BH: A lot of your work deals with queerness and gender identity- in which ways do activism and advocacy inform your writing?
BH: What has been your most memorable experience so far as a teacher?
NP: A few years ago, I facilitated a poetry workshop with Asian and Asian American high school students at a community organization in Chinatown. We watched a video of the poem, “Stubborn Inheritance” by Hieu Nguyen and wrote off a prompt about a time in our lives when we disclosed/shared a part of ourselves with someone. What followed was a really rich discussion on mental health, generational gaps, and the messages we learned about gender and sexuality from our immigrant and refugee families. Many of them also left the workshop feeling like poetry was an accessible tool they could use to explore their identities and make sense of their experiences. Which is something I hope more young people can feel! It was one of the moments that made me realize how much I love working with youth.
BH: What future projects are you most excited about right now?
NP: I’m hoping to create a series of videos for my poems on family and queerness/transness in that “visual poem” format that’s been going around YouTube. I really liked photography and video making during school and would love to get back into that.
And in general, I’m also hoping to write more poems about love, joy, and things that make me happy!
BH: Could you leave us with one of your favorite excerpts from your work?
NP: This is an excerpt from a poem I wrote about my given and chosen names.
in order to thrive, some things must burn
so I clear the thick growth- debris and dead matter
sunlight stretches to reach all the stuck places
maybe I am resilient enough to survive my own arson
a forest burns down and a wildflower starts to bloom
a match ignites and my mother no longer recognizes me
I am both the decay and the bloom
a rebirth illegible to my own blood and kin
Nico teaches poetry workshops with teens at GrubStreet, and coordinates leadership development programs at BAGLY, one of the longest running LGBTQ+ youth organizations in the country. You can find Nico reading queer fiction, hiking, or eating noodles.
Nico Pang will be accompanied by poets John-Francis Quiñonez, AJ Addae, and Lauren Klotzman, along with musical guest Evan Greer at bostonhassle.com’s RADICAL ACTS.
June 7th/8pm/DAP theater/suggested donation $10