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Anna Min

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Bao Phi

July 12
7 p.m.
$10; $5 members
Literary, Poetry, Spoken Word

“Brown people getting bombed—/how can you/even think/about/love?/But you do.” Such is the bittersweet tone of Thousand Star Hotel, Bao Phi’s second book of poetry. In candid and emotionally loaded language, Phi confronts the struggles of growing up as a Vietnamese refugee in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis: “Why does my dad/see the enemy hiding/everywhere.” Phi also grapples with the challenges of raising a daughter as a single co-parent in a far-from-woke culture: “and I want to put her in a time capsule forever –/even when her tantrums shake my teeth/from their sockets.” Racism, classism, and hate crimes in the United States run rampant on these pages, but so do tender love and cautious hope for the future: “May there never be another prison, not even the ones we make for ourselves.” The award-winning spoken-word artist and author of the critically acclaimed Sông I Sing reads Wednesday night at the Loft Literary Center, where he is the program director.