"This is documentation, a file on whiteness. This is the footage, the eye’s iris surrounded by white, seeing itself surrounded. This is the account of a brown someone testifying after being told—again—to shut up: to refrain. Truong Tran refrains, as in repeats, the facts. book of the other is an uncompromising rebuke of the white “Why?” These are the facts. This book is necessary—terribly so. Yesterday, today, and for the foreseeable future." —DOUGLAS KEARNEY, author of Buck Studies
"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 Futu
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.