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  • Time Is a Mother

  • By: Ocean Vuong
  • Narrated by: Ocean Vuong
  • Length: 1 hr and 43 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (113 ratings)

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Time Is a Mother

By: Ocean Vuong
Narrated by: Ocean Vuong
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Publisher's summary

"Take your time with these poems, and return to them often.” —The Washington Post

The New York Times-bestselling 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 personal and social loss, embodying the paradox of sitting in 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 the meaning of family and the cost of being the product of an American war in America. At once vivid, brave, and propulsive, these 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 fellowship, 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.

©2022 Ocean Vuong (P)2022 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic reviews

“In this highly anticipated second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong ruminates on time. It becomes a character of its own, both an obstacle and motherly, something that can nurture and hold. Written in the aftermath of his mother’s death, Vuong’s poems are raw with grief and darkness, but there are radical moments of joy and resilience even through that. Through these poems, Vuong sings loud and clear of everything worth living for and discovering—just as vividly as he did in his critically acclaimed titles On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Night Sky With Exit Wounds.” —NPR, “Books We Love”

“That’s the essence of Vuong’s talent: he alchemizes deeply individual experiences with universal emotions into what is both familiar and new. . . . We need no more proof of Vuong’s importance in the poetic canon.” —Chicago Review of Books

“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 . . . This fantastic book will reward fans while winning this distinctive poet new ones.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Featured Article: On the Other Side of Grief with Ocean Vuong

In his latest poetry collection, Ocean Vuong gives language to the most universally human experience: grief. We understand the feeling, but in order for us to wrap our heads around it, the definition must be somewhat malleable. Grief can be whatever you need it to be. It’s helpful to think of grief as a longing for the moments and experiences that could have been and all the things left unsaid. We’ve all had something to grieve—and ironically enough, the thing that could return the feeling of connection we need is grief itself.