Military men and wandering women, thieves and artists, friends and sisters full of spit and fight…
Such are the characters that populate a young girl’s world in San José in the 1980s. Written from her perspective, this collection of poetry narrates her family’s arrival to the U.S. in 1975. It narrates their resettlement as they move from Pennsylvania to California during Silicon Valley’s high-tech boom. With each city and street that the poems crisscross, the girl and those around her experience racism, objectification, and sexual violence. In marking the places that she has been, her stories map out the coordinates of a refugee girlhood, one that is spiked with brutality, joy, and longing all the same.
The title of this debut collection, Nothing Follows, is taken from state documents, which inaugurate the refugee family’s encounters with US bureaucracy when they first arrive. In these letters, this phrase marks the beginning and end of information related to the family’s biography, medical history, and requests for “family reunification” for those left behind after the fall of Sài Gòn.
Books Lan has authored, co-edited and co-authored.