Paul Tran


Paul Tran earned their B.A. in history from Brown University and M.F.A. in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis, where they won the Howard Nemerov Prize, Dorothy Negri Prize, and Norma Lowry Memorial Award. As the Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow (2017-19) and Senior Poetry Fellow (2019-20) in the Writing Program, and as Faculty in Poetry (2020-Present) in the Summer Writers Institute, Paul has taught the introductory, intermediate, and advanced poetry workshops at WashU. From 2013-18, Paul coached the poetry slam teams at Brown University, Barnard College & Columbia University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Paul was the first Asian American since 1993—and first transgender poet ever—to win the Nuyorican Poets Café Grand Slam, placing top 10 at the Individual World Poetry Slam and top 2 at the National Poetry Slam. A two-time winner of the Rustbelt Poetry Slam, Paul has served as Poet-in-Residence at Urban Word NYC and head poetry slam coach at Urban Arts Alliance in St. Louis, which won the Brave New Voices Grand Slam Championship in 2019. Paul is Poetry Editor (2016-Present) at The Offing Magazine, which won a Whiting Literary Magazine Prize from the Whiting Foundation. They are represented by Rob McQuilkin at Massie & McQuilkin and Eloisa Amezcua at Costura Creative. Source



I thought I could stop

time by taking apart

the clock. Minute hand. Hour hand.


Nothing can keep. Nothing

is kept. Only kept track of. I felt


passing seconds

accumulate like dead calves

in a thunderstorm


of the mind no longer a mind

but a page torn

from the dictionary with the definition of self


effaced. I couldn’t face it: the world moving


on as if nothing happened.

Everyone I knew got up. Got dressed.

Went to work. Went home.


There were parties. Ecstasy.

Hennessy. Dancing

around each other. Bluntness. Blunts


rolled to keep

thought after thought

from roiling


like wind across water—

coercing shapelessness into shape.


I put on my best face.

I was glamour. I was grammar.


Yet my best couldn’t best my beast.


I, too, had been taken apart.

I didn’t want to be

fixed. I wanted everything dismantled and useless


like me. Case. Wheel. Hands. Dial. Face.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Faith & Hope


Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


The repetition of a word within a phrase, in which the second use of the word utilizes a different and sometimes contrary meaning from the first.


The repetition of similar vowel sounds that takes place in two or more words in proximity to each other within a line; usually refers to the repetition of internal vowel sounds in words that do not end the same.

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 comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic