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Who am I to review Ocean Vuong! See all 3 customer reviews.

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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Verified Purchase. Poet Ocean Vuong spent the first two years of his life in a refugee camp. When he was two, he, His mother, and grandmother settled in the United States. He never knew his father. He grew up hearing the stories of Vietnam from his mother and grandmother. Born in a country he can't remember, and with a father he never knew, and likely asking questions that could never be answered, Vuong did what many of us might do.

He created a past life. Eliot Prize. The collection is comprised of some 35 poems. Several of the poems are directly about his father, and Vuong imagines different reasons and realities for not knowing him. His father was imprisoned. His father is shot and dumped in the ocean, his body washing up on a beach. His father drowns in Newport Beach, California.

His father is caught up in what happened in Vietnam. His father is an American soldier. The family is sailing on a refugee boat, fleeing a burning city. Vuong creates these different realities to fill a void, a painful void, one that leaves the poet experiencing his own "exit wounds. A Little Closer to the Edge Young enough to believe nothing will change them, they step, hand in hand, into the bomb crater. The night full of black teeth. His faux Rolex, weeks from shattering against her cheek, now dims like a miniature moon behind her hair.

In this version, the snake is headless-stilled like a cord unraveled from the lovers' ankles. He lifts her white cotton skirt, revealing another hour. His hand. His hands. The syllables inside them. O father, O foreshadow, press into her-as the field shreds itself with cricket cries. Show me how ruin makes a home out of hip bones.

O mother, O minute hand, teach me how to hold a man the way thirst holds water. Let every river envy our mouths.

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Let every kiss hit the body like a season. Where apples thunder the earth with red hooves. The poem is filled with the kinds of sharp and vivid images and metaphors found throughout the collection - the faux Rolex watch dimming like a miniature moon, a home made of hip bones, a night full of black teeth, a headless snake, a field shredding itself with cricket cries.

Vuong creates jarring, often disquieting, abrupt and unexpected pictures, almost forcing us to acknowledge a truth in these self-created realties. Vuong, in addition to the Whiting Award and the T.

His poems have been published in numerous literary and poetry journals, and he is the author of Burnings The poems of "Night Sky with Exit Wounds" are often graphic; several of the poems are about sex. Many of the poems imply that the absent father has led the poet on his own search for his fundamental identity. Tinged at times with anger, sadness, and yearning, it is a stunning, haunting collection. He writes in a deeply affecting way about his experiences — about sadness, beauty, family and war — and despite having little in common with him, his words make me feel like we have everything in common.

The beauty of his poetry is its universality, despite being based on his very specific life experiences. I was a lit major in school and have read endless amounts of poetry, but Ocean Vuong is my favorite poet. You WILL not regret it. I loved the kindle version so much, I want to buy it again in print so I can go around showing it to everyone.

Vuong has raised the bar for good contemporary poets and I shudder to aspire to his creative genius. Seriously, buy this book. This was a heartfelt, interesting collection with some experimental styles. Personally I didn't feel like the unique formatting for some of the poems really benefited them and I sometimes had trouble finding Ocean's voice in the poems I hadn't already heard him read aloud. There were some metaphors I could not wrap my head around and I was sometimes confused about the speaker of the poem.

However, each poem is beautiful and the story about family and war linked with love and circumstance is powerful. I think I may just prefer listening to Ocean read his own poems than to read them myself after reading this collection. Mesmerizing, unforgettable, and a heart open in your hand. Vuong holds back nothing. This is one to reread and keep on the desk. To hold tight to the connection of why we write! In the museum of the heart there are two headless people building a burning house. There was always the shotgun above Your name changed when touched by gravity.

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