Ocean Vuong

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Ocean Vuong
Vuong in 2014
Vuong in 2014
Born (1988-10-14) October 14, 1988 (age 30)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
OccupationWriter, poet, professor
Alma materBrooklyn College, City University of New York
GenrePoetry, Essays, Novel
Notable awardsRuth Lilly/Sargent Rosenberg fellowship; The Pushcart Prize; T.S. Eliot Prize

Ocean Vuong (born Vương Quốc Vinh, Vương as Vietnamese last name, Vinh as Vietnamese first name;[1] October 14, 1988) is a Vietnamese-American poet, essayist and novelist. He is a recipient of the 2014 Ruth Lilly/Sargent Rosenberg fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a 2016 Whiting Award, and the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize for his poetry.[2] His debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, was published in 2019.

Personal life[edit]

Vuong was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on a rice farm. In 1990, he immigrated to Hartford, Connecticut, United States with six relatives[2][3] after spending a year in a refugee camp in the Philippines.[4] Vuong, who suspects dyslexia runs in his family,[5] was the first in his family to learn to read,[4] at the age of eleven.[3]

Vuong describes himself as being raised by women. His mother, a manicurist, gave him the name of Ocean. During a conversation with a customer, Vuong's mother pronounced the word "beach" as "bitch". The customer suggested she use the word "ocean" to substitute for "beach". After learning the definition of the word ocean—a body of water which connects the United States and Vietnam—she renamed him Ocean.[3]

Vuong is openly gay.[6]


Vuong received his B.A. in Nineteenth Century English Literature at Brooklyn College, within the City University of New York system, where he studied under poet and novelist Ben Lerner.[7][8]

His poems and essays have been published in various journals, including Poetry,[2] The Nation,[9] Tri-Quarterly,[10] Guernica,[11] The Rumpus,[12] Boston Review,[13] Narrative Magazine, New Republic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.[14]

His first chapbook, Burnings (Sibling Rivalry Press), was a 2011 "Over The Rainbow" selection for notable books on nonheterosexuality by the American Library Association.[15] His second chapbook, No (YesYes Books), was released in 2013.[16] His debut full-length collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds,[17] was released by Copper Canyon Press in 2016; as of April that year, the publisher ran a second printing.[18] His first novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, was published by Penguin Press on June 4, 2019.

Currently, Vuong lives in Northampton, Massachusetts[19] and is an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Writers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.[19] He is a Kundiman fellow.[20]

Awards and fellowships[edit]




List of poems[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
Trevor 2016 Vuong, Ocean (March 25, 2016). "Trevor".[31] Buzzfeed.
Someday I'll love Ocean Vuong 2015 Vuong, Ocean (May 4, 2015). "Someday I'll love Ocean Vuong". The New Yorker. 91 (11): 50–51.
Scavengers 2016 Vuong, Ocean (November 7, 2016). "Scavengers". The New Yorker. 92 (36): 51.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous 2014 Vuong, Ocean (December 2014). Poetry Magazine. Winter 2014-2015.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Vessel for Peace: An Interview with Writer Ocean Vuong". The Well&Often Reader. February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Ocean Vuong". Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. 2018-05-11. Retrieved 2018-05-12.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ a b c "How a Poet Named Ocean Means to Fix the English Language". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  4. ^ a b "Review: 'Night Sky With Exit Wounds,' Verses From Ocean Vuong". The New York Times. 2016-05-09. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  5. ^ Armitstead, Claire (3 October 2017). "War baby: the amazing story of Ocean Vuong, former refugee and prize-winning poet". the Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Ocean Vuong: The TNB Self-Interview". 1 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Brooklyn College | Ocean Sounds: A Brooklyn College Alumnus Reflects on His Life". Brooklyn.cuny.edu. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  8. ^ "Brooklyn College | Mentoring Demands Respect, Says Ben Lerner About His Work with Ocean Vuong". Brooklyn.cuny.edu. 2013-06-14. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  9. ^ Vuong, Ocean (2014-01-28). "Eurydice". The Nation. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  10. ^ "|". Triquarterly.org. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  11. ^ "Ocean Vuong: I Remember Anyway - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics". Guernicamag.com. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  12. ^ "Ocean Vuong". The Rumpus.net. 2014-08-28. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  13. ^ "Poet's Sampler: Ocean Vuong". Boston Review. 2014-09-08. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  14. ^ "Ocean Vuong". as.nyu.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  15. ^ "2012 Over the Rainbow List–74 LGBT Books for Adult Readers! – Over the Rainbow Books". Glbtrt.ala.org. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  16. ^ "yesyesbooks". yesyesbooks. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  17. ^ "Night Sky With Exit Wounds, Poetry by Ocean Vuong". Copper Canyon Press. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  18. ^ "Copper Canyon Press - Timeline". Facebook. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  19. ^ a b "oceanvuong". oceanvuong. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  20. ^ a b "Fellows". Kundiman. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  21. ^ "Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  22. ^ "Welcome to Pushcart Press: Publishers of The Pushcart Prize". Pushcartprize.com. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  23. ^ "The Elizabeth George Foundation". Elizabethgeorgeonline.com. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  24. ^ "Ocean Vuong wins the 2013 Beloit Poetry Journal Chad Walsh Poetry Prize". Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Ocean Vuong - 2012 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prizediacritics.org". 18 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  26. ^ aapone (31 December 1979). "University & College Poetry Prizes". University & College Poetry Prizes. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Ocean Vuong - Narrative Magazine". 8 September 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Ocean Vuong". www.whiting.org. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Congratulations to the Forward Prize winners – The Poetry Society". poetrysociety.org.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  30. ^ Cain, Sian (15 January 2018). "TS Eliot prize goes to Ocean Vuong's 'compellingly assured' debut collection". the Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Poem: "Trevor" By Ocean Vuong". BuzzFeed News.

External link[edit]

Media related to Ocean Vuong at Wikimedia Commons