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Celebrated Cambodian Writer to Visit UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: March 16, 2006

U Sam Oeur
U Sam Oeur

EAU CLAIRE — Cambodian writer U Sam Oeur will visit the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to lead a reading and discussion of his latest work chronicling his life in Cambodia before, during and after the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime took power there in 1975. He will present "Crossing Three Wildernesses" at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in the Ho-Chunk Room of the Davies Center. There will be time for questions and open discussion following the formal presentation.

In "Crossing Three Wildernesses," Oeur, a celebrated poet, describes his near-idyllic boyhood on a farm before Cambodia's national nightmare began; his years as a government official as part of the Cambodian delegation to the UN; then the devastating takeover of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge; and finally the "liberation" of Cambodia by the Vietnamese.

When Pol Pot assumed power in 1975, Oeur, along with his wife and son, survived the killing fields and genocidal policies of Pol Pot while feigning illiteracy in six forced-labor camps. A devout Buddhist, Oeur is also the author of the acclaimed bilingual collection of poems "Sacred Vows." He is now translating the poems of Walt Whitman into Khmer.

The visit and presentation are sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire political science department, the Society of Politics and the Center for International Education.

For more information, contact Phillip Huelsbeck, international student adviser, (715) 836-4411 or huelsbpj@uwec.edu.

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