Bao Phi brings people to poetry who might not be interested or otherwise find it accessible.
Though Phi?s poems are incredibly tender; they are colored with first-hand accounts of oppression, discrimination, and blatant, even violent, racism. These poems confront the privilege of white Americans, institutionalized racism, and the often unseen or unacknowledged violence toward minority groups, particularly Asian Americans.
Phi is a child of the late 70s and 80s, and an unapologetic nerd?Star Wars movies, sci fi, comics, old-school hip hop?and those enthusiasms provide moments of lightness in the manuscript.
How do you learn to be a father, you've been violently removed from your home and the context of your community? These poems are Phi's way of addressing that question.
Phi has an extraordinary following in the spoken word community, and his work at the Loft has made him a hero to many, especially young poets of color. A new book should be greeted with real enthusiasm from his substantial audience.