Ocean Vuong to Visit Campus

Creative writing majors and minors, rejoice. A nationally-recognized poet will visit campus next month for a reading and book signing you won’t want to miss.

Award-winning poet and essayist Ocean Vuong will read and sign his poetry novel “Night Sky With Exit Wounds” at SUNY New Paltz on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

The poetry reading and book signing will take place in Lecture Center 100. It is free and open to the public. The event is being co-sponsored by Department of English, Creative Writing Program, Asian Studies, Career Resource Center, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Programming, Honors Program and Major Connections.

“[Vuong’s] subject matter is both particular to his heritage as well as universal to the human condition,” said Pauline Uchmanowicz, director of the Creative Writing Program. “His work confronts the circumstance of people from diverse backgrounds and orientations, and should have broad appeal to our campus and greater community. As a young, successful writer, he is a good role model for our students—not to mention aspiring writers of all ages. We are very excited he is coming.”

Vuong was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to the United States as a refugee at 2 years old. He grew up in Hartford, Connecticut and earned his bachelor’s degree at Brooklyn College (CUNY). Now an award-winning poet, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts and teaches in University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Currently, he is working on his first novel.

He will bring his critically acclaimed poetry book “Night Sky with Exit Wounds” to SUNY New Paltz next month. The collection of poems, released in 2016, won the Whiting Award, Forward Prize and Thom Gunn Award, as well as being nominated for several others.

Vuong’s poems “explore transformation, desire and violent loss,” according to a press release detailing his work.

About writing poems, Vuong has said, “Besides being a vehicle for the poem’s movement, I see form as an extension of the poem’s content, a space where tensions can be investigated even further. The way the poem moves through space, its enjambment or end-stopped line breaks, its utterances and stutters, all work in tangent with the poem’s conceit.”

In addition to the poetry reading and book signing, Vuong will offer a creative writing workshop on Friday, Nov. 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Honors Center.