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April 5, 2022





The highly anticipated collection of poems from the award-winning writer Ocean Vuong

How else do we return to ourselves but to fold
The page so it points to the good part
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.


The author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky With Exit Wounds, winner of the 2016 Whiting Award, the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize, and a 2019 MacArthur fellow, Vuong writes directly to our humanity without losing sight of the current moment. These poems represent a more innovative and daring experimentation with language and form, illuminating how the themes we perennially live in and question are truly inexhaustible. Bold and prescient, and a testament to tenderness in the face of violence, Time Is a Mother is a return and a forging forth all at once.


WINNER of the T.S. Eliot Prize

WINNER of the Whiting Award

WINNER of the Thom Gunn Award

WINNER of the Forward Prize

 U.S. edition from

Copper Canyon Press

Italian edition from

La Nave di Teseo

 French edition from

Mémoire d'encrier 

 Spanish edition from

Vaso Roto Ediciones

On earth - Vietnamese Cover.jpg

Vietnamese edition from


 Swedish edition from


Vuong Nachthimmel.png

 German edition from Hanser Literaturverlage

Night Sky - Portuguese Cover.jpg

 Portuguese edition from

Editora Âyiné

Soon in Norwegian, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, and Korean

WINNER of the T.S. Eliot Prize

WINNER of the Whiting Award

WINNER of the Thom Gunn Award

WINNER of the Forward Prize

Finalist: the Kate Tufts Discovery Award

Finalist: the Lambda Literary Award

A New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016

A Best Book of the Year at:

The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Huffington Post, NPR, Publishers Weekly, The Sunday Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, The Telegraph,   Irish Times, Library Journal, Buzzfeed, Bustle, Entropy Magazine, BookThug

"There is a powerful emotional undertow to these poems that springs from Mr. Vuong’s sincerity and candor, and from his ability to capture specific moments in time with both photographic clarity and a sense of the evanescence of all earthly things."

                                        --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"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

"[A] compellingly assured debut, the definitive arrival of a significant voice."

                                      --T.S. Eliot Prize citation 

"[Vuong's] debut reveals a master of juxtaposition willing to tell difficult stories with courage...Once heard, this is a voice that does not leave you."

                                        --The Guardian 

"Capacious and startling, it is a book to read and re-read, set to become part of the canon."

                                       --Huffington Post 

"[P]ossessed of an astounding emotional maturity and depth...Extraordinary." 

                                         --Financial Times

"A stunning introduction to a young poet who writes with both assurance and vulnerability. Visceral, tender and lyrical, fleet and agile, these poems unflinchingly face the legacies of violence and cultural displacement but they also assume a position of wonder before the world."

                                        --2016 Whiting Award citation 

"Nearly every poem ended in a way that left me saying "mmmmm" with pleasure or admiration or the quiet of feeling stunned by such beautiful words."

                                        --Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist 


                                        --Los Angeles Times 

"Ocean Vuong is the Walt Whitman of Vietnamese American literature. Lyrical, expansive, sexual, provocative, he sings of the Vietnamese body and of Vietnamese history."

                                         --Viet Thanh Nguyen

"Vuong’s words smolder and uplift, crafting a vast language of hope."

                                         --Teen Vogue

"An important new voice."

                                         --The Economist 

"[A] debut that will cement Vuong’s status as one of the most important new poets writing today."

                                          --Rain Taxi

"A poet that debuted on the American poetry scene last year and took it completely by storm, Ocean Vuong’s poetry has a depth and a complexity that you can’t help but become completely obsessed with."


"The voice of so many of these poems is fraught, edgy, desperate...while each new body encountered offers, if not the potential for new life, then at least temporary rescue."

                                           --Times Literary Supplement 

"These are poems that, seemingly out of necessity, harvest their speaker’s experiences for the beauty, light, and life they contain."

                                         --Harvard Review

"[Vuong] takes from Pound the ability to eternalize a moment."



"[A] haunting and fearless debut."

                                         --Publishers Weekly 

"In Vuong’s Night Sky, the entry and exit wounds are real, torn open by gunshot and “misfired” words, but his poems insist we can be made whole by rapture."

                                          --San Francisco Chronicle 

"The writer of our generation."

                                            --Affinity Magazine


"Night Sky with Exit Wounds is the kind of book that soon becomes worn with love. You will want to crease every page to come back to it, to underline every other line because each word resonates with power."



"Vuong’s powerful voice explores passion, violence, history, identity—all with a tremendous humanity."



"...[T]errifying, heartbreaking, surreal, and lyrical–I’m not quite sure how a poet can fit so much humanity into so few words. ]Vuong] stands at the feet of American poetry and unties  the masters’ shoelaces. Night Sky with Exit Wounds is a must read and re-read, a book that will be cherished."

                                         --Lambda Literary Review

"An important new voice in American poetry."

                                         —Beloit Poetry Journal

Vuong’s major contribution in Night Sky With Exit Wounds is to push back against the inclination to let fear define the exile’s life.

                                          --LA Review of Books

"At a time when poets are resigned to making boredom a commodity, he reminds us that the limits of intimacy are an exhilarating frontier, and that the most urgent communications begin with the overture of letting down one’s defenses."

                                           --The Rumpus

"This is the one to read. Every poem beats with exigency and passion, and his work is complicated—spanning history and time and blood and heartbreak and hope."


"The operatic voice of the book is vulnerable and unpredictable. It is an impressive...moving book about painful and important subjects – and is the work of a young poet who might, excitingly, say anything next."

                                            --The Sunday Times

"This is one of those books that really make me feel lucky to be alive in this time."


"Vuong’s pitch-perfect approach, through the legacy of war and forced displacement, shows us why we can’t afford to let him remember them alone."

                                           --The London Magazine

"An exciting and compelling book."

                                           --Irish Times

'[O]ne reason Vuong’s debut collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds feels so exquisite, so necessary, is that he offers another way to hold the present moment. Vuong refuses to cede long and complex cultural histories to the flashiness of the only-now.'

                                           --Georgia Review

"[M]asterfully crafted, utterly heartbreaking...Night Sky is a sublime, hominine gesture from a championed poet, brimming with gripping reflections of life and the small buds of hope that we carry inside us all. 

                                            --Habitat Magazine 

Also by Ocean Vuong:



YesYes Books, 2013

Limited Edition / Out of Print

Sibling Rivalry Press, 2010

Limited Edition / Out of Print

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