Dao Strom is a Vietnamese American writer, artist, and musician who has been living in Portland since 2010. Strom was originally born in Saigon, Vietnam, and immigrated to the United States with her mother and brother in 1975. She grew up in Placerville, a small town in Northern California, before attending college in San Francisco and graduate school in Iowa. Before moving to Portland, Strom lived in many places across the U.S., including New York City, Texas, and Alaska.

In this oral history interview, Dao Strom begins by discussing her hybrid project Instrument/Traveler’s Ode for which she was awarded the Stafford/Hall Oregon Book Award for Poetry. She then reflects on her experiences in Portland during the onset of COVID and how the pandemic has shaped her work. Strom shares about her public art commission for the Vanport Building in Downtown Portland, a poem titled “we breathe & breathing is (an) a|synchronous music, every body needs the air." She concludes the interview with a discussion about the contemplation and construction of memory.