Born in Saigon, Vietnam, poet, writer, painter, photographer, and Argentine tango dancer/teacher, Mong-Lan left her native country on the last day of the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. After one month in Guam and gypsy-like periods ranging from weeks to years in numerous cities and states in the American Midwest and Southwest, she and her family settled in Houston, Texas. While still in high school, she received scholarships for three years to attend the Glassell School of Art in Houston. Subsequently, her paintings and photographs have been exhibited for one year at the Capitol House in Washington D.C., for six months at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, in galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area, in public exhibitions in Bali, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Seoul and Tokyo.
Mong-Lan took her Master of Fine Arts in poetry from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she received the Graduate School Fellowship and the Dean's Master of Fine Arts Fellowship. Mong-Lan was a guest writer in The Chateau de Lavigny International Writer's Residency in Switzerland, near Lausanne. The recipient of a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship in poetry for two years at Stanford University, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Vietnam shortly afterwards. She has taught English as a second language in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, and has taught writing, poetry and literature at the University of Arizona, Stanford University, and the University of Maryland University College. She has served as poetry and art editor for Sonora Review and Constellation, UMUC's literary magazine.
Mong-Lan's first book of poems, Song of the Cicadas, won the 2000 Juniper Prize and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2001. It also won the 2002 Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Awards for Poetry and was a finalist for the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award. Her other books of poetry include Why is the Edge Always Windy? (Tupelo Press, 2005), Tango, Tangoing: Poems & Art and Love Poem to Tofu and Other Poems (poetry & calligraphic art) . Her poems have been anthologized in Best American Poetry; The Pushcart Prize Anthology; The Pushcart Book of Poetry: Best Poems from 30 Years of the Pushcart Prize; Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond (Norton); Making More Waves: New Writing by Asian American Women (Beacon Press); Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose (Asian American Writer's Workshop); and Asian American Poetry —The Next Generation (U of Illinois Press); Force Majeure (Indonesia); Black Dog, Black Night: Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry (Milkweed Editions) ; Jungle Crows: a Tokyo Expatriate anthology; and her poems have appeared in leading American literary journals such as The Kenyon Review, North American Review, New American Writing, and The Antioch Review. Her poems have been translated into Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malayam, Serbian, Spanish, Tamil, and Vietnamese.
In conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, she was the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts' inaugural Visual Artist and Poet in Residence during the month of February 2005. An exhibition of her paintings and photographs, "The World of Mong-Lan," ran from January 30-August 28, 2005. She gave poetry readings, gallery talks and conducted workshops on art (drawing and painting) and writing / poetry at the Dallas Museum of Arts for the general public, at the Dallas Public Library, and creatively talented middle school and high school students in Dallas area arts magnet schools.
Mong-Lan has read/performed her poetry and presented her artworks at many universities and festivals/workshops in a number of countries to include the World Poetry Festival in Heidelberg, Germany; the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali, Indonesia (where she won First Place in their Grand Poetry Slam); the Utan Kayu Literary Biennale in Jakarta and Borobudur, Indonesia; Lavigny, Switzerland (Chateau de Lavigny International Writers Residency); in Tokyo at Waseda University, University of Tokyo and Temple University; at U.S. Embassy-sponsored presentations in Japan (in Fukuoka at Kyushu University, in Nagoya at Aichi Prefectural University, and Sophia University in Tokyo) and in Argentina, Buenos Aires, at the Instituto Cultural Argentino-Norteamericano (ICANA); in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; at U.S. Consulate-(Ho Chi Minh City) sponsored lectures in Vietnam at various Vietnamese universities in HCMC and in the Mekong Delta; and in the U.S. to include: Harvard University, Stanford University, San Francisco State University, Menlo College, Occidental College, University of Nevada, Northwest Bookfest, Virgina Festival of the Book, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Regis College, State University of New York--Purchase, at the twelve Great Lakes College's Association Colleges such as Kenyon College, DePauw University, Wabash College, and Hope College; the Asia Society in New York City, and the Poetry Society of America's Festival for New Poets, to name a few. Her artistic schedule provides information about her professional activities.
In addition to her writing, painting, and photography, she also is a dancer/teacher of Argentine tango. She has also studied ballet, ballroom, flamenco, jazz, belly dancing, and classical Spanish dance.
Mong-Lan travels frequently most often between Southeast Asia, United States and Argentina.
She is available to teach, present workshops, give lectures and readings. Please contact her.
Selected Readings /Performances
- Argentine Embassy Residence, Poetry Reading from Tango, Tangoing, Multi-media art presentation, Tango Dance performance, Bangkok, Thailand, November 2008.
- Thammasat University, Lecture on Translation, Bangkok, Thailand, November 2008.
- University of California at Riverside, Poetry Reading from Tango, Tangoing, Multi-media art presentation, November 2008.
- International Poetry Festival: Vietnamese Poets of the Diaspora, Poetry Reading and multi-media art presentation, San Francisco, CA, October 2008.
- Asian American Writer's Workshop, Poetry Reading from Tango, Tangoing, Multi-media art presentation, Tango Dance performance, New York City, October, 2008.
- PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, May 2008, New York City.
- Buenos Aires International Book Fair, American Embassy Stand, May 2008, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- Associated Writing Programs Conference, New York City, January 2008.
- Utan Kayu Literary Biennale, Jakarta and Borobudur, Java, Indonesia, 2007.
- Reading and Painting Exhibition, Tamarind Café, Bangkok, Thailand, 2007.
- Lectures on Asian-American literature in Vietnam, at various Ho Chi Minh City Universities and those in the Mekong Delta, sponsored by the U.S. Consulate in HCMC, 2007.
