Khaty Xiong (Spring 2022)

Headshot of Khaty Xiong

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.


Artist’s Statement


Photo of piece in art installation. Small paper cut-outs with written words, as well as drawings of flora and fauna, hang from an ornate wooden screen.
Photograph by Katherine Litwin.

In grief, we seldom arrive with the language to help us translate the pain of our losses; even when the sorrow is shared by others, the act of grieving can be quite solitary. Particularly in diasporic communities, where war and displacement have shaped many generations, concepts of healing may be hard to define (with the search for forgiveness and acceptance even harder paths to traverse). How, then, do we meet our grief and face it with confidence? In what ways can we nurture ourselves and each other while living under this current political climate?

As Artist-in-Residence, I will explore aspects of grief in a setting that seeks to foster community, safety, and transparency; to further break the stigma around death as we navigate the complexities of the afterlives we lead in the wake of loss. With the support of the A/P/A Institute at NYU, an immersive poetry installation called Grief Garden will be constructed to promote this attention on grief, where profound loss may take the shape it needs, to drive forward the necessity of these conversations, and to challenge our haunting lineages that may otherwise keep us in limbo. This installation is a revival of a former project of mine, co-curated by the Poetry Foundation and Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, that honored a personal trauma, inviting the public to reflect on personal and collective loss. My hope is to continue this dialogue on a scale that is open and accessible to all.

Khaty Xiong, Artist-in-Residence


Message from A/P/A

We at the A/P/A Institute at NYU are fortunate to welcome Khaty Xiong as the Spring 2022 Artist-in-Residence. Following the fall residency of Jess X. Snow, whose art provided spaces of healing, safety, and security, Xiong similarly offers us critical space for individual and collective grieving. In a world that too often forces one to grieve in secret, Xiong allows us to think of grieving as a necessarily public and political act. Indeed, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic that has claimed over 800,000 lives in the United States alone. New York City was one of the first epicenters of the pandemic, and Xiong’s art allows us to feel and be held while processing the grief that we carry as a result of the difficult times in which we are living.

Dean Saranillio, Interim Director


Installation & Programs

Grief Garden
On view Tuesday, March 1-Friday, May 27, 2022
Plan your visit

From the Gardens of Our Grief: A Reading
Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 5:00-7:00 p.m.