Friday, March 24, 2017

Poetry & Migration: Featuring Ocean Vuong

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March 24, 2017 #WeComeFromEverything

Self-Portrait as Exit Wounds

Ocean Vuong

About This Poem


"I wrote this poem as a response to how brown and yellow bodies are often depicted, or rather, written over, in Western literature. I wanted to reclaim that narrative while still signaling the legacy of violence and reductive portrayal of Asian bodies by Western writers. The poem traces the path of a bullet, depicting the ruptures it creates not as endings, but as points of remembering, therefore re-suturing a narrative made possible only through (and because of) loss. I wanted, ultimately, to acknowledge that the life of displacement is inextricable from violence, and yet in spite of that, a story about survival can still be told."
—Ocean Vuong


Join Us: Because We Come From Everything


This week we'll be showcasing poems that speak to the theme of immigration, as part of the Poetry Coalition's national initiative Because We Come From Everything: Poetry & Migration.


Join this initiative by learning more about your local community. Visit the American Immigrant Council for state-specific data and facts about the immigrant population where you live.


And share your favorite lines from this week's poems with #WeComeFromEverything.


Read more poems by Ocean Vuong.


Read more poems, essays, and books about migration and immigration.


Read this week's other poems on migration from Poem-a-Day.


Ocean Vuong is the author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). He teaches at New York University and lives in New York City.

Poetry by Vuong


Night Sky with Exit Wounds

(Copper Canyon Press, 2016) 

"Hospital: strange lights" by Jean Valentine


"The Language of the Birds" by Richard Siken


"Bomb Crater Sky" by Lam Thi My Da



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