Poet, visual artist, and dancer Mong-Lan was born in Saigon and left Vietnam with her family on the last day of the evacuation of the city in 1975. She grew up in Houston and attended the Glassell School of Art.

Mong-Lan earned her MFA from the University of Arizona and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. She is author of the chapbooks Love Poem to Tofu & Other Poems (2007) and Love Poem to Ginger & Other Poems (2012). Her full-length collections of poetry include Song of the Cicadas (2001), which won the Juniper Prize and the Great Lakes College Association’s New Writers Award; Why is the Edge Always Windy? (2005); Tango, Tangoing: Poems & Art (2008); Force of the Heart: Tango Art (2011); One Thousand Minds Brimming (2014); and Dusk Aflame (2018). Her work has been anthologized in collections such as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (2004) and Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (2008), among others.
In 2002, Mong-Lan received a Fulbright fellowship to Vietnam. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, she returned in 2007 to deliver a series of lectures at Vietnamese universities. Mong-Lan has read her work internationally, and her paintings and photographs have been exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, at the Capitol in Washington, DC, and in public exhibitions in Tokyo, Bali, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, and Seoul. A tango performer and instructor, Mong-Lan’s dance background includes training in classical ballet, jazz, modern, flamenco and Spanish dance, ballroom, and salsa. She currently lives in Buenos Aires.