Vietnamese American performance poet Bao Phi to deliver convocation

April 30, 2019

Bao Phi, a Vietnamese American poet and spoken word artist, will deliver Carleton College’s weekly convocation address on Friday, May 3, from 10:50-11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. In his presentation, “Thousand Star Hotel: A Vietnamese Exploration of Race, Class, and Colonization Through Poetry,” he discusses the complexities of race and his experience growing up as a Vietnamese American in Minnesota.

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Phi grew up in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis. A performance poet since 1991, his work centers around race, colonization and the Vietnamese American experience. He is a two-time winner of the Minnesota Grand Poetry Slam, a former finalist of the National Poetry Slam, and his poem, “Race,” was featured in The Best American Poetry 2006 Anthology. In 2005, he released a CD of spoken word poetry titled Refugeography, and he has published two collections of poems: 2011’s Sông I Sing and 2017’s Thousand Star Hotel.

In 2017, Phi published A Different Pond, a children’s book which went on to receive a prestigious Caldecott Medal honor. Phi was also featured in the documentary feature film, “The Listening Project,” as an American listener who traveled the world to explore the role of the United States in ordinary peoples’ lives around the world.

Phi is currently the program director at The Loft Literary Center, a non-profit literary organization in Minneapolis. He manages several programs, including Equilibrium, which invites nationally recognized artists of color to perform with local artists of color. He has taught workshops and given performances at the Community Development Center in San Francisco and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop national poetry festival in New York.

Phi received his B.A. from Macalester College.

This event is sponsored by Carleton College Convocations. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at First and College Streets in Northfield.