Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. Hybrid Genre. Art. Music. Asian & Asian American Studies. The daughter of writers, Dao Strom fled Vietnam with her mother at the end of the war. It was not until years later that she learned her father was still alive and had spent a decade in Communist "reeducation camps" as persecution for his work as a writer in the pre-1975 era of Saigon. This rift—caught between the forward-looking mother who severed ties with the past, and the only tenuous presence of a father who could not turn away from the past—is the ethos behind this unique memoir, which renders itself also as an experiment in literary multimedia, combining text, image, and song. Strom juxtaposes documentary images next to family memorabilia to ruminate on the intersection of personal and collective histories, and offers up a re-imaging of cultural and folk myths along the way. Her autobiographical essays are candid at the same time they are enigmatic, playing with white space and the shapes the text makes on the page. WE WERE MEANT TO BE A GENTLE PEOPLE is accompanied by a music album (available digitally), East/West, that explores two "geographies." The result is a multidimensional work that draws disparate "voices" together into one confluent, challenging whole.
author siteThomas McMullan @ Minor Literature[s]East/West digital albumAbby Paige @ Los Angeles Review of Books
Dao Strom is a writer, musician, and artist based in the diaspora. She is the author of YOU WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE (2018) as well as a hybrid-forms memoir, WE WERE MEANT TO BE A GENTLE PEOPLE, and a music album, East/West (2015); and two books of fiction, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (2006) and Grass Roof, Tin Roof (2003). Her work has received support from the Creative Capital Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), Oregon Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and others. She is the editor of diaCRITICS, and a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. She was born in Saigon, Vietnam and grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California.Author City: PORTLAND, OR USA