First this is Saeed Jones fault because he keeps posting pieces of Ocean’s poems, reminding me why I like his work so much.
First I suck at Poet a Day
First I rock for even trying to do this
First Ocean Vuong is a heart wrecking, earth moving, pen master that makes me want to move to New York so I can know I am breathing the same air, and perhaps somehow his talent will drift through taxi exhaust, pipe fumes, and Tuesday refuge pick up right into my lungs. A girl has got to dream, doesn’t she?
If you have never read Ocean Vuong (who in 2016 when his book Night Sky With Exit Wounds from Copper Canyon Press no one will ever admit to having not read him) and not fallen in love with poetry, the line, the word, then your heart stopped beating long before this blog was ever written. He has won took many accolades to list, and I am not as thorough as likes of Poetry Foundation where you can learn about those all, but I can tell you he is the reason poetry is as vital as breath, and has value. So much value that if you are wanting Vuong’s chapbook Burnings (SiblingRivalryPress, 2010) look to pay anywhere between $200.00-$850.00.
This is the opening “On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous”:
See what I mean? You now want to read anything Vuong writes. No need to wait. Here are a couple of my favorites:
He came into my room like a god
stepping out of a painting.
Back from the wind, he called to me
with a mouthful of crickets–
scent of ash and lilac rising
from his hair. I waited
for the night to wane
into years before reaching
for his hands, my finger tracing
the broken lines in his palm.
My shadow beneath his shadow
across the hardwood. And we danced
like that: father and son–
our bodies like a pair of legs
over a broken chair.
from The Paris American 2014
From Youtube, a reading by Ocean Vuong
The most recent I can find of him, but you need to turn up the sound up full blast