Paul Tran

All the Flowers Kneeling
  • All the Flowers Kneeling

  • This is a book about survival.
    This is a book about love.

    'Beautiful, sensuous and plural ... a vital and visceral collection. Breathtaking' Joelle Taylor, author of C+nto & Othered Poems
    'Brave ... this striking collection ... articulates the unspeakable from various angles ... often nightmarish and dark, there are moments of shimmering release ... an auspicious debut' Seán Hewitt, Irish Times
    '[A] powerful debut ... marshals narrative lyrics and stark beauty' The New York Times Book Review
    'Vivid ... searingly honest, beautifully told depictions of survival and self-love' Publishers Weekly
    'A testament to queer self-love ... a monument to [what] persists'
    'A true masterwork ... an exquisitely crafted labyrinth of a book' Electric Literature

    Visceral and astonishing, Paul Tran's debut poetry collection, All the Flowers Kneeling, charts the rebuilding of a self in the wake of extremity. How, it asks, can we reimagine what we have been given in order to make something new: an identity, a family, a life, a dream?

    These rich, resonant poems of desire, freedom, control and rebirth reach back into the past - the tale of Scheherazade, US imperial violence, a shattering history of personal abuse - to show how it both scars and transforms. Innovative poetic forms mirror the nonlinear experiences of trauma survivors, while ambitious sequences probe our systems of knowledge-making and the power of storytelling as survival.

    At once virtuosic and vulnerable, confessional and profoundly defiant, All the Flowers Kneeling revels in rediscovering and reconfiguring the self, and ultimately becomes an essential testament to the human capacities for resilience, endurance and love.

Paul Tran received their BA in history from Brown University and MFA in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis, where they were the chancellor's graduate fellow and senior poetry fellow. They have been awarded a 2021 Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize. Currently a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University, Paul's work appears in The New Yorker, Poetry, and elsewhere.

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