English professor Mai Der Vang named finalist for Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry Mai Der Vang stands in front of a green field and a setting sun.

By Jefferson Beavers, Communication Specialist | Photo by Andre Yang/Hmong American Writers’ Circle

Read the full story on FresnoStateNews.com


Author and Fresno State professor Mai Der Vang was honored May 9 as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, for her groundbreaking book of documentary poetry, “Yellow Rain.”

The book integrates archival research and declassified government documents to examine the biological warfare that threads through wars involving Hmong people. In lyrical poems of witness that defy historical erasure, “Yellow Rain” acknowledges those who perished and the trauma of those who survived.

Vang, an assistant professor of English, is the first Hmong American to be recognized in the 106-year history of the Pulitzer’s arts and letters prizes.

She is the fourth Fresno artist to be recognized in arts and letters, following William Saroyan, the 1940 winner in drama; Dr. Leslie R. Bassett, the 1966 winner in music; and Philip Levine, the 1995 winner in poetry. Bassett was a Fresno State alumna in music (1947), and Levine was a Fresno State professor emeritus of English (1958-92).

Read the full story on FresnoStateNews.com

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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