Hoa Nguyen

Born: 1967

Hoa Nguyen is a Vietnamese American poet and educator born in Vĩnh Long in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta to a Vietnamese mother who was a stunt motorcyclist in an all-woman circus troupe and an American father who abandoned the family prior to her birth. Growing up in the Washington D.C. area, Nguyen first discovered her connection to poetry when she read an anthology of Vietnamese poetry translated into English at the local library. Through her adolescence and high school, she wrote poetry, but she didn’t allow herself to take it seriously until her 20s. After earning a degree in psychology from the University of Maryland and preparing to apply to a master’s program in social work, the death of a friend and the eulogy she wrote and gave at her funeral inspired her to make the most of her life by following her passion and claiming her life as a poet; she would go on to earn her MFA in poetics from the New College of California in San Francisco. Nguyen’s poetry grapples heavily with the Asian American experience—as well as the experience of being mixed—and seeks to challenge stereotypical depictions of Asian women in popular culture. Nguyen has authored six full collections of poetry and over a dozen chapbooks. She has lived in Toronto, Ontario since 2011 and teaches poetics at Ryerson University.


Photo Credit: Waylon Hart