+THRIVE READING SERIES No: 006

NIGHT SKY WITH EXIT WOUNDS
OCEAN VUONG

+ REVIEW

"Tenderness is a thing to be beaten into."

Every once in a while I come across a poet whose writing style, use of words and imagery completely obliterates me. Ocean Vuong is such a poet.  Night Sky with Exit Wounds is lyrical, evocative, harrowing and brilliant.

"The difference between prayer & mercy is how you move the tongue."

Vuong poems are chants, bellows, and whispers. Depending on where you start reading the collection and how prepared you are to delve into a work saturated with images of family, discovery and a healthy dose of violence, the collection completely enthralls the reader.

"How a horse runs until it breaks

into weather—into wind."

There is no reading this collection slowly. The marathon began the minute I picked up Night Sky with Exit Wounds and did not end until I was done.

That being said, I did not love all the poems in the collection. Some were because of the writing style. Vuong plays with structure sometimes to his benefit, and other times to the detriment of the poems themselves. 

Regardless, I felt that I understood the raw emotion each poem evoked.  It was clear that Vuong loves writing in the way he infused metaphor culture, history and mythology in the intimate explorations of each poem, thereby transforming the most mundane circumstances into heart-wrenching poems.

"Look how light the earth is—afterward."

LAST THOUGHTS

+ 4.5 Stars

As a whole, Night Sky with Exit Wounds is worth the read. Ocean Vuong is a great poet and one whose career I am eager to follow.

QUOTED POEMS

1.      Into the breach
2.      Devotion
3.      Trojan
4.      Deto(nation)

Release: 2016
Purchase: Copper Canyon Press