TIME IS A MOTHER
Finalist for the Griffin Prize
The highly anticipated collection of poems from the award-winning writer Ocean Vuong
In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong searches for life among the aftershocks of his personal and social loss, 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.
NIGHT SKY WITH EXIT WOUNDS
"[A] debut that will cement Vuong’s status as one of the most important new poets writing today."
"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."
"These are poems that, seemingly out of necessity, harvest their speaker’s experiences for the beauty, light, and life they contain."
"[Vuong] takes from Pound the ability to eternalize a moment."
"[A] haunting and fearless debut."
"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."
"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
"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."
"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] 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."
"Capacious and startling, it is a book to read and re-read, set to become part of the canon."
"[P]ossessed of an astounding emotional maturity and depth...Extraordinary."
--Los Angeles Times
"[A] masterpiece that captures, with elegance, the raw sorrows and joys of human existence."
"An important new voice."
"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."
'[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.'
"[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.
"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
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
Limited Edition Chapbooks
Sibling Rivalry Press, 2010
Out of Print
Print Run: 500
Out of Print
Print run: 300
WINNER of the T.S. Eliot Prize
WINNER of the Whiting Award
WINNER of the Thom Gunn Award
WINNER of the Forward Prize