- Univ of Maryland, Seoul, South Korea, Reading and Art slide show presentation, 2007.
- Sophia University, co-sponsored with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Reading and lecture, Tokyo, Japan, 2007.
- John Hopkins University, Center for Talented Youth, Reading and Art slide show presentation, 2007.
- Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali. Poetry Reading and Slide Show Presentation of Artwork. Exhibition of Photographs. Sept.-Oct. 2006.
- University of Tokyo, Linguapax Conference, Tokyo, Japan, Oct. 2006.
- Regis College, Boston. “Poetry & Art,” reading and slideshow presentation of artwork, Sept. 2006.
- Harvard University, Adams House, Grolier Poetry Reading, Sept. 2006
- University of Maryland University College, Tokyo, Japan. 50th Anniversary Celebration, poetry reading and slideshow presentation of artwork. Sept. 2006.
- Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. Talk and Poetry Reading. July 2006.
- Temple University, Tokyo, Japan. Poetry & Art with Mong-Lan: Poetry Reading and MultiMedia Artwork Presentation. July 2006.
- Kyushu University, Fukuoka City, Japan. Lecture / Discussion and Poetry Reading, "Introduction of Contemporary American Poetry." Sponsored by U.S. Embassy, Tokyo. June, 2006.
- Aichi Prefectural University, Nagoya, Japan. Lecture and Poetry Reading, "Asian American Literature, " Sponsored by Nagoya American Center, Aichi Prefectural University and the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo. June, 2006.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina, Poetry Reading and Art Slide Show Presentation of Paintings and Photographs, Instituto Cultural Argentino Norteamericano, April, 2006. Sponsored by U.S. Embassy.
- Paterson Museum (in conjunction with exhibition of painting and photograph), Paterson, New Jersey, April 2006.
- Asian American Writer’s Workshop, reading and multi-media art presentation, New York City, March 2006.
- Purchase College, State University of New York, reading and multi-media art presentation, March 2006.
- Adelphi, Maryland, University of Maryland University College, “Diversity,” poetry reading and multi-media art presentation, March 2006.
- Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, VA, March 2006.
- The Pink Cow, “Poetry & Art with Mong-Lan,” Tokyo, Japan, March 2006.
- “Maryland Presents,” University of Maryland University College, “Poetry & Art with Mong-Lan,” Tokyo, Yokota, Japan, February 2006.
- University of Nevada, Reno, February 2006.
- Menlo College, Atherton, CA. Multi-media Art Presentation / Poetry reading, January, 2006.
- San Francisco State University, Poetry Center, poetry reading & multi-media artwork presentation, January 2006.
- San Diego State University Writer’s Conference, January 2006.
- Poets-Zone World Poetry Festival, Heidelberg, Germany, Nov. 2005.
- University of Texas at Dallas Art Residency Program Reading, Feb 2005.
- Dallas Museum of Art, February 2005.
- Poetry Society of America’s Festival for New Poets, New York City, April, 2003.
- The following readings were part of the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award Tour: I read my poetry and also gave a photography presentation using slides.
- Albion College, Michigan, April 2003.
- Antioch College, Ohio, April 2003.
- Denison University, Ohio, April 2003.
- DePauw University, Indiana, April 2003.
- Earlham College, Indiana, April 2003.
- Hope College, Michigan, April 2003.
- Kalamazoo College, Michigan, April 2003.
- Kenyon College, Ohio, April 2003.
- Ohio Wesleyan University, Ohio, April 2003.
- Wabash College, Indiana, April 2003.
- College of Wooster, Ohio, April 2003.
- Harvard University, Grolier Reading, Cambridge, MA, November 2002.
- Maryland Presents, University of Maryland University College, Yokota, Tokyo, Japan, November 2002.
- San Francisco Public Library, "Grotto Night," (Poetry reading and multi-media artwork presentation) March 2002.
- San Francisco State University, "Tet in San Francisco," March 2002.
- San Carlos Public Library, "The Poetic Voice," Talk and Reading, CA., February 2002.
- Stanford University, Stanford Bookstore, January 2002.
- Occidental College, “Diversity Week,” Multi-media artwork presentation, Lecture and Reading, Los Angeles, November 2001.
- Northwest Bookfest, Seattle, Washington, October 2001.
- The Chateau de Lavigny International Writer’s Residency, Lavigny, Switzerland, August 2000.
- Asia Society, New York, NY, Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, 1998.
- Grand Poetry Slam First Place Winner, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali, Indonesia. Oct. 2006.
- Inclusion in Pushcart Book of Poetry: Best Poems from 30 Years of the Pushcart Prize, Fall, 2006.
- Invited to read at the Poets Zone World Poetry Festival, Heidelberg, Germany, November, 2005.
- Inaugural Poet & Visual Artist in Resident at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, February 2005.
- Fulbright Grant to Vietnam for 2003.
- Invited to read at the Poetry Society of America’s Festival for New Poets, New York City, April 2003.
- Great Lakes College Association's New Writers Award for Poetry, 2002.
- Inclusion of “Trail” in Best American Poetry of 2002, edited by Robert Creeley.
- Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award, Finalist, 2001.
- Wallace E Stegner Fellowship, Stanford University, AY 2000-2002.
- Juniper Prize, University of Massachusetts Press, 2000.
- Le Chateau de Lavigny International Writer’s Residency, Lavigny, Switzerland, Summer 2000.
- Pushcart Prize XXIV, “Sand, Flies & Fish,” 1999-2000
- Dean's Master of Fine Arts Fellowship, Graduate College, 1999-2000.