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Night Sky with Exit Wounds

by Ocean Vuong

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5181535,201 (4.05)29
A haunting debut that is simultaneously dreamlike and visceral, vulnerable and redemptive, and risks the painful rewards of emotional honesty.
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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
This award-winning collection of poetry showcases Vuong's talent for brutal imagery and evocative wordplay. Though I can't say how many, if any, are truly autobiographical, it appears that the poet draws on his own family history and experience as immigrants from Vietnam after surviving war, and his own experiences as a gay man, for much of his material. "Aubade with Burning City," for example, starts with a note that Armed Forces Radio gave the code to evacuate Saigon in 1975 by playing "White Christmas" and proceeds to intersperse lines from the song throughout in a brilliant, intense poem intertwining a man and woman in a hotel with war in the city. "Self Portrait as Exit Wounds" was another favorite of mine, using the symbolic language of a bullet's path to bring us through several intense scenes. I didn't always "get it." I had trouble with some of the more abstract language, trying to figure out what he was describing. One poem, with numbers scattered down the page and the language actually in notes at the bottom of the page, had a form that distracted me from really appreciating it. Overall, I'm glad I read it. ( )
  bell7 | Apr 28, 2021 |
Intimate and delicate explorations of the big issues facing each human - family, love, romance, grief, ennui. ( )
  HippieLunatic | Apr 27, 2021 |
I read every word but understand only a shattered world of painful shards of cut and held connections and a constant imagery of grenades and their potential to destroy. ( )
  quondame | Apr 20, 2021 |
Full review at Little Book Jockey. I couldn't breathe while reading some of these poems. They reached into me and carved out a piece of my chest. I could feel and see the pain in the words on the page. ( )
  littlebookjockey | Sep 15, 2020 |
I did not expect such a range of volume in this collection. Vuong oscillates between poems that are quiet, contemplative, and explosive. The entire work is undergirded with an intense gaze of cultural and personal history.
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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A haunting debut that is simultaneously dreamlike and visceral, vulnerable and redemptive, and risks the painful rewards of emotional honesty.

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