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book of the other (Kaya Press)
Just as the denial of tenure for Nikole Hannah-Jones with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wang Ping at Macalester have made headlines for academic racism targeting Black professors and professors of color, Truong Tran’s book of the other is a timely commentary on the inequities built into the white establishment within academia and beyond. In this provocative collection of poetry, prose, and essays, Tran offers a stunning rebuttal to the idea of anti-Asian racism as a victimless crime—the hiring of a less qualified white man over a teacher of color who has served his public university for years, the performance of racial trauma for a white audience, the bind of racial representation and diversity politics, the daily racist transgressions that occur in events as simple as standing in line at the grocery store. These sharp-eyed experiments in language and form resist the luxury of metaphor to name not only the state of academic violence but the daily injustices one encounters as a queer working-class teacher, immigrant, and refugee. book of the other is written with a compulsion for lucidity that transforms outrage into clarity, an achingly poignant acknowledgment of the estrangement from self forced upon those seduced by the promise of color-blind acceptance, and the step-by-step recollection needed to return to oneself.
Truong Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1969. 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 (coauthored with Damon Potter). He also authored the children's book Going Home Coming Home, and an artist monograph, I Meant to Say Please Pass the Sugar. 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. Tran lives in San Francisco where he teaches art and poetry.
Sho (Wave Books)
Eschewing performative typography, Douglas Kearney’s Sho aims to hit crooked licks with straight-seeming sticks. Navigating the complex penetrability of language, these poems are sonic in their espousal of Black vernacular strategies, while examining histories and current events through the lyric, brand new dances, and other performances. Both dazzling and devastating, Sho is a genius work of literary precision, wordplay, farce, and critical irony. In his “stove-like imagination,” Kearney has concocted poems that destabilize the spectacle, leaving looky-loos with an important uncertainty about the intersection between violence and entertainment.
Douglas Kearney has published six collections, including Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and the California Book Award's silver medal in poetry. M. NourbeSe Philip calls Kearney’s collection of libretti, Someone Took They Tongues. (Subito, 2016), “a seismic, polyphonic mash-up.” Kearney’s Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution handpicked selection that Publishers Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” He has received a Whiting Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, residencies and fellowships from Cave Canem, the Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. Kearney teaches Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and lives in St. Paul with his family.
How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James)
How to Not Be Afraid of Everything explores the vulnerable ways we articulate and reckon with fear: fear of intergenerational trauma and the silent, hidden histories of families. What does it mean to grow up in a take-out restaurant, surrounded by food, just a generation after the Great Leap Forward famine in 1958-62? Full of elegy and resilient joy, these poems speak across generations of survival.
Jane Wong is the author of How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James, 2021) and Overpour (Action Books, 2016). Her poems and essays can be found in places such as Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, Best American Poetry 2015, American Poetry Review, POETRY, AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney's, and Ecotone. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room, the U.S. Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf, Hedgebrook, Willapa Bay, the Jentel Foundation, Mineral School, and others. Her first solo art show, "After Preparing the Altar, the Ghosts Feast Feverishly" was exhibited at the Frye Art Museum in 2019. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University.