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The Song Poet

Nonfiction: Autobiography/ Personal Memoir
Unabridged   8 hour(s)
Publication date: 05/10/2016

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

The Song Poet

A Memoir of My Father

Available from major retailers
Audio CD ISBN:9781681681627
Digital Download ISBN:9781681681634


From the author of The Latehomecomer, a powerful memoir of her father, a Hmong song poet who sacrificed his gift for his children's future in America.

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Product Description

In the Hmong tradition, the song poet recounts the story of his people, their history and tragedies, joys and losses; extemporizing or drawing on folk tales, he keeps the past alive, invokes the spirits and the homeland, and records courtships, births, weddings, and wishes.

Following her award-winning book The Latehomecomer, Kao Kalia Yang now retells the life of her father Bee Yang, the song poet, a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by American's Secret War. Bee lost his father as a young boy and keenly felt his orphanhood. He would wander from one neighbor to the next, collecting the things they said to each other, whispering the words to himself at night until, one day, a song was born. Bee sings the life of his people through the war-torn jungle and a Thai refugee camp. But the songs fall away in the cold, bitter world of a Minneapolis housing project and on the factory floor until, with the death of Bee's mother, the songs leave him for good. But before they do, Bee, with his poetry, has polished a life of poverty for his children, burnished their grim reality so that they might shine.


"Yang reads her own exquisite prose, crafting a deeply moving tribute to her father and the Hmong people, as well as to the struggles facing immigrant families." —Library Journal Starred Audio

"[A] moving performance . . . Yang's tender narration underscores the lyricism and love that mark this story. When her voice lowers and cracks, listeners will feel the same lump in their own throats." —AudioFile

Author Bio

Kao Kalia Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer, which was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award and the Asian American Literary Award, and received the 2009 Minnesota Book Award. Kao, who has taught at Columbia University and Concordia University–St. Paul, among other places, lives in Minnesota.