Reading from ‘Time Is a Mother’
“I am just going to listen and leave. But something happened in that room….”
In this video, poet Ocean Vuong reads from ‘Nothing.’ A poem part of the acclaimed collection of poetry called ‘Time Is a Mother,’ 2022, and written in Emily Dickinson’s room. Read more …
“I grew up in New England. And I always wanted to pay homage to this region by writing a poem about shoveling snow,” Ocean Vuong introduces the reading of a poem from ‘Time Is a Mother’. Vuong tells the story behind the poem “which was troubling” him for a long time until he was invited to work in Emily Dickinson’s room for one hour. “Naturally, I am not going to write anything in there”, he said, “I am just going to listen and leave. But something happened in that room….”
“We are shoveling snow, this man and I, our backs coming closer along the drive. It’s so quiet I can hear every flake on my coat. I used to cry in a genre no one read. What a joke, they said, on fire. ”
Ocean Vuong was born in 1988 in Saigon, Vietnam, and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, in a working-class family of a nail salon and factory laborers. He was educated at nearby Manchester Community College before transferring to Pace University to study International Marketing. Without completing his first term, he dropped out of Business school and enrolled at Brooklyn College, where he graduated with a BA in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. He subsequently received his MFA in Poetry from NYU. He currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, and serves as a tenured Professor in the Creative Writing MFA Program at NYU. He published the bestselling novel, ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ in 2019, and it has been translated into 37 languages. His first collection of poetry, ‘Night Sky with Exit Wounds’ appeared in 2016. Vuong is a recipient of a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant and the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. In 2022 Vuong published the collection of poetry’ Time Is a Mother’
Ocean Vuong was reading (before being interviewed) at the Louisiana Literature festival, at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, in August 2022.
Cameras: Simon Weyhe & Rasmus Quistgaard
Edit: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Produced by Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2022
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.
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