Author shares grandfather’s story at reading

ULM Hawkeye

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Author Genaro Ky Ly Smith read excerpts last Thursday from his book “The Land Baron’s Son: The Story of Ly Loc and His Seven Wives.”

The book chronicles his grandfather’s experience growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War and the trials he faced.

His grandfather was a commander in the South Vietnamese Army. He was also a landowner, father, husband to seven wives, and a man who went through a Vietcong re-education camp.

Smith presented the story of his grandfather through a collection of over forty-three poems, which cover the total of his life’s experiences.

“I liked listening to the story on his grandfather, because of the way in which it was written and the ebb and flow of his presentation as he shared it with us. He also comes from a very diverse background having a Vietnamese mother and African-American father, which gives him a unique insight onto the world,” said Ashley Slaton, a sophmore history major.

The book was a collection of poetry which ended up taking Smith many years to write.

“I had it in mind to write this book for over twenty two years. My poetry often sits around uncompleted for long periods of time,” said Smith.

Smith said his parents and the letters his grandfather wrote to his mother were his sources for information. She would read them out loud to him and he “would retain the information.”

Smith teaches literature, composition and creative writing at Louisiana Tech University.

He has been published in many literary journals and magazines and currently resides in Ruston with his wife and two daughters.