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Time Is a Mother
Cover of Time Is a Mother
Time Is a Mother
An instant New York Times bestseller!
The highly anticipated collection of poems from the award-winning writer Ocean Vuong

How else do we return to ourselves but to fold
The page so it points to the good part
 
In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, 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.
An instant New York Times bestseller!
The highly anticipated collection of poems from the award-winning writer Ocean Vuong

How else do we return to ourselves but to fold
The page so it points to the good part
 
In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, 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.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    I

     

    Snow Theory

    This is the best day ever
    I haven't killed a thing since 2006
    The darkness out there, wet as a newborn
    I dog-eared the book & immediately
    Thought of masturbation
    How else do we return to ourselves but to fold
    The page so it points to the good part
    Another country burning on TV
    What we'll always have is something we lost
    In the snow, the dry outline of my mother
    Promise me you won't vanish again, I said
    She lay there awhile, thinking it over
    One by one the houses turned off their lights
    I lay down over her outline, to keep her true
    Together we made an angel
    It looked like something being destroyed in a blizzard
    I haven't killed a thing since

About the Author-
  • 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. 
     
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 21, 2022
    Vuong’s powerful follow-up to Night Sky with Exit Wounds does more than demonstrate poetic growth: it deepens and extends an overarching project with 27 new poems that reckon with loss and impermanence. Braiding past and present, Vuong’s speakers contextualize personal traumas within larger systems of dehumanization. Gold becomes a key visual motif for capitalist tendencies: “There is sunlight here, golden enough to take to the bank” and “Because everyone knows yellow pain, pressed into American letters, turns to gold.” His skillful technique is evident in elegies such as “Dear Rose,” which describes a mother’s life punctuated by poignant asides (“are you reading this dear/ reader are you my mom yet/ I cannot find her without you”). “Dear T” offers a meditation on the artistic process: “look—a bit of ink on the pad/ & we’re running down the street again/ after the thunderstorm/ platelets still plenty// in veins beneath your cheek.” Yet there’s a new, biting insouciance and self-awareness in Vuong’s voice, “Oh no. The sadness is intensifying. How rude,” turning his trademark epigrammatic flair to darkly humorous effect: “Because when a man & a man/ walk hand in hand into a bar/ the joke’s on us.” This fantastic book will reward fans while winning this distinctive poet new ones.

  • AudioFile Magazine Award-winning bestselling author Ocean Vuong narrates a profoundly visceral collection of poetry in which he unfurls his life after the death of his mother. His voice establishes a heartfelt cadence that fills each poem. He evokes a sense of neediness, as well as sad normalcy, through a heavy tone and moderately slow pace. Then there are poems--like "Dear Peter,'' for example--that reveal themselves like a headlong story, with barely any pauses. In those, Vuong's staccato, breathy narration suggests feelings of desperation. He speaks as if his life depends on every word. This work offers a story within a story. Vuong is telling listeners about a particular kind of survival--one that requires moving through and past tragedies. T.E.C. � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Time Is a Mother
Ocean Vuong
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