Students speak with Bao Phi before his convocation appearance.

As part of the semester-opening College Convocation activities, we hosted a presentation by Bao Phi, an acclaimed Vietnamese American poet, writer, and community activist from Minneapolis. Phi’s message closely resonates with Saint Mary’s mission and our Unity in Diversity initiative. After his emotional, sometimes humorous and thought-provoking presentation and reading, the author signed copies of his books in the Fitzgerald Library.

A performance poet since 1991, Phi uses his art to touch on subjects like race, class, love, and violence in his own life and in Asian-American communities. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he grew up in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Currently program director at the Loft Literary Center, Phi is a two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist.