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    Poetry Slam Champion to Perform Works of Vietnamese American Life at Pacific

    Mar 18, 2011

    Spoken word poet Bao Phi performingA spoken word poetry champion who explores Vietnamese American life while combating racism and stereotypes through his works will perform at University of the Pacific on Thursday, March 31.

    A Vietnam native who was raised in south Minneapolis, Minn., Bao Phi will perform a selection of his works from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Biological Sciences Center, room 101, on Pacific's Stockton campus. It is free and open to the public. A pre-event reception starts at 6:30 p.m.

    Phi's appearance is part of Pacific's Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration, which honors the heritage and cultures of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. In his works, Phi explores Asian stereotypes, racism, and the struggles that many Vietnamese American youth who come from refugee backgrounds face.

    In a recent interview with an online magazine, Phi spoke of his childhood as a Vietnamese refugee who came from a poor family and grew up in a rough neighborhood. His surroundings and experiences as a youth in search of an Asian-American voice and community shaped who he is today, he said.

    "As a community we really have a responsibility to learn about our history of struggle, and stand up for each other," Phi said. "I try to be brave..."

    Since 1991, Phi has performed at venues and colleges across the country, from the Nuyorican Poets Café to the University of California, Berkeley. The two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and National Poetry Slam finalist has also appeared on HBO's "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry" program.

    Over the years, his poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including "Screaming Monkeys" and "Spoken Word Revolution Redux." His poem "Race" was selected for the "The Best American Poetry 2006" anthology. He has also produced several CDs of his work, including "Refugeography" and "The Nguyens EP."

    In addition to being a poet, Phi works as a community organizer in Minnesota's Vietnamese American community and serves as associate program director at The Loft Literary Center, which touts itself as the nation's largest independent literary center.

    For more information contact Xiaojing Zhou at xzhou@pacific.edu.