Category: , .

Thousand Star Hotel

Poetry by Bao Phi

Poems from a father, a refugee, an activist resisting the invisibility of the Asian American urban poor.

July 5, 2017
6 x 9 | 112 Pages
Trade Paper

Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at

ISBN: 978-1-56689-470-8.



Thousand Star Hotel confronts the silence around racism, police brutality, and the invisibility of the Asian American urban poor.

Bao Phi is a multiple-time Minnesota Grand Slam poetry champ and National Poetry Slam finalist who has been on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and whose work was included in the Best American Poetry anthology of 2006. He is the author of Sông I Sing and is currently the program director of the Loft Literary Center.

This project made possible with special funding from the Fringe Foundation.


“Bao Phi’s Thousand Star Hotel is a vividly inward look at an Asian American experience that never flinches from the hard realizations of humanity. Bao ties generations together at his personal crossroad of fatherhood and lets the reader see, feel, and hear the electricity of his renowned stage performance blossoming on the page. Bao’s poems haunt our collective American psyche until a ‘new region of the tongue is discovered’ that lets us know what ‘tastes like the middle of the crosshairs of a drone bomber / tastes like science concocting survival.’” —Tyehimba Jess, author of Olio

“. . . [Phi’s] irreverent profundity shines in prose poems and fixed forms alike.” —New York Times Book Review

Thousand Star Hotel is a cutting collection of poems about growing up a refugee, becoming a father, feeling surrounded by police brutality and the invisibility of poor Asian-Americans.” —NPR Code Switch

“. . . [Phi’s] fluid, open writing is frequently shot through with moments of lyricism . . . Accessible, accomplished, and troubling, this should intrigue many ­readers.” —Library Journal

“The strength of this book comes from the clear and forceful voice. The words leap off the pages, half alive already . . . Thousand Star Hotel is a fierce, burning indictment of racism and xenophobia.” —Chicago Review of Books

“Filled with snapshots of the American immigrant experience, intense love for family, and deep empathy for community, this latest poetry collection by National Poetry Slam finalist Bao Phi, Thousand Star Hotel, challenges racism, police brutality, and the silencing invisibility of the Asian American urban poor.” —Bustle

“Much more than a set of poems, [Thousand Star Hotel] is its own history: a chronicle of Phi’s family, present, past and future. Spinning this history together from fragments of memory and reflection, the collection provides a critical thread in the fabric of Asian American literature, history, and activism—past and present.” —Kartika Review

“There’s sparkling range within these poems, and the reach is fluid… [Phi] takes disparate and precise moments of family, work, fatherhood, and shows their wider echo.” —The Millions

Thousand Star Hotel is equal parts heartbreaking and bitingly funny… This volume is a must-read for readers seeking a greater understanding of race, but also for any reader who has children or parents, experienced heartbreak, or just loves the sound of finely wrought lines.” —Star Tribune

“…Thousand Star Hotel skillfully weaves a range of topics — police brutality, Asian American representation, masculinity, fatherhood, and his immigrant experience growing up in Minnesota, to name just a few.” —Angry Asian Man

“While writing about his experience with racism on the streets of the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, and his encounters with a cultural mainstream in which he barely sees his people represented, Phi paints a sensitive portrait of his life as both an outsider to, and a participant in, mainstream American culture.” —The Rumpus

“A beautiful collection of passionate poems that explores the deep-seated trauma and discrimination in an Asian-American life.” —Sonder

[Thousand Star Hotel] is bold in its language for experiences that oscillate between existence and erasure, and it is moving in its mission to challenge the boundaries of solidarity and to refuse neat conceptions of past, present and future.” —The Writers’ Block Blog

“The many fans of Bao Phi will be thrilled by this book. New readers will be seduced by his trademark blend of passion, politics, and poetry. His poems alternate between the profane and the provocative as they deal with war and history, love and heartbreak, the inner city and the inner self. A powerful read, a gutsy writer.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen

“Bao Phi’s Thousand Star Hotel echoes the fire in his earlier work, which skewers racism and class with the precision of a skilled chef. Yet, when Phi splits open the vulnerable and humbling moments of love, childhood, and fatherhood, he creates a body of satisfying, poignant poems that create moments of quiet introspection like diners hushed by the first bites of an anticipated meal. Bao Phi carries an honest, powerful voice, and he is not afraid to look into the boiling pots of his past or the roiling violence in America and abroad.” —Tara Betts, author of Break the Habit