Truong Tran


Poet and visual artist Truong Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam. He earned his MFA from San Francisco State University and is the author of five collections of poetry: The Book of Perceptions (1999), a finalist for a Kiriyama Prize; placing the accents (1999), a finalist for a Western States Book Award for Poetry; dust and conscience (2000), winner of a San Francisco State Poetry Center Prize; within the margin (2004); and four letter words (2008), 100 words (co-authored with Damon Potter, 2021), and book of the other (2021). He is also the author of the children’s book Going Home, Coming Home (2003) and the artist monograph I Meant to Say Please Pass the Sugar. Tran has described himself as primarily a visual artist whose “alter ego” is a poet, and has said he believes that art, be it poetry, cooking, sculpting and even gardening, are his ways of thinking through the consciousness of the times we live in. Tran lives in San Francisco and currently teaches at Mills College, Oakland. Source

excerpt from “book of the other”

These things, they are just things. You are told all your life to

develop a thick skin, that you should not take these things so 

seriously. These things, these moments, they are just things in

the greater scheme of things, so what if you are consistently

called by your last name?—it is easier to pronounce—it is just

a small thing. These things, they accumulate, they stick, they

cling to your clothing, your skin, they alter your thinking, they

affect your seeing, your way of being. You wake up one day.

You look in the mirror. You have grown a thick skin, and the 

you in the mirror is no longer you. One day, in the third period 

on the first day of class, you decide to change your name to

Tom. You do not care for the name, not in the slightest. It is

easy to spell. It is easy to say. You will have plenty of time to 

regret your choices. It is just a thing, you tell yourself. You

carry these things. They are placed on you. They are thrown at

you. You walk through life. You are carrying these things. You

anticipate a time when someone is compelled to correct your

grammar; again it happens, and you collapse under the weight.

You are buried beneath a lifetime of these things.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Racial Injustice

Literary Devices:


A device in which the last word or phrase of one clause, sentence, or line is repeated at the beginning of the next.


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

Internal Rhyme

A rhyme involving a word in the middle of a line and another at the end of the line or in the middle of the next.


a situation that seems to contradict itself


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times