Eric Tran’s Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke


Congratulations to Eric Tran for his new poetry collection Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke, published by Diode Editions. Winner of the 2021 Diode Editions Full-Length Book Prize, this collection “grieves a lover lost to addiction and also swims in the intoxication of desire.” Tran explores themes of grief, lust, and queerness using a variety of poetic forms. Although not limited to one type of poem or one specific subject, Tran’s poetry remains united to create a cohesive piece. Poems selected for the collection are visceral and candid as Tran dives into his own emotions, writing “I’m lousy and bloated / with love.” His poetry is perfect for those searching for a deep discussion of intimacy.

Wounds, here, are not ornamental. Tenderness, here, is as restless and resilient as pain. The poems refuse transformation, superficial resolutions. Instead, the language—unsparing, striking—attends to addiction and death with grace, awe. The emotional complexity is mirrored structurally: the lines waterfall and halt, a sonnet crown jolts awake the mind, sentences simmer with lyrical momentum. Eric Tran’s second book is heart-rich and deftly written—the poems will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

Eduardo c. corral, author of guillotine

Eric Tran is a queer Vietnamese writer and physician. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke is his second book of poetry, and his work has appeared in RHINO, 32 Poems, the Missouri Review, and elsewhere. To learn more about Eric Tran, go to his website.

I resent no one / the instinct to run’ writes Eric Tran in his brave and beautiful Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke. But this is a poet who never runs. In fact, he pushes deep into the raw center of desire, admitting ‘I’ve wanted your picked-at / scab, your broken voice through a / morning-night call.’ This is a book of lust and brokenness, of ‘suffering as hot / and clean as a pistol’s mouth.’

Aaron Smith, author of The book of daniel

To purchase Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke, go here.

Eric Tran’s poem “Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)” appeared in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.

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One thought on “Eric Tran’s Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke

  • September 23, 2022 at 4:12 pm
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    I am very interested to see how these poems connect! My interest was piqued at, “Although not limited to one type of poem or one specific subject, Tran’s poetry remains united to create a cohesive piece”
    It’s inspiring to see a poet writing about such diverse topics while coming from a background of medicine. I don’t think people associate the sciences with poetry or that someone can have a background in both.

    Reply

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