Nokyoung Xayasane

poet | writer | actor | model

bird′ of pas′sage
n. pl. birds of passage

1. a bird that migrates seasonally, a migratory bird
2. a transient or migratory person, a transient person or one who roams about, a person who passes through or visits a place without staying for long
3. Birds of Passage, a breathtaking novel by Brian Castro

pronounced “nook”
n. origin: Lao, Thai

1. bird

What’s Bird of Passage all about?

Hi there, I’m a writer and poet who’s always looking for inspiration. I find it daily through poetry and music, which I love to share with all you lovely people.

Whether you’re new to poetry or you’ve had a long love affair with the medium, I hope you’ll enjoy this collection of poems I’ve come to cherish. And I also share my own work.

So a little bit about me … 

I’m a published poet with two books under my belt: Encountering Difference (2014) and the girl who was Thursday night (2019). I’ve worked in many industries since moving to Toronto in 2013: publishing, media, marketing, communications, public relations, transportation, and film and television. I’m also a working actor and model, and I have a lifestyle blog called Nok in the City where I write about my two other loves: food and culture.

I graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Arts degree in English: Rhetoric and Professional Writing, and also from The University of Western Ontario with a degree in Health Sciences with a specialization in Biology.

Yeah I know, pretty different fields, but I think Art and Science complement each other perfectly and are more alike than we think. Like my man Vladimir Nabokov said, “the precision of the artist, the passion of the scientist.”

I’m published!

A collection of my poetry Encountering Difference was published on December 2014 via Stone Garden Studios, a non-profit press. It was my first published book and I was really excited! My second book the girl who was Thursday night (2019) was first translated into Italian where it launched at the Naples University Library. The English version has just been released (2020) and will be launching very soon in Canada.

I’m also one of those writers who’s been working on a novel for over a decade. I’ve been starting and stopping and starting a novel since I was 25. It’ll be a coming-of-age novel for young women, and it’ll be set in Canada, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.

In a way, it’s a way for me to understand who I am and where I come from, and it’s also a way for me to empathize and commiserate with other young folx who are trying to find their place in the world.

My parents are first-generation immigrants from Laos. Our background is Lao but I was born in Thailand in a refugee camp where I lived until I was five years old. My parents have some harrowing yet beautiful stories from their time in Laos and Thailand and our time in Canada. I find I incorporate their voices, their losses, their triumphants, their sorrows, their sense of disempowerment, and their joys into my own work. I think my writing, for the most part, is a love letter to my parents.

To belong somewhere

I’ve been living in Toronto since 2013 and it never ceases to amaze me. It’s a joy to be surrounded by millions of people and new sights and sounds. And let’s not forget the endless supply of food and restaurants, which I happily talk about in Nok in the City. Perhaps I’ll understand what Dionne Brand meant when she wrote, “This city is beauty” in Thirsty, a collection of poems about Toronto, Ontario. Maybe I’ll run into her at a coffeeshop or something. Or maybe I’ll gain fifty pounds. Only time will tell.

Stay for a while

Why not take a look at the poems I hold close to my heart and let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you’d like to reach me, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ve been told I’m a good listener.

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream
Variation on the Word Sleep, Margaret Atwood

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