Anna B. Sutton & Eric Tran
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In SAVAGE FLOWER, winner of the 2019 St. Lawrence Book Award, Anna B. Sutton explores female oppression and agency in the Bible Belt South. The intertwined landscapes of Tennessee and North Carolina are the backdrop for Sutton's beautiful, warring marriage of religion, family, the body, sex and reproductive rights, and the inevitable cycle of destruction and rebirth. In the tradition of the confessional poem, Sutton looks to her past in search of redemption, while always keeping an eye on the larger meaning. Timely, affecting, and fearless, there are no easy answers in Sutton's imperfect world. As she says in the poem Center Hill, "Even the most beautiful things are full / of our blood."
In The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer, Eric Tran contends with the aftermath of a close friend’s suicide while he simultaneously explores the complexities of being a gay man of color. Grief opens into unraveling circles of inquiry as Tran reflects on the loss of his friend and of their shared identity as gay Asian American men. Through mourning and acute observations, these poems consider how those who experience marginalization, the poet included, may live and fall victim to tragedy. Tran explores how his life, even while in the company of desire and the pursuit of freedom, is never far from danger. Like grief that makes the whole world seem strange, Tran’s poetry merges into fantasy lands and rides the lines between imagined worlds and the reality of inescapable loss. At the intersection of queerness, loss, and desire, Tran uses current events, such as the Pulse nightclub tragedy, pop culture references, and comic book allusions to create a unique and textured poetry debut. He employs an unexpected pairing of prayer and fantasy allowing readers to imagine a world of queer joy and explore how grief can feel otherworldly. This collection shows a poet learning how to be afraid, to feel lost, to grieve, and to build a life amid precarious circumstances. The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer was the winner of the Autumn House Rising Writers Prize in 2019.
Anna B. Sutton's debut collection, Savage Flower, won the St. Lawrence Book Prize and was published by Black Lawrence Press. Her work has appeared in Indiana Review, Third Coast, Copper Nickel, Booth, Los Angeles Review, and other journals. She received her MFA in poetry from UNC Wilmington and a James Merrill fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. She is currently pursuing a MEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and serving as a LCMHC-intern at Lifeologie Raleigh. She was a co-founder of the Porch Writers' Collective and has worked for numerous literary organizations, including Humanities Tennessee, Lookout Books, Blair Publisher, Gigantic Sequins, One Pause Poetry, Dialogist, and Ecotone. She currently lives in Winston-Salem, NC, where she works for UNC School of the Arts.
Eric Tran is queer Vietnamese writer and a resident physician in psychiatry in Asheville, NC, where he is also an associate editor at Orison Books. His debut book of poems, The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer, won the Autumn House Press Emerging Writer's contest. He is also the author of the chapbooks Revisions and Affairs with Men in Suits. His work has been featured in Poetry Daily and Best of the Net and appears or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Iowa Review, 32 Poems, and elsewhere.
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