All the Flowers Kneeling (Penguin Poets)

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Abundance is a word with a positive connotation, evoking imagery of plentifulness and contentedness. However, there are instances where the concept of abundance is anything but positive with regard to the layers of oppression faced by peoples with intersecting marginalized identities.

Reflected in this collection, All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran, is how this abundance springs from a single person’s experience. First, there is Tran’s family’s survival, from the stories their mother brings from her migration from Việt Nam and the ways we censor or rewrite these narratives to survive, about which Tran writes, “She changes and is changed by how / she tells her story. There is no truth. Only a version. Aversion. A verge. A vengeance.” In the precision of the language is transformation and duality, as their “purpose is precision. Even when I’m unclear I’m deliberate. When I’m deliberate I’m liberated.”

This abundance is also shown in the repetition within the works and of the work itself (Schehezerade/Scheherazade). And then there is the abundance in being queer, in both love and not love, wants and unwants. This idea of abundance is turned into an object of scrutiny and analyzed from all its angles, and above all, it is about acknowledging that within the complexity of abundance, there is ultimately joy.

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Author Paul Tran
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 112 pages
Publisher Penguin Books
Publish Date 15-Feb-2022
ISBN 9780143136842 Buy this Book
Issue March 2021
Category Poetry & Short Stories