Grief Garden (March 1-May 27, 2022)

Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, Gallery
8 Washington Mews
On view to NYU students, staff, and faculty and, by special request, members of our non-NYU community: Monday-Friday, 12:00–5:00 p.m.*

Grief Garden is an immersive interpretation of Khaty Xiong’s poem, “On Visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens,” which embarks on the author’s journey into the afterlife in search of her recently deceased mother. In the garden, visitors are invited to rest and meditate on personal and collective loss. Flora and fauna from the garden of Xiong’s mother and the Franklin Park Conservatory are represented, and include designated pieces on which visitors can write messages to those lost. These messages will be added to the garden trellises with the hope of cultivating a conversation around the ways we engage grief, and providing an opportunity for shared catharsis. 

A collaboration between the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, Poetry Foundation, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and visitors, this installation was originally slated to open in our gallery in April 2020. Postponed due to the pandemic, it now takes on new resonance.


Grief Garden is part of Xiong’s residency with the A/P/A Institute at NYU. Installation design by Megan Liao. Sound concept by Grace Osborne, edited by Gabriel Andruzzi.

Listen to Khaty Xiong read, “On Visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens”


Note on public health and accessibility: Our gallery is open to current NYU staff, students, and faculty, and approved campus visitors (more details below). All guests will be asked to show an NYU ID and Daily Screener green pass upon entry. This venue has an elevator and is accessible for wheelchair users. Restrooms are single-stall, and all gender. If you need any accommodations, please email

Non-NYU guests: We are now able to admit non-NYU guests via an approval process. If you have already been granted campus access by another NYU entity, you are welcome to visit the gallery on the date listed on your green pass screener. If you need to apply for campus access, please email with the following details: full name, email address, phone number, and preferred date and time of visit. Please note that requests must be made at least five business days in advance. If approved, guests will be required to be compliant with NYU’s COVID protocol for the duration of their visit.

Class and group visits: To arrange for a class or group visit to the gallery, please email with your preferred visit dates and times, and the size of your group (max. 20 individuals).

Message contributions: If you cannot visit us in person, we hope you might consider contributing a message to the garden. Templates can be downloaded, printed, and sent to our gallery. We hope you will share your messages and help cultivate the garden.

*Gallery hours are subject to change.


About the Artist

Khaty Xiong was born to Hmong refugees from Laos. She is the author of the full-length poetry collection, Poor Anima (Apogee Press, 2015), and three chapbooks: Ode to the Far Shore (Platypus Press, 2016), Deer Hour (New Michigan Press, 2014), and Elegies (University of Montana, 2013). Her honors include a 2020 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council (2020), the Nadya Aisenberg Fellowship at MacDowell (2017), and an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council (2016). Xiong’s work has been featured in Poetry, The New York Times, How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011), the Poetry Society of America and Academy of American Poets websites, and elsewhere. In 2018, her poem, “On Visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens,” which centered on the conversation of grief and loss, was highlighted in an immersive poetry installation at the Poetry Foundation Gallery in Chicago, a collaboration between the Poetry Foundation and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. In 2019, she was awarded Best of the Net for her poem, “Year of the Cardinal’s Song (VII).”

Currently, Xiong is working on her second poetry collection surrounding the sudden loss of her mother, who was a shaman and a medicine woman in her community. The book examines the entanglement of her mother’s violent death, the grief that comes with being a child of war refugees, and the impact intergenerational trauma has had on her identity as a Hmong American poet and researcher. She is the Spring 2022 Artist-in-Residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.



From the Gardens of Our Grief: A Reading
Wednesday, April 13, 5:00-7:00 p.m.



Photograph ©Creighton: Courtesy of NYU Photo Bureau