Thousand Star Hotel confronts the silence around racism, police brutality, and the invisibility of the Asian American urban poor.
From "with thanks to Sahra Nguyen for the refugee style slogan":
They give the kids candy to bet.
My daughter loses the first four rounds,
she's a quiet wire as they take her candy away, piece by piece.
When she finally wins, I ask if she wants to play again.
No! she shouts, grabbing her candy, I want to go home!
True refugee style:
take everything you got and run with it.
Read the Publishers Weekly review:
Phi (Sông I Sing), National Poetry Slam finalist and multiple Minnesota Grand Slam poetry winner, deconstructs the nature of Americanness from his perspective as a first-generation Vietnamese-American. It’s a timely collection full of stunning images and language. Exploring what it means to be American, who gets to be American, and why, Phi acknowledges the painful family history that has shaped him. In “Cookies,” a familial memory of war functions as an example of generational trauma: “I want to say I am made of war and that means so are you. I want to say I was born inside a halo of gunpowder.” In “Kids,” Phi shows that the demonization of the other is taught at an early age, realizing that his “daughter is not yet five when she learns to be scared of racists.” Phi’s poems illuminate how white privilege encourages complicity in white supremacy and how white supremacy dehumanizes and demonizes its victims: “you infesting this place.” With equal parts quiet reflection and hip-hop prowess, Phi’s collection showcases the melding of the deeply personal and the fiercely political.
Bao Phi is a multiple-time Minnesota Grand Slam poetry champ and National Poetry Slam finalist who has been on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and whose work was included in the Best American Poetry anthology of 2006. He is the author of Sông I Sing and is currently the program director of the Loft Literary Center.
More information about Bao Phi's Kickstarter campaign for this book tour here.