“Vibrant.” “Radiant.” “Complex.”
Publishers Weekly’s review of Eric Tran’s poetry collection The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer is short but mighty. It manages to capture everything we love about these poems and this poet.
Divided into three parts, the book spans the gamut of subjects and styles, from an abstract poem inspired by Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger to a reinterpretation of the artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s installation piece Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), in which words scatter across page to invoke the candy represented in the installation, and the subtext of violence underneath. In “Amadeus Cho’s The Totally Awesome Hulk,” he addresses “Ammy”: “I hope you’re terrifying, aggressive,/ haughty as I devour in print/ …/ Toothy, artful, heroic./ Toxic, angry, hellish.” Readers will find that these complex and contradicting qualities are enacted in the collection itself.