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Summary : Winner of the 2016 Whiting Award One of Publishers Weekly's "Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2016" One of Lit Hub's "10 must-read poetry collections for April" “Reading Vuong is like watching a fish move: he manages the varied currents of English with muscled intuition. His poems are by turns graceful and wonderstruck. 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 "Night Sky with Exit Wounds establishes Vuong as a fierce new talent to be reckoned with...This book is a masterpiece that captures, with elegance, the raw sorrows and joys of human existence."—Buzzfeed's "Most Exciting New Books of 2016" "This original, sprightly wordsmith of tumbling pulsing phrases pushes poetry to a new level...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 "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."—LitHub "Vuong’s powerful voice explores passion, violence, history, identity—all with a tremendous humanity."—Slate “In his impressive debut collection, Vuong, a 2014 Ruth Lilly fellow, writes beauty into—and culls from—individual, familial, and historical traumas. Vuong exists as both observer and observed throughout the book as he explores deeply personal themes such as poverty, depression, queer sexuality, domestic abuse, and the various forms of violence inflicted on his family during the Vietnam War. Poems float and strike in equal measure as the poet strives to transform pain into clarity. Managing this balance becomes the crux of the collection, as when he writes, ‘Your father is only your father/ until one of you forgets. Like how the spine/ won’t remember its wings/ no matter how many times our knees/ kiss the pavement.’”—Publishers Weekly "What a treasure [Ocean Vuong] is to us. What a perfume he's crushed and rendered of his heart and soul. What a gift this book is."—Li-Young Lee Torso of Air Suppose you do change your life. & the body is more than a portion of night—sealed with bruises. Suppose you woke & found your shadow replaced by a black wolf. The boy, beautiful & gone. So you take the knife to the wall instead. You carve & carve until a coin of light appears & you get to look in, at last, on happiness. The eye staring back from the other side— waiting. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Ocean Vuong attended Brooklyn College. He is the author of two chapbooks as well as a full-length collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds. A 2014 Ruth Lilly Fellow and winner of the 2016 Whiting Award, Ocean Vuong lives in New York City, New York.
Summary : A haunting debut that is simultaneously dreamlike and visceral, vulnerable and redemptive, and risks the painful rewards of emotional honesty.
Summary : Winner of the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize Winner of the 2017 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection A Guardian / Daily Telegraph Book of the Year PBS Summer Recommendation An extraordinary debut from a young Vietnamese American, Night Sky with Exit Wounds is a book of poetry unlike any other. Steeped in war and cultural upheaval and wielding a fresh new language, Vuong writes about the most profound subjects – love and loss, conflict, grief, memory and desire – and attends to them all with lines that feel newly-minted, graceful in their cadences, passionate and hungry in their tender, close attention: ‘...the chief of police/facedown in a pool of Coca-Cola./A palm-sized photo of his father soaking/beside his left ear.’ This is an unusual, important book: both gentle and visceral, vulnerable and assured, and its blend of humanity and power make it one of the best first collections of poetry to come out of America in years. ‘These are poems of exquisite beauty, unashamed of romance, and undaunted by looking directly into the horrors of war, the silences of history. One of the most important debut collections for a generation.’ Andrew McMillan
Summary : Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction! An instant New York Times Bestseller! Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal! Named one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Oprah.com, Huffington Post, The A.V. Club, Nylon, The Week, The Rumpus, The Millions, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, and more. “A lyrical work of self-discovery that’s shockingly intimate and insistently universal…Not so much briefly gorgeous as permanently stunning.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.
