words. ideas. now.
Phuong Thao Vuong is a writer, artist, and educator. She is interested in speaking to and calling out all the silences in the Vietnamese/ American and Asian/ American experiences. She longs to celebrate and cultivate power as much as shed light on dark secrets. If tradition teaches us to never overturn graves, Phuong believes artists can dig into darkness and find much-needed truths. This includes but is not limited to writing about love, sex, war, trauma, race, and other topics her parents wish she would not speak about. As a 1.5 generation immigrant, she writes diaspora– experiences in Asia as well as at home in Oakland, California and the U.S. By sharing truths and lies, she hopes to humanize her communities and interrogate oppressive systems. Phuong dreams of provoking people through emotion in order to move them to self-reflection and to creating personal and social change. Being grounded, taking risks, and claiming space are practices she values in her art. Phuong is currently an MFA student at the University of Colorado Boulder.
When asked why she wrote the kinds of books she wrote, Toni Morrison answered that they are the kinds of books she wants to read. Alice Walker took her answer one step further to say, “I write all the things I should have been able to read.” And like Walker, like Morrison, I write what I want to read. I write what I should be able to read. I write because I cannot discern between language, consciousness, and being. I write because understanding my world and myself is the first step to change. I write to be reminded of the relationship between voice, (re)presentation and power. My words are rehearsal for a new me.
Flo: Flo is flow. Flow is hip-hop. Flow is the ability to manipulate language creatively and fluently. Flo is an Asian-American who offers pseudonyms to shield from the Western butchering of her Eastern name.
Funk: Funk can be interpreted from multiple angles: emotion, style, music, the senses. Funk refers to “patterns of Afro-American ways of life and struggle” (Cornel West). West’s idea of Afro-American life speaks to the courage to struggle in the face of hate; the courage to face the truth; the courage to both laugh and cry. As an Asian American, I am shaped by Black/America. I work in solidarity with Blacks and other people of color. I strive to reach my personal truth, so I can better imagine our collective reality.
Serious inquiries can contact writerphuongvuong (at) gmail (dot) com.