Hello readers, thanks for checking in.  Currently I am struggling with three different writing deadlines, so this will be a quick post.  Mostly it's links to current U.S. and world issues that I am reading about, and thinking about.

First, thanks to everyone who forwarded me this essay on Vietnamese people who work in the fishing industry in the gulf:

With all the hubbub about the oil spill, I am glad to read news about Viet folks in the area.  Back when Katrina hit, I was able to do a small amount of volunteer work in New Orleans, teaching a poetry workshop to Viet youth affected by Katrina.  Of  course my tiny bit of volunteering doesn't entitle me to speak like some expert on race and class - and it was a tragedy that changed the lives of people from many different races, classes, and communities.  What I will say is that, as a Vietnamese person, I was curious about if and how the Vietnamese communities affected by Katrina were reported on by the media.  

Now, with this oil spill, of course it affects many different communities as well as, obviously, the environment - of which we all need to pay a great deal of attention to.  All the same, thanks to those of you who sent me the above link reminding me of our people in the Gulf and their unheard story.

Of course there is the tragedy of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, written about eloquently on Racialicious by LaToya Peterson:


And last but certainly not least, one of my favorite poems of all time: a collaboration between two local poets and activists, Juliana Hu Pegues and Tatiana Ormaza.  In the current climate of immigrant bashing and the high profile of all the racism coming from Arizona, it's refreshing to see this fearless and unapologetic poem that celebrates coalition across communities:




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