Paisley Rekdal: The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam


Oct 10, 2017, 7:00 pm

As part of their ongoing programming tied to Ken Burn’s new documentary Vietnam, KUED and Salt Lake County Library Services present Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal. Rekdal will discuss hew new nonfiction work The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam.

The Broken Country uses a violent incident that took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2012 as a springboard for examining the long-term cultural and psychological effects of the Vietnam War. To make sense of the shocking and baffling incident―in which a young homeless man born in Vietnam stabbed a number of white men purportedly in retribution for the war―Paisley Rekdal draws on a remarkable range of material and fashions it into a compelling account of the dislocations suffered by the Vietnamese and also by American-born veterans over the past decades. She interweaves a narrative about the crime with information collected in interviews, historical examination of the arrival of Vietnamese immigrants in the 1970s, a critique of portrayals of Vietnam in American popular culture, and discussions of the psychological consequences of trauma. This work allows us to better understand transgenerational and cultural trauma and advances our still complicated struggle to comprehend the war.

Paisley Rekdal is the author of the poetry collections A Crash of Rhinos (2000), Six Girls Without Pants (2002), The Invention of the Kaleidoscope (2007), and Imaginary Vessels (2016), as well as the book of essays The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee: Observations on Not Fitting In (2000). She has been honored with a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a Village Voice Writers on the Verge Award, and a Fulbright Fellowship to South Korea. Rekdal teaches at the University of Utah.

Viridian Event Center

8030 S 1825 W
West Jordan , UT 84088-5625
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Event Contact:

Laura Durham
ldurham@utah.gov

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