Soul Vang

Soul Vang (Poetry) | Fresno, CA

Booking Fee:

Travel, a bed, a meal, a good conversation, and a little left over for presents for the kiddos.

Will Travel:




Soul Vang is the author of To Live Here, winner of the 2014 Imaginary Friend Press Poetry Prize, and coeditor of How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011). Soul is a poet, teacher, and U.S. Army veteran. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno, and he is a member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle (HAWC). Soul’s writing has appeared in Abernathy Magazine, Asian American Literary Review, Fiction Attic Press, In the Grove, The Packinghouse Review, Southeast Asia Globe, and The New York Times, among others. Find more information about Soul and his work at


To Live Here (Imaginary Friend Press, 2014). Poetry.

Press & Reviews

In To Live Here, Soul Vang has given us a meditation on identity and place, history’s conversation within our daily lives, from the Dragon River to the San Joaquin Valley in California, from childhood to fatherhood, from the war in the mountains of youth to service in uniform during the Cold War in Germany. Soul Vang has given us a deeply human book, one that teaches me more about the place I call home, too. In turn, Vang’s poems teach us more about the world we live in, the places we call home.
—Brian Turner, author of My Life as a Foreign Country and Here, Bullet

To Live Here is a compilation of emotions and stories gathered by a man in love with poetry. Every poem is an expression of his sensitivity to the form; every story is a testament to the strength of memory in remembering feelings and faces in a life full of departure. This is one more addition to the document of the Hmong American experience. Soul Vang has captured the essence of his truth on this road to being Hmong in the world.
—Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Late Homecomer & The Song Poet

To Live Here is a triumph: a pure and graceful portrait of the poet from Sky Mountain and the Dragon River, as a young man in the United States Army, and as a parent and poet in Fresno. Part emotional cartography and pure mastery of the craft, this vital glimpse into the Hmong American experience is a heart, a history, and a gift of hard-earned wisdom. Each poem is an artifact, a piece of art, and an important addition to American literature. This is poetry built to last. You will not forget it.
—Lee Herrick, Fresno Poet Laureate, Author of This Many Miles from Desire & Gardening Secrets of the Dead

Through verses with stunning emotional impact, Soul Vang relates a unique tale of heartbreak, courage, and growth. This is the authentic story of a transplanted culture, told in language of breathtaking beauty and depth.
—Margarita Engle, Author of Enchanted Air & Silver People (Newbery Honor winner)

Soul Vang’s voice is a mountain as vast, complex and resilient as the homeland his poems are in perpetual search of. In this startling debut collection, the poet—a once Hmong refugee and U.S. soldier—navigates cultures, languages, geography, and even dreamscapes, with gut-wrenching honesty that is fearless in its probing, and compassionate in its delivery. This is a universal poetry at the height of its powers, a testimony of one man’s will and ability to love in the face of his own dispossession.
—Tim Z. Hernandez, Author of Manana Means Heaven & Natural Takeover of Small Things (American Book Award winner)

This is a stunning and expansive book of poems. Vang takes us from Laos to Thailand to California, through the violence of war and its aftermath, through gardens and fields and intimate family moments. The poems are spoken with calm and wisdom, and they are filled with love and the nurturing of trees and other growing things, but it is war and loss and displacement that form the difficult heart of the book, making it a profoundly American story. These poems are sung by one who has the will to tell others—unflinchingly and with grace and amazing skill—exactly what he has seen.
—Corrinne Clegg Hales, Author of Separate Escapes

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