Blood Transparencies

About Blood Transparencies

Blood Transparencies: An Autobiography in Verse is a brutally honest narrative of coming-of-age in a unique American family. Told in a series of poetic vignettes, it details life with a father who believes John Muir’s words more essential than the Bible, often leading his “tribe” on harsh quests into America’s wildernesses. The tale is both humorous and heart breaking. Imagine Odysseus returned from WWII to teach his son the subtle art of bone breaking before sharing hot cocoa and opera. This is a family as at ease with nurturing abandoned wild animals as around a campfire rapt to ancestral stories of cannibalism. Throughout the book there is an occasional photographic relic, or Neolithic scrawl to memorialize the breadth of this human story. There are echoes here too, like the “transparencies” of the title, of mythology and tall tales, an oral tradition transcendent of the printed page. Blood Transparencies is a stunningly fresh glance back, far back, from whence we’ve all come.

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About How Do I Begin?

Hmong history and culture can be found in the form of oral stories, oral poetry, textile art, and music but there is no written account of Hmong life, by a Hmong hand, passed down through the centuries. As an undergraduate, Burlee Vang experienced this void when he received valuable advice from his English professor: “Write about your people. That story has not been told. If you don’t, who will?”

How Do I Begin? is the struggle to preserve on paper the Hmong American experience. In this anthology, readers will find elaborate soul-calling ceremonies, a woman questioning the seeming tyranny of her parents and future in-laws, the temptation of gangs and drugs, and the shame and embarrassment of being different in a culture that obsessively values homogeneity. Some pieces revisit the ghosts of war. Others lament the loss of a country. Many offer glimpses into intergenerational tensions exacerbated by the differences in Hmong and American culture.

Heyday’s How Do I Begin? signifies a turning point for the Hmong community, a group of people who have persevered through war, persecution, and exile. Transcending ethnic and geographic boundaries, it poignantly speaks of survival instead of defeat.

How Do I Begin?

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To Live Here

About To Live Here

Soul Vang’s To Live Here was the first full length, single author collection of Hmong American poetry. Vang’s poetry is lyrical, sentimental, and full of learning how to live in new cultures while still retaining his heritage. No matter who his brother is, Vang’s work is about finding family.

Originally published by Imaginary Friend Press, we at Hyacinth Girl Press are proud to be able to give To Live Here a home in our catalog. Vang’s poetry has touched us deeply, and we look forward to fans of Hyacinth Girl Press becoming acquainted with this important collection.

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