Summary : The long-awaited second novel from David Chariandy, whose debut, Soucouyant, was nominated for nearly every major literary prize in Canada and published internationally. An intensely beautiful, searingly powerful, tightly constructed novel, Brother explores questions of masculinity, family, race, and identity as they are played out in a Scarborough housing complex during the sweltering heat and simmering violence of the summer of 1991. With shimmering prose and mesmerizing precision, David Chariandy takes us inside the lives of Michael and Francis. They are the sons of Trinidadian immigrants, their father has disappeared and their mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home. Coming of age in The Park, a cluster of town houses and leaning concrete towers in the disparaged outskirts of a sprawling city, Michael and Francis battle against the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry -- teachers stream them into general classes; shopkeepers see them only as thieves; and strangers quicken their pace when the brothers are behind them. Always Michael and Francis escape into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness that cuts through their neighbourhood, where they are free to imagine better lives for themselves. Propelled by the pulsing beats and styles of hip hop, Francis, the older of the two brothers, dreams of a future in music. Michael's dreams are of Aisha, the smartest girl in their high school whose own eyes are firmly set on a life elsewhere. But the bright hopes of all three are violently, irrevocably thwarted by a tragic shooting, and the police crackdown and suffocating suspicion that follow. With devastating emotional force David Chariandy, a unique and exciting voice in Canadian literature, crafts a heartbreaking and timely story about the profound love that exists between brothers and the senseless loss of lives cut short with the shot of a gun.
Summary : The new edition of a prize-winning memoir-in-poems, a meditation on life as a queer Indigenous man--available for the first time in the United States "i am one of those hopeless romantics who wants every blowjob to be transformative." Billy-Ray Belcourt's debut poetry collection, This Wound Is a World, is "a prayer against breaking," writes trans Anishinaabe and Métis poet Gwen Benaway. "By way of an expansive poetic grace, Belcourt merges a soft beauty with the hardness of colonization to shape a love song that dances Indigenous bodies back into being. This book is what we've been waiting for." Part manifesto, part memoir, This Wound Is a World is an invitation to "cut a hole in the sky / to world inside." Belcourt issues a call to turn to love and sex to understand how Indigenous peoples shoulder their sadness and pain without giving up on the future. His poems upset genre and play with form, scavenging for a decolonial kind of heaven where "everyone is at least a little gay." Presented here with several additional poems, this prize-winning collection pursues fresh directions for queer and decolonial theory as it opens uncharted paths for Indigenous poetry in North America. It is theory that sings, poetry that marshals experience in the service of a larger critique of the coloniality of the present and the tyranny of sexual and racial norms.
Summary : *WINNER OF THE T. S. ELIOT PRIZE 2015* *WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES / PETERS FRASER + DUNLOP YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2015* *SHORTLISTED FOR THE FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST COLLECTION 2015* There is a Chinese proverb that says: ‘It is more profitable to raise geese than daughters.’ But geese, like daughters, know the obligation to return home. In her exquisite first collection, Sarah Howe explores a dual heritage, journeying back to Hong Kong in search of her roots. With extraordinary range and power, the poems build into a meditation on hybridity, intermarriage and love – what meaning we find in the world, in art, and in each other. Crossing the bounds of time, race and language, this is an enthralling exploration of self and place, of migration and inheritance, and introduces an unmistakable new voice in British poetry.
Summary : “Kim Addonizio’s voice lifts from the page, alive and biting—unleashing wit with a ruthless observation.”—San Francisco Book Review Passionate and irreverent, Mortal Trash transports the readers into a world of wit, lament, and desire. In a section called “Over the Bright and Darkened Lands,” canonical poems are torqued into new shapes. “Except Thou Ravish Me,” reimagines John Donne’s famous “Batter my heart, Three-person’d God” as told from the perspective of a victim of domestic violence. Like Pablo Neruda, Addonizio hears “a swarm of objects that call without being answered”: hospital crash carts, lawn gnomes, Evian bottles, wind-up Christmas creches, edible panties, cracked mirrors. Whether comic, elegiac, or ironic, the poems in Mortal Trash remind us of the beauty and absurdity of our time on earth. From “Scrapbook”: We believe in the one-ton rose and the displaced toilet equally. Our blues assume you understand not much, and try to be alive, just as we do, and that it may be helpful to hold the hand of someone as lost as you.
