Mai Der Vang

Cindy Seip

Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland: Poems, which won the Walt Whitman Award and was longlisted for the National Book Award. Integrating archival research and declassified documents, Der Vang offers in Yellow Rain: Poems (Graywolf Press) an astonishing work blending documentary, poetry, and collage. In it, she calls out the erasure of history while opening a view into wrongdoing that deserves a new reckoning. As the United States abandoned them at the end of the Vietnam War, many Hmong refugees recounted stories of a “yellow rain” that caused severe illnesses and thousands of deaths. The truth of what happened to the Hmong has been ignored and discredited. In poems that sing and lament, that contend and question, Vang tells their story. Booklist, in a starred review, noted that “[Mai Der Vang] transform[s] the impersonal and politically and ethically deceitful into a vivid reclamation of the brutal truth.”