17 pages 34 minutes read

Ocean Vuong

Kissing in Vietnamese

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 2014

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Aubade with Burning City” Ocean Vuong (2014)

In this poem Ocean Vuong describes the fall of Saigon. He draws from the memory of what his grandmother told him about the experience, that the American servicemen were told to evacuate once they heard “White Christmas” played on the radio. The poem’s voice alternates back and forth between the lines of White Christmas and the descriptions of the city falling. It shows some of the history and the images of the war that Vuong grew up with as the grandchild and child of refugees.

Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong Ocean Vuong (2015)

This is one of Vuong’s most read and well-known poems. Unlike “Kissing in Vietnamese,” it is less directly focused on the Vietnam War and its after effects, and more centered on the budding of his own personality and his own quest for identity. Still, the poem makes use of imagery from the Vietnam War, including lifeboats and tripwires.

Seventh Circle of Earth” by Ocean Vuong (2016)

In this poem Vuong explores issues of the body, bigotry, and the dangers of being queer in America. The poem opens with a reference to a pair of homosexual women who were burned in their home in Texas because they were gay.