Tho Nguyen (’23) publishes poetry collection “the days we drift” on Amazon

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Photo provided by Tho Nguyen

Tho Nguyen (‘23), Pleasanton’s Teen Poet Laureate for 2022-23, published her book “the days we drift.”

Tho Nguyen (‘23), Pleasanton’s Teen Poet Laureate for 2022-23, has published her own poetry book “The Days We Drift”.

“I started writing poetry during the pandemic. I always liked reading books as a kid. Just because I have more time during the remote learning and I have more freedom. Also, because the pandemic was stressful for a lot of people,” said Nguyen. “So, it really inspired me to write this sort of vent.” 

In The Days We Drift, Nguyen portrays her various unique identities through different poems throughout the book. 

“My book is  about a lot of my experiences. It includes poems I wrote during when I first started writing but also poems I wrote this year very recently. It’s sort of like a snapshot of my life during those couple of years getting into and getting out of the pandemic,” said Nguyen. 

As an American-born Vietnamese, Nguyen wrote the poems from her perspective of a second generation immigrant. In the book, she expresses her feelings of belonging to different cultures and the difficulties she faced throughout the past couple of years. 

“It’s really about my experiences as a Vietnamese American. It talks a lot about culture, about how sometimes it can be difficult, because as the daughter of immigrants. I feel sort of out of touch of my culture sometimes. But I’m still trying to connect with it. It talks about what it feels like to belong or maybe not to belong in some spaces,” said Nguyen. 

Emotions also play a role in Nguyen’s poems. It reminded her of childhood memories when gathering the elements into her book. 

“A lot of it was just looking at my own poems that I wrote from a long time ago is very interesting. Sometimes it reminds me of memories of my life and different times in my life. So it brought a lot of emotions, happiness,” said Nguyen. 

Nguyen was inspired by her favorite writers in writing poetry. 

“I honestly just watched Youtube videos on how to publish your own book, but as for my inspiration, I am inspired a lot by writers like Ocean Vuong. I have a quote from him on the first page of my book,” said Nguyen. “Writers like Stephanie Suga Chen, and Fanny Choi, are also very inspirational,” 

To Nguyen, support from her mother has always motivated her to move forward and further.

“My mom has always supported me in my writing journey. I’d also like to thank the editor of the Interstellar Literary Magazine. They formed a really supportive community when I first started writing when it was all online,” said Nguyen. 

Although the overall process has come smoothly through, it’s sometimes difficult for Nguyen to decide what kind of message she wishes to express to the audience. 

“The struggle for me when I was writing my book was choosing what poem I wanted to include and what image I wanted to show. I wanted to be authentic, but also it has been hard for me to be vulnerable and authentic in my writing,” said Nguyen. 

Nguyen’s book The Days We Drift is a combination of all her hard work and time that was spent. However, this is an experience that she thoroughly enjoyed.

“The poems are written throughout the year. But I started putting together the book in the beginning of the school year and I was able to finalize the designs in September, so it didn’t take too long. Honestly it wasn’t too hard, this is something I really like to do in my free time. Writing the book is a nice learning experience. I designed the cover of the book and formatted the title and author description. It taught me a lot about how to self publish a book,” said Nguyen. 

In addition, as Pleasanton’s teen poet laureate, Nguyen organized an open mic poetry night to guide the community to learn more about the arts of poetry as well as create their poems.

“In the Pleasanton Cities Library, I organized an open mic night for people interested in writing. It’s an event where you can perform one of your poems that you wrote or maybe a poem from an author you really enjoy,” said Nguyen. 

As for her plans in the future, Nguyen will continue to build upon writing poetry as something that brings happiness to her. 

“In the future I hope to pursue a double major in biology and english creative writing. I don’t think I will become a writer, but I will definitely love to build on writing poetry and keep it as a hobby throughout my life,” said Nguyen. 

Nguyen’s book is now available for purchase through Amazon.