Ocean Vuong

Thi sĩ gốc Việt
thắng hàng loạt giải thưởng thi ca Anh & Mỹ

Một thi sĩ sinh ra tại Việt Nam và cùng gia đình sang Hoa Kỳ tị nạn năm mới lên 2 tuổi vừa thắng một giải thưởng được xem như là “giải Oscar của thi ca”.

Thi sĩ Ocean Vương, 28 tuổi, nhận được 5,000 bảng Anh cho giải Felix Dennis về tác phẩm đầu tay hay nhất với thi tập mang tựa đề “Night Sky with Exit Wounds”, tạm dịch “Trời Đêm Với Thương Tích Xuyên Thấu”.

Chủ tịch hội đồng giám khảo Andrew Marr ca ngợi phong cách của Ocean Vương là “một giọng thơ mới thực sự đáng chú ý”.

Ocean Vương chào đời tại Sài Gòn, cùng gia đình đi tị nạn rồi sang Hoa Kỳ định cư tại Hartford, tiểu bang Connecticut khi anh mới lên 2. Cái tên Ocean nghĩa là “Đại Dương” là do mẹ của anh đặt vì bà bị ám ảnh bởi biển cả mênh mông, nhưng vô tình kích thích tâm hồn thi ca của con trai.

Ocean Vương tôt nghiệp cử nhân mỹ thuật tại Brooklyn College rồi tập trung vào sự nghiệp thi ca. Anh đã nhận được nhiều học bổng từ Sáng Hội Elizabeth George, Poets House, Kundiman, Sáng Hội Nghệ Thuật Saltonstall, học bổng thi ca Ruth Lilly và Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg từ Poetry Foundation.

Thơ của Ocean Vương đã được dịch ra tiếng Ấn Độ, Đại Hàn, Nga và Việt.

Trước khi thắng giải Felix Dennis ở Anh, Ocean Vương đã được trao nhiều giải thưởng tại Hoa Kỳ như giải thưởng của Học Viện Thi Sĩ Mỹ, giải Stanley Kunitz Cho Thi Sĩ Trẻ của tạp chí American Poetry, giải Pushcart, giải thi ca Chad Walsh của tạp chí Beloit Poetry Journal, và giải Whiting trị giá 50,000 Mỹ kim.

@sbtn  –  AZ.lyrics

 Nghe Ocean Vuong đọc bài thơ Notebook Fragments của chính tác giả :

Notebook Fragments

A scar’s width of warmth on a worn man’s neck.
That’s all I wanted to be.

Sometimes I ask for too much just to feel my mouth overflow.

Discovery: my longest pubic hair is 1.2 inches.

Good or bad?

7:18 a.m. Kevin overdosed last night. His sister left a message. Couldn’t listen
to all of it. That makes three this year.

I promise to stop soon.

Spilled orange juice all over the table this morning. Sudden sunlight
I couldn’t wipe away.

My hands were daylight all through the night.

Woke up at 1 a.m and, for no reason, ran through Duffy’s cornfield. Boxers only.

Corn was dry. I sounded like a fire,
for no reason.

Grandma said In the war they would grab a baby, a soldier at each ankle, and pull…
Just like that.

It’s finally spring! Daffodils everywhere.
Just like that.

There are over 13,000 unidentified body parts from the World Trade Center
being stored in an underground repository in New York City.

Good or bad?

Shouldn’t heaven be superheavy by now?

Maybe rain is “sweet” because it falls
through so much of the world.

Even sweetness can scratch the throat, so stir the sugar well. — Grandma

4:37 a.m. How come depression makes me feel more alive?

Life is funny.

Note to self: If a guy tells you his favorite poet is Jack Kerouac,
there’s a very good chance he’s a douchebag.

Note to self: If Orpheus were a woman, I wouldn’t be stuck down here.

Why do all my books leave me empty-handed?

In Vietnamese, the word for grenade is “bom,” from the French “pomme,” meaning “apple.”

Or was it American for “bomb”?

Woke up screaming with no sound. The room filling with a bluish water called dawn. Went to kiss grandma on the forehead

just in case.

An American soldier fucked a Vietnamese farmgirl. Thus my mother exists. Thus I exist. Thus no bombs = no family = no me.


9:47 a.m. Jerked off four times already. My arm kills.
[Lyrics from: https:/lyrics.az/ocean-vuong/night-sky-with-exit-wounds/notebook-fragments.html]

Eggplant = ca phao = “grenade tomato.” Thus nourishment defined by extinction.

I met a man tonight. A high school English teacher
from the next town. A small town. Maybe

I shouldn’t have, but he had the hands
of someone I used to know. Someone I was used to.

The way they formed brief churches
over the table as he searched for the right words.

I met a man, not you. In his room the Bibles shook on the shelf
from candlelight. His scrotum a bruised fruit. I kissed it

lightly, the way one might kiss a grenade
before hurling it into the night’s mouth.

Maybe the tongue is also a key.


I could eat you he said, brushing my cheek with his knuckles.