Lao poet’s book, ‘Before We Remember the Dream’ set for October release

Bryan Thao Worra by S. Houghton Phoutavong, for the cover of his 2018 book of poetry, “Before We Remember We Dream.”

MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 22, 2018) — Sahtu Press recently announced the forthcoming release of the new illustrated poetry collection entitled “Before We Remember We Dream” by award-winning poet Bryan Thao Worra. This new book explores memory and geography in the Lao diaspora, and will be released in October, 2018. The collection also features original art by Nor Sanavongsay.

There are over 232,000 Lao in the United States and many of them arrived as refugees in the 1980s with over 13,000 resettling in Minnesota. Covering a period of nearly 45 years, “Before We Remember We Dream” navigates the unique experience of the author that took him from the final years of the war in Laos to Montana, Alaska, and his formative years in Michigan and Washington D.C. and a meandering search for his long-lost family. Drawing on such diverse influences as the science fiction film Blade Runner to the ancient Lao epic of Sinxay, the history of Lao cinema, paleontology, the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, Playboy playmates, and a Hmong emu farm in Missoula, Thao Worra asks readers in this collection to assess what it means for refugees to rebuild, transform and tell their stories in their own words and on their own terms.

Sahtu Press focuses on books, publications and cultural information, particularly specializing in Lao American writers and artists. A non-profit press, it was established with a primary mission to publish and promote enduring contemporary Lao American literature and to create academic and grassroots learning opportunities. From children’s books to other literary domains, the press is dedicated to the publication of excellent work by Lao American writers, while promoting positivity and cultural harmony.

Nor Sanavongsay is an award-winning Lao American writer based in the San Francisco Bay area and he is the founder of Sahtu Press. He has been a member of several platforms, including the SatJaDham Lao Literary Project, the National Lao American Writers Summit and the Lao Artists Festival of Elgin. He is also the author of children’s books inspired by Lao folktales, such as Xieng Mieng: A Sticky Mess, and the contemporary Mommy Eats Fried Grasshoppers. Some of his handiwork can be seen from companies like Encyclopedia Britannica, Sears, Zoosk, and Barnes & Noble among others.” Before We Remember We Dream” is his first illustrated poetry book.

Bryan Thao Worra is a Lao American writer. Born in Vientiane, Laos in 1973, he holds over 20 awards for his writing and community leadership including an NEA Fellowship in Literature and was a Cultural Olympian representing Laos during the 2012 London Summer Games. He is the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, a 40-year old international literary organization celebrating the poetry of the imaginative and the fantastic.  He has presented at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Loft Literary Center, Intermedia Arts, Kearny Street Workshop, the Institute for Contemporary Art, among many others, and recently as a Visiting Artist with University of Merced Center for the Humanities. His work appears internationally in Australia, Canada, Scotland, Germany, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, and Pakistan.

The cover was painted by Lao American visual artist and educator  Sisavanh Phouthavong-Houghton, based in Tennessee with roots in Kansas and Vientiane, Laos. Born in 1976, she emigrated with her family in 1980, first to the Nong Khai refugee camp in Thailand, followed by an initial resettlement to Winfield, Kansas. She holds a B.F.A (Painting) from the University of Kansas and an M.F.A. (Painting/Drawing) from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Ill.  As an Associate Professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn., she is regularly teaching advanced level painting courses. She is represented by Tinney Contemporary gallery in Nashville.

Both author and illustrator will be available to talk at schools and book clubs throughout 2019. Also, there will be discount rates for the book available for non-profits, libraries and schools. They will also be available to sign books at these events. Book release events will be held across the country beginning in October. For more information on “Before We Remember We Dream,” please visit: www.sahtupress.com

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