Sunday, August 20, 2017

Thousand Star Hotel

Thousand Star Hotel is a book of poetry by the poet, Bao Phi. I usually don't gravitate toward poetry, but this book caught my eye. I'll tell you why when I tell you what I think of the book. (Hint, keep reading!)

The Poems

Phi's poetry tells his experiences as an Asian American immigrant. His life growing up in Minneapolis. He writes about how the color of his skin has affected his life. His views on the world are based on his experiences. He shares his dreams for his daughter. And he shows how different the life she is leading than the one he shared growing up. He shows a world most of us don't think about often. 

What I Think

I enjoyed reading most of these poems. First, because I lived in Minnesota as a child. And the Asian community of immigrants in The Twin Cities is a big part of that time. As I read some of the poems where the writer describes having racial slurs thrown at him, I thought to myself, I didn't know these individuals had to go through that. I knew, but it didn't really sink in until I read the poems. Yep, I felt a little ignorant.

Racism is a huge issue in this country right now. And sometimes it feels like we are being beat over the head with the conversation about racism. But the I think these poems reminded me, that there are two types of knowing. There is the kind of knowing that is in your head. It's the cognitive knowing. And then there is the knowing that is in the heart. That's the emotional knowing. I think you need both in order to really confront issues of racism. And Bao Phi has managed to write poetry that makes those connections in Thousand Star Hotel.




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