Afterland

Afterland

Title:Afterland
ISBN:9781555977702
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:96 pages

The 2016 winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, selected by Carolyn Forché

When I make the crossing, you must not be taken no matter what
the current gives. When we reach the camp,

there will be thousands like us.
If I make it onto the plane, you must follow me to the roads
and waiting pastures of America.

We will not ride the water today on the shoulders of buffalo
as we used to many years ago, nor will we forage
for the sweetest mangoes.

I am refugee. You are too. Cry, but do not weep.

—from “Transmigration”

Afterland is a powerful, essential collection of poetry that recounts with devastating detail the Hmong exodus from Laos and the fate of thousands of refugees seeking asylum. Mai Der Vang is telling the story of her own family, and by doing so, she also provides an essential history of the Hmong culture’s ongoing resilience in exile. Many of these poems are written in the voices of those fleeing unbearable violence after U.S. forces recruited Hmong fighters in Laos in the Secret War against communism, only to abandon them after that war went awry. That history is little known or understood, but the three hundred thousand Hmong now living in the United States are living proof of its aftermath. With poems of extraordinary force and grace, Afterland holds an original place in American poetry and lands with a sense of humanity saved, of outrage, of a deep tradition broken by war and ocean but still intact, remembered, and lived.


    Afterland Reviews

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    Never have I read such a powerful work that humanizes the Hmong experience so personally. Mai Der Vang takes you by the hand and leads you to very emotional and disturbing places; yet she never leaves...

  • Ellie

    I'll say upfront that I have a complicated relationship with "poetry as witness" (not my expression but one that applies here). I learn so much from those poems as testimony, as information I need to ...

  • Robyn

    From Laos to Minnesota, Minnesota to the Central Valley of California, Mai Der Vang chronicles the Hmong refugee experience. From the 18th century to the war that led to their migration, to the varied...

  • James Huynh

    Incredibly breathtaking. Mai Der's landscape metaphors evoke deeply provoking thoughts regarding the Hmong peoples....

  • Elizabeth Willis

    Many thanks to Graywolf for the ARC.AFTERLAND is a storm; it is lightning illuminating the night “with the kind of light that can only/ Be found in the dark.” Mai Der Vang’s poems are a reaching...

  • Pamela Laskin

    Just finished reading the most evocative, powerful poetry collection ever, AFTERLAND by Mai Der Vang. She writes about the Hmong population-the lament of her people and the songs of loss and grief tha...

  • Ronnie Jackson

    Afterland is a powerful, essential collection of poetry that recounts with devastating detail the Hmong exodus from Laos and the fate of thousands of refugees seeking asylum. Mai Der Vang is telling t...

  • Jenna

    My review of this book appears on The Rumpus: http://therumpus.net/2017/07/afterlan......

  • Leah

    Perhaps I’m not in the right mindset to have read these poems. To be honest I knew nothing about the Hmong people before starting to read this book, and have since done a little bit of research and ...

  • Trina

    Breathless from the beauty of this collection....