AMHERST, Mass. — The University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers presents a reading by poet and essayist Ocean Vuong on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. in Memorial Hall.
Hailed by Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen as “the Walt Whitman of Vietnamese American literature,” Vuong is the author of Night Sky With Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award and the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. The work was also a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016.
A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, he has received honors from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize. His writings have been featured in The Atlantic, 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. Born in Saigon, he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 2 as a child refugee. He lives in western Massachusetts and teaches at UMass Amherst’s MFA for Poets and Writers program, where he is the newest member of the poetry faculty.
Vuong is reading as part of the MFA program’s Visiting Writers Series. Celebrating its 54th year, the Visiting Writers Series presents emerging and established writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. The series is sponsored by the MFA for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Initiative, and made possible by support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the University of Massachusetts Arts Council, and the English Department. The reading is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a reception in Memorial Hall to welcome Vuong to the MFA program and the community.