Summary : Nothing Ever Dies, Viet Thanh Nguyen writes. All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the author of the bestselling novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both the Americans and the Vietnamese.
Summary : "A poet to watch."—O Magazine "I tell the truth, but I try to be kind about it."—Camille Rankine in 12 Questions Named "a poet to watch" by O Magazine, Camille Rankine's debut collection is a series of provocations and explorations. Rankine's short, lyric poems are sharp, agonized, and exquisite, exploring themes of doubt and identity. The collection's sense of continuity and coherence comes through recurring poem types, including "still lifes," "instructions," and "symptoms." From "Symptoms of Aftermath": …When I am saved, a slim nurse leans out of the white light. I need to hear your voice, sweetheart. I see my escape. I walk into the water. The sky is blue like the ocean, which is blue like the sky. Camille Rankine is the author of the chapbook Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America's Chapbook Fellowship. The recipient of a 2010 "Discovery" / Boston Review Poetry Prize and a MacDowell fellowship, her poetry appears in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Tin House, and other publications. Currently, she is assistant director of the MFA program in creative writing at Manhattanville College and lives in Harlem.
Summary : Descendants of Vietnam veterans and refugees confront the aftermath of war and, in verse and prose, deliver another kind of war story. Fifty years after the Vietnam War, this anthology by descendants of Vietnam veterans and refugees—American, Vietnamese, Vietnamese Diaspora, Hmong, Australian, and others—confronts war and its aftermath. What emerges is an affecting portrait of the effects of war and family—an intercultural, generational dialogue on silence, memory, landscape, imagination, Agent Orange, displacement, postwar trauma, and the severe realities that are carried home. Including such acclaimed voices as Viet Thanh Nguyen, Karen Russell, Terrance Hayes, Suzan-Lori Parks, Nick Flynn, and Ocean Vuong, Inheriting the War enriches the discourse of the Vietnam War and provides a collective conversation that attempts to transcend the recursion of history. “Each unique work in Inheriting the War embraces a collective that aims to engage through some daring and passionate truths calibrated by bravery.” —Yusef Komunyakaa, from the foreword
Summary : A poetic, passionate and intensely personal exploration of colour written during the final year of Derek Jarman's life -- with a new introduction by Ali Smith. In Chroma, his most poetic and lyrical book, Derek Jarman explores the uses of colour. Shifting across the spectrum and from the medieval to the modern, he draws on the work of great colour theorists from Pliny to Leonardo. Interwoven with these musings are evocative memories from Jarman's childhood and illustrious career, along with reflections on his deteriorating health. Written a year before Jarman’s death, and as his eyesight was failing, this is an intensely personal work; a paean from an artist seeking to memorialise the extraordinary power of colour even while it receded from his own life.
Summary : The award-winning poet reinvents a genre in a stunning work that is both a novel and a poem, both an unconventional re-creation of an ancient Greek myth and a wholly original coming-of-age story set in the present. Geryon, a young boy who is also a winged red monster, reveals the volcanic terrain of his fragile, tormented soul in an autobiography he begins at the age of five. As he grows older, Geryon escapes his abusive brother and affectionate but ineffectual mother, finding solace behind the lens of his camera and in the arms of a young man named Herakles, a cavalier drifter who leaves him at the peak of infatuation. When Herakles reappears years later, Geryon confronts again the pain of his desire and embarks on a journey that will unleash his creative imagination to its fullest extent. By turns whimsical and haunting, erudite and accessible, richly layered and deceptively simple, Autobiography of Red is a profoundly moving portrait of an artist coming to terms with the fantastic accident of who he is. A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist "Anne Carson is, for me, the most exciting poet writing in English today." --Michael Ondaatje "This book is amazing--I haven't discovered any writing in years so marvelously disturbing." --Alice Munro "A profound love story . . . sensuous and funny, poignant, musical and tender." --The New York Times Book Review "A deeply odd and immensely engaging book. . . . [Carson] exposes with passionate force the mythic underlying the explosive everyday." --The Village Voice