Bryan Thao Worra Is The Inaugural Lao Minnesotan Poet Laureate

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

And in other Lao news from a few weeks back:

St. Paul, Minn. (Oct. 24, 2018) — The Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota has announced that Bryan Thao Worra is the inaugural Lao Minnesotan Poet Laureate as the Lao community prepares for the 45th anniversary of their diaspora in the United States. This honorary literary designation recognized his 20 years of service to the Lao community in Minnesota as an artist, educator and community builder.

The Lao Assistance Center is the first and oldest non-profit organization established in Minnesota to assist the Lao refugee community reconstruction in the aftermath of the war for Laos that ended in 1975. Over the decades, among their numerous projects have been art and cultural programming, including their work bringing the Lao American Writers Summit and the Legacies of War: Refugee Nation Twin Cities exhibition to Minneapolis, as well as convening the Lao American Storytellers Festival and the Before We Remember We Dream exhibit. They’ve regularly convened the Lao New Year’s Festival and supported traditional music and dance education with several programs throughout the years. Thao Worra has collaborated with them regularly in various roles since 2008.

During his tenure as the Lao Minnesotan Poet Laureate, his duties will include giving public readings in urban and rural locations across Minnesota and the US, educating civic and state leaders about the value of Lao American poetry and creative expression, and undertaking a significant cultural project, with one of its goals being to bring Lao American poetry to those who might otherwise have little opportunity to be exposed.