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FROM LAOS TO THE WORLD, A BRIDGE OF BLESSING
the Lao Writers Association, has emerged as a central figure in her region's literature. Her debut
English-language collection provides a colorful, deeply felt perspective on settings, traditions and
aspirations in her Southeast Asian nation.
In Sensible Bridge, Thidachan voices a devotion to the causes of life, free speech and affirmative
outreach. Reflecting these commitments, her poems are reverently down to earth, mindful of both
humanity and nature, and strong-willed in support of embodying connections and higher truths. The
book's steadfast commitment to bridging, like that of any literature, is a gift meant for all people.
Thidachan's writing reflects the unique characteristics of Laos, a mountainous country contoured by
Southeast Asia's Mekong River. Her poems portray harmonious scenes from the country's still
largely agrarian countryside, as well as dynamic, festive vignettes from the capital, Vientiane.
The Lao people's indigenous music, dances and rituals exert a fundamental influence on
Thidachan's poetry. In Sensible Bridge, she professes her love for her region's ancient Khaen
music — named for its instrument, a bamboo mouth organ — and enumerates varieties of the music
found in certain parts of Laos. Khaen music was certified in 2017 as a UNESCO intangible cultural
heritage of humanity.
In Laos, poetry is often combined with song, dance, theater and other arts. Appropriately,
Thidachan includes imagery from a range of folk traditions which inspire her writing. She has sung
her Lao poems for international audiences.
Inseparably from showing the enduring beauty of Laos's scenery and customs, the writer
memorializes the struggles of the long civil war that followed the end of colonialism in the country.
One poem recalls the "living legend of Viengxai," the "cave city" where the future architects of a
sovereign Laos took shelter during years of heavy bombing by the United States during the Vietnam
Sensible Bridge will remind readers that the world must accommodate diverse ideologies and
allegiances. In one poem, to personify goodness, the author names men whose ideas catalyzed the
revolutions in her region: socialist theorists Frederick Engels and Karl Marx, along with Ho Chi Minh,
the leader of Vietnam's independence movement. Another poem pays tribute to the
accomplishments of Laos's longtime socialist government.
Above all, Sensible Bridge manifests a compassionate vision that should find crucial resonance
anywhere. Informed by spiritual practice, Thidachan expresses values — love of justice, community,
culture, work and worship — that help foster unities in how we view our world and our own lives.
With her writing, she sends out a message of dialog and hope from Laos to the whole world.
The book is translated by Sengchanh Soukhasem, with assistance from Athithouthay
Chatouphonexay. Editorial advisor James Manteith provides an introduction to the poems.
The ISBN number for the paperback edition of the book is 978-0-939378-08-1
advanced degree in Lao language and literature from Vientiane Pedagogical Institute in Laos.
Thidachan has produced numerous literary works, including short stories, poems and children's
literature. In addition to collaborations with other poets and writers, she has published 13 books.
Thidachan has also written short prose poems, literary criticism and articles, published mainly in
Vannasin and other national magazines. Her work has been translated into Thai, Vietnamese,
Russian and English. She has won national short story awards, the Mekong Award for writers from
six Mekong subregion countries, and the SEA Write Award for writers from ten Southeast Asian
countries. She has received the Laos government title of Outstanding Artist. At present Thidachan
is vice president of the Lao Writers Association, advisor at Vannasin, a guest lecturer on literature,
and editor of Lao Writers Publishing Press. Thidachan lives with her family in Vientiane, the capital
of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.