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Bookshop Santa Cruz presents: An evening with Ocean Vuong
June 8 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm | Cowell Ranch Hay Barn
In this deeply intimate second poetry collection (in paperback June 6th), 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. This event is presented by Bookshop Santa Cruz, and co-sponsored by The Humanities Institute.
Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds and the New York Times bestselling novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. A recipient of the 2019 MacArthur “Genius Grant,” he is also the winner of the Whiting Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. His writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
“Piercing . . . The poems in Time Is a Mother give us a path to examine the complexities of what it means to lose a mother, and what it means to embrace family and the self even when we want to look away. In Vuong’s tender yet unflinching words, we are reminded that only a mother can carry a beating heart within her body.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“Like Orpheus descending into the underworld, Vuong takes us to the white-hot limits of his grief, writing with visionary fervor about love, agony, and time . . . Aesthetically ambitious and ferociously original . . . Here, he breaks open and rebuilds.” —Esquire, “The Best Books of Spring 2022”
“That’s the essence of Vuong’s talent: he alchemizes deeply individual experiences with universal emotions into what is both familiar and new. . . . We need no more proof of Vuong’s importance in the poetic canon.” —Chicago Review of Books