Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith
Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith earned his MFA in creative writing from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1999. His book of poetry, The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives, won the 2016 Indie Book Award for poetry and his novel, The Land South of the Clouds, earned second place for multi-cultural fiction for the same award in 2017. He has been teaching creative writing at Louisiana Tech University since 1999.
10:15 am to 11:15 am
State Library, Fifth Floor, Capitol View Room
The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets
with Gina Ferrara, Rodney Jones, Christine Kwon, Justin Lacour, Martha McFerren, Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith, and Louisiana Poet Laureate Alison Pelegrin
11:30 pm to 12:15 pm
Cavalier House Books Tent
The Land Baron's Sun: The Story of Ly Loc and His Seven Wives
The Land Baron's Sun chronicles through poetry the life of Lý Loc, the son of an affluent Vietnamese landowner who was thought to own the sun by his children, wives, servants, and tenant farmers because it had always shone favorably upon him. Lý Loc lived just as prosperous a life, one in which he rose to the rank of major commander for the South Vietnamese Army and was attended to by seven wives who bore him twenty-seven children. On April 20, 1975, the day Saigon fell, fate took a cruel turn for Lý Loc, as the sun, a symbol of the divine love, refused to shine. His capture by the Viet Cong and incarceration in a reeducation camp marked only the beginning of the sun recouping all that it had bestowed upon Lý Loc and his family. Smith's poems delve into Lý Loc's childhood and adult life, his years spent in the reeducation camp, and his wives and children's fate both in Vietnam and, for those who were fortunate enough to escape, in America. The poems expose the beauty and freedom of the human spirit and the lushness that was once Vietnam; likewise, they show the undeniable oppression of a country divided on itself and the struggle its people went through to survive.
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