Night Sky With Exit Wounds

Updated: Apr 9

One of the most celebrated poetry books of the year. The New Yorker, The Best Books of Poetry of 2016, New York Times, Critics Pick Boston Globe, Best Books listing NPR, Best Books listing Miami Herald, Best LGBTQ Books San Francisco Chronicle, Top 100 Books of the Year and Library Journal, Best Books of 2016.

Night Sky With Exit Wounds

Suppose you do change your life.

& the body is more than

a portion of night—sealed

with bruises. Suppose you woke

& found your shadow replaced

by a black wolf. The boy, beautiful

& gone. So you take the knife to the wall

instead. You carve & carve

until a coin of light appears

& you get to look in, at last,

on happiness. The eye

staring back from the other side—


Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Ocean Vuong attended Brooklyn College. He is the author of two chapbooks as well as a full-length collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds. A Ruth Lilly Fellow and winner of the Whiting Award, Ocean Vuong lives in New York City.

Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times writes: “The poems in Mr. Vuong’s new collection, Night Sky With Exit Wound – possess a tensile precision reminiscent of Emily Dickinson’s work, combined with a Gerard Manley Hopkins – like appreciation for the sound and rhythms of words. Mr. Vuong can create startling images (a black piano in a field, a wedding-cake couple preserved under glass, a shepherd stepping out of a Caravaggio painting) and make the silences and elisions in his verse speak as potently as his words. There is a powerful emotional undertow to these poems that springs from Mr. Vuong’s sincerity and candor, and from his ability to capture specific moments in time with both photographic clarity and a sense of the evanescence of all earthly things.”

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