Troung Tran in conversation with Muriel Leung of Kaya Press
celebrating the Book Launch of
The Book of the Other:Small in Comparison
by Troung Tran
published by Kaya Press
A piercing, furious examination of the devastation wrought on a life by institutional platitudes put in the service of unexamined privilege, Truong Tran’s provocative collection of poetry, prose, and essays, book of the other, is a stunning rebuttal to the idea of anti-Asian racism as a victimless crime. Written with a compulsion for lucidity that transforms outrage into clarity, book of the other resists the luxury of metaphor to write about the experience of being shut out, shut down, and othered as an immigrant, refugee, and queer man. What emerges from Tran’s sharp-eyed experiments in language and form is an achingly beautiful acknowledgement of the rationalizations, disavowals, and estrangement from self forced upon those seduced by the promise of color-blind acceptance and the rigorous, step-by-step recollection of the love and work needed to find one’s way home to oneself.
Praise for Book of the Other
“Truong Tran has created a deeply moving book of poetry that exists beyond the domain of a purely literary experience. Because: How do you survive what’s not meant to be survivable? This is not a manual. It’s a memory. It’s a way through.” – Bhanu Kapil, author of Ban en Banlieue
“In a time of ‘anti-Asian hate,’ when Asian elders are attacked and sometimes killed in the street merely for existing, Truong Tran takes personal incident and event and refracts them through meditation, re-telling and re-flection to echolocate links between exterior scarring between “merely” existing—and the interior life.”– Sesshu Foster, author of City of the Future
“Truong’s art brings us a language by way of objects.” – Mary Burger, Participle Truong Tran | ARTICIPLE
“Truong’s work is full of generosity, honesty, passion, experimentation, excitement – everything that keeps poetry alive.” – Poetry International Archives Truong Tran (poet) – USA – Poetry International
“brilliant, disarmingly honest, and deeply insightful” -Sam Hamill, founder of Copper Canyon Press
“Tran is… establishing something new in American culture as well as in American literature” – Lyn Heijinian, author of The Language of Inquiry
Truong Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam. He is the author of six previous collections of poetry, The Book of Perceptions, Placing the Accents, Dust and Conscience, Within The Margins, Four Letter Words and 100 words ( co-authored with Damon Potter.) He also authored the children’s book, Going Home Coming Home, an artist monograph, I Meant To Say Please Past the Sugar. His poems and books have been translated into Spanish, French and Dutch. He is the recipient of The Poetry Center Prize, The Fund For Poetry Grant, The California Arts Council Grant and numerous San Francisco Arts Commission Grants. Truong is also a visual artist who believes that art, be it poetry, cooking, sculpting and even gardening, are his ways of thinking through the conscious of the times we live in. Of the endeavor that is book of the other, Truong says” This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I set out to write a book with the premise and constraint of honesty. It took a decade of struggle to write, to circle back, to say the thing that needed to be said and perhaps another lifetime to hold. This book is not the performance of anger. It is angry. This book is not performing otherness. I am the other or so I am told again and again.” Truong lives in San Francisco and currently teaches at Mills College, Oakland.
Muriel Leung works for Kaya Press.
Kaya Press is a group of dedicated writers, artists, readers, and lovers of books working together to publish the most challenging, thoughtful, and provocative literature being produced throughout the Asian and Pacific Island diasporas. They believe that people’s lives can be changed by literature that pushes us past expectations and out of our comfort zone. They believe in the contagious potential of creativity combined with the means of production.
Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation