Poet and essayist Ocean Vuong was born in Vietnam and settled in Connecticut with several family members when he was two years old. He is the author of the best-selling, Night Sky with Exit Wounds. A New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, the debut was a winner of the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, the T.S. Eliot Prize, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. In awarding the T.S. Eliot, chair of judges Bill Herbert said, “There is an incredible power in the story of this collection,” said Herbert. “There is a mystery at the heart of the book about generational karma, this migrant figure coming to terms with his relationship with his past, his relationship with his father and his relationship with his sexuality. All of that is borne out in some quite extraordinary imagery. The view of the world from this book is quite stunning.”
A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize.
Vuong’s writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as a 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker, alongside Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon and Warsan Shire, Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers” and has been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS NewsHour, Teen Vogue, VICE, The Fantastic Man, and The New Yorker.
He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass-Amherst. He is currently at work on his first novel.