In his haunting and fearless debut, Ocean Vuong walks a tightrope of historic and personal violences, creating an interrogation of the American body as a borderless space of both failure and triumph. At once vulnerable and redemptive, dreamlike and visceral, compassionate and unforgiving, these poems seek a myriad existence without forgetting the prerequisite of self-preservation in a world bent on extinguishing its othered voices. Vuong’s poems show, through breath, cadence, and unrepentant enthrallment, that a gentle palm on a chest can calm the most necessary of hungers.
Praise for Ocean Vuong
Reading Vuong is like watching a fish move: he manages the varied currents of English with muscled intuition….His lines are both long and short, his pose narrative and lyric, his diction formal and insouciant. From the outside, Vuong has fashioned a poetry of inclusion.
— The New Yorker
[A] masterpiece that captures, with elegance, the raw sorrows and joys of human existence.
— Buzzfeed Books
About Ocean Vuong
Born in Saigon, Vietnam and raised in Hartford, Connecticut in a working class family of nail salon and factory laborers, he was educated at nearby Manchester Community College before transferring to Pace University to study International Marketing. Without completing his first term, he dropped out of Business school and enrolled at Brooklyn College, where he graduated with a BA in Nineteenth Century American Literature. He subsequently received his MFA in Poetry from NYU.
He currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts where he serves as an Associate Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass-Amherst.