The Star Tribune recently launched their inaugural “Best of Minnesota” issue, and they picked this dork as the best Spoken Word artist: really? Just kidding. I’m really honored – big ups to Guante and everyone else in this strong MN spoken word community. Also, this is a bit late because the show is done, but Sheila Regan did a great piece on me and Ed recently for City Pages here.
There is a certain catalyzing style that comes of utter fearlessness, and the poet Bao Phi has cornered it with his debut poetry collection, Sông I Sing. Jane Y. Kim, Hyphen magazine Read the full review here.
In this strong and angry work of what he calls refugeography, Bao Phi, who has been a performance poet since 1991, wrestles with immigration, class and race in America at sidewalk level… on this song of his very American self, every poem Mr. Phi writes rhymes with the truth. read the full New York Times review here. Dana Jennings, the New York Times
Bao Phi’s words are undeniably politically brave and brutally honest—a rarity of a voice much needed. Ly Vũ Hoàng, Pacific Reader Journal Review
George Uba reads the tribalism, in discursive Asian American poetry, as an ethnographic signifier of resistance to an oppressive and dominant culture, as anti-assimilationist, as privileging the oral over the written, and as more embracing of the polemic than the poetic—all descriptors that resonate through Bao Phi’s poetry… Professor Greg Choy, Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley Read the full review here.
Bao Phi’s long-awaited debut collection Sông I Sing brings poetry back to the people like nothing else I’ve seen in Vietnamese American culture. Julie Thi Underhill Read the full review by Julie Thi Underhill here.
The result is an incredibly emotional journey through the issues that Bao explores—but it’s emotion that’s grounded in quality writing and thoughtful political analysis, not just raw melodrama. [ Guante, Hip Hop artist — via Guante.info ] Bao’s debut collection, “Sông I Sing,” hit me in a different way. The poems here, at least to me, read like spoken-word pieces, and Bao’s understanding of structure and emotional arcs mirrors some
Jagged yet tender, Bao Phi’s poetry mixes rough-edged critiques of racism and imperialism with resolute optimism in the power of love and community. Deeply grounded in Asian American Studies, it eloquently calls for the forging of new ties and lives out of the ruins of America’s ‘war zones’—both here in urban America and in Southeast Asia. — Yen Le Espiritu
Anyone who has been lucky enough to experience his work knows he means to re-adjust our minds, unseat our comfortable assumptions, and teach our hearts to weep and sing. He is our grief-stricken brother howling, moaning, and wailing in remembrance of those who suffer because of inadequate representation. He is our ecstatic shaman, manifesting through his work the oldest sources of passion, imagination, and cosmic joy. Sông I Sing is
If you listen closely, every poem on Bao’s CD is a love poem: rough-edged, raw, and scalding, or quiet enough to break your heart. Much will be said about his fearless politics and his power, but his words are also threaded with humor, humanity, and beauty – my brother is on a mission to keep us all knit tight, and to remind us how we are quilted together in this