Showing all posts tagged: Ocean Vuong

Time is a Mother, By Ocean Vuong

17 May 2022
Time is a Mother, By Ocean Vuong bookcover

Time is a Mother (published by Penguin Random House, 5 April 2022), is a collection of poetry written by Northampton, Massachusetts based Vietnamese writer Ocean Vuong, following the death of his mother in 2019.

In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong searches for life among the aftershocks of his mother’s death, embodying the paradox of sitting within grief while being determined to survive beyond it. Shifting through memory, and in concert with the themes of his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Vuong contends with personal loss, the meaning of family, and the cost of being the product of an American war in America. At once vivid, brave, and propulsive, Vuong’s poems circle fragmented lives to find both restoration as well as the epicenter of the break.

Isabella Cho writing for The Harvard Crimson, says Vuong channels fear to bring forth this bold new collection of work:

The finale of Vuong’s sprawling poetic vision is at once dangerous and peaceful, elegiac and triumphant. Vuong’s text pulses with an attentiveness to fear. It is through this emotion that he renders such luminous meditations on his life, and of the people who have come to change it. Vuong fears, which is to say, he refuses to not love.


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On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong

6 September 2021
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong, book cover

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (published by Penguin Books Australia, 2019), is the debut novel of Vietnamese American writer and poet Ocean Vuong. The story is set around a long letter written by a twenty-something Vietnamese immigrant living in America, nicknamed Little Dog, to his mother, Rose, who is illiterate.

Little Dog’s letter traces his family’s history, prior to his birth, and their relocation to America. He recounts his experiences of being bullied at school, and goes on reveal things his mother did not previously know about him. It is not always a life lived happily though, and domestic violence, racism, and homophobia, are among recurring themes.

Based in part on Vuong’s own life, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous was named as one of the top ten novels of 2019 by the Washington Post, and was also a finalist in the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award. The novel is also set to be adapted for the screen, with American filmmaker Bing Liu directing.


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