Looking and Seeing/Seeing and Looking (Paperback)

Looking and Seeing/Seeing and Looking By Damon Potter, Truong Tran Cover Image

Looking and Seeing/Seeing and Looking (Paperback)


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Two books bound together that interrogate race—one from the perspective of a man of color, and the other from the perspective of a white man.
This book brings together different perspectives under two titles, considering the lives and experiences of two friends, one Vietnamese American and one white. Looking And Seeing is a poetic work of yearning, regret, and righteous indignation. In Truong Tran’s poetry, what is said and what is written reveal our complexities. Composed as an investigation of his own being and body as a brown person moving through white spaces, this collection moves alongside Tran’s friend and collaborator Damon Potter. Seeing and Looking offers a record of Potter’s perspective as a white man examining who he is and wants to be and the complications of trying to be good while also benefiting from histories of oppression. Potter considers death—both his own future death and the deaths of his friends—while grappling with how to witness horrors, wonders, and his self.
Damon Potter is coauthor of 100 Words with Truong Tran. He works as a gardener in San Francisco.

Truong Tran is a writer, visual artist, and teacher at Mills College, Oakland. Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and he currently lives in San Francisco. He is the author of seven previous collections of poetry: The Book of Perceptions; Placing the AccentsDust and ConscienceWithin The MarginsFour Letter Words; 100 Words, coauthored with Damon Potter; and Book of The Other, recipient of the American Book Award and CLMP's Firecracker Award for Poetry. He is also the author of one children’s book, Going Home Coming Home, and an artist monograph, I Meant To Say Please Pass the Sugar. His poems have been translated into Spanish, French, and Dutch.
Product Details ISBN: 9781632431233
ISBN-10: 1632431238
Publisher: Omnidawn
Publication Date: December 20th, 2023
Pages: 129
Language: English
"If Book of the Other: small in comparison, was Tran’s navigation through the darkest part of the forest, Looking and Seeing is the continuation of the map in the ongoing case study to bring one’s existence to the forefront in communication with whiteness. Tran transitions his proximity to whiteness, showcasing the progression of one’s positionality within his ongoing journey in self-proclamation. In this book, we gain a more intimate understanding of the intention of the other. I made this art for you not in the hopes that you will hang it on your wall but in the sense that you will hold its consciousness that you will see yourself as others see you as question as subject as metaphor as conflict that art as human is conflicted and confronted. Tran requires us to sit with his examinations, with his witnessings, his confrontations, and his consciousness. we look, but Tran reiterates 'do we see?' and if seeing was the precursor to understanding, what can you do to shift your positionality in the ongoing struggle against whiteness as a threat? whiteness as inherent. whiteness as the standard. whiteness as the goal. whiteness as dominance. Whiteness as foe. whiteness as illness. whiteness as dismally & unimpressively; whiteness. by taking on this joint project with Potter, Tran showcases the possibility and intimacy of engaging with whiteness without the doldrums of performance. placing brown and white together on a conversational canvas to enrich the complexity of solidarity and truth."
— Mimi Tempestt, author of "the delicacy of embracing spirals"

“Tran’s newest book is a new kind of contraption, a language chamber that splits the infinities of Belonging and Accountability (and Rage, and Memory, and many other concepts besides) into the refracted light that is the Poem in its most beautiful and affecting shape: the form of survival. I always applaud Tran’s bravery in the face of this world we molded out of chingazos, vast and unruly. This book screams and bites and protects all the people who think of themselves as the smallest dot.”
— Raul Ruiz, author of "Mustard"