Writers’ Spotlight: Anh Vu Buchanan


Photo by Cole Anetsberger, courtesy of WritersCorps
Photo by Cole Anetsberger, courtesy of WritersCorps

The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network and the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center are proud to present the Fourth San Francisco Diasporic Vietnamese Literary Festival on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at the African American Art and Culture Complex (762 Fulton St, SF.)

In the approaching weeks, we will highlight our writers and artists with a Q&A and a tantalizing taste of their work. We hope you will enjoy getting to know our fabulous roster of writers and artists, and join us in celebrating their work in April!

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subscriber drive graphicOur second spotlight is poet Anh Vu Buchanan. Based in the Bay Area, Anh Vu is the author of The Disordered (sunnyoutside press 2013) and Backhanded Compliments & Other Ways to Say I Love You (Works on Paper Press 2014). He is the recipient of the 2010 James D. Phelan Award  and also received an Individual Artists Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. His poems have also appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Harpur Palate, The Journal, kill author, The Minnesota Review, Parthenon West Review, word for/ word, Vinyl Poetry, and ZYZZYVA. He received an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. He currently teaches in San Francisco.


anh vu buchanan



1. How important is community and location to your identity as a writer and your writing process?

Community is so important to my identity as a writer.  For me, it’s always been my fountain and source of inspiration.  It can be the  community of writers I belong to that push me to my writing limits as well as all the places that I’m from that find their way into my poems.  These are things that are of part of my writing life and really give me that extra boost just when I need it.


2. Which three books have you read more than three times?

Four Letter Words – Truong Tran, Fresh of the Boat by Eddie Huang, and Blood and Soap – Linh Dinh


3. Who would you be if you had not become a writer?

Photographer, I love photography just as much as writing and poetry.


4. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers and poets?

Block out the noise. Write for yourself and write about the things you are passionate about. If you aren’t writing about things you have an interest or even a slight obsession with it will show in the work.  Read everything and anything you can get your hands on. Find a community or a support system. A small group of writers to give you motivation or feedback or whatever you need in your writing life. It’s really hard at times to take the time to stop and write. Having a support group to push you or inspire you is a good way to get the creative energy going again.


Additional Links for Anh Vu




My dreams move in with your dreams and we go tell the organ how to play the mountain. I’m making you breakfast sandwiches by the fire and when you say squirrel I know you mean look at my shirt smiling. You were spitting secrets out again and my question marks aren’t lonely anymore. I want to play within the margins with you. My bottle caps mingle with your bottle caps and we’ve gained another hour. If you say murmur again I might explode and collapse and wake up under smokestacks drifting in my thoughts. If I found us a hammock to live in would you tell me all the things the street tells you at night? My cave is next to your cave and I can hear the water serenading the rocks. We’re in a graveyard of lost socks and all I have is a bottle opener. So we chant theme songs together and it sunsets again. I’m looking for a necklace made from compass parts for the tree you sketched your name into it for the very first time for all the bookstores to call our own. Can you feel the honesty of my time machine? I’m bringing you a meadow and a lake. I’m stealing all the clocks I can to show you age is on our side. My picnic marries your picnic and in the blankets we disappear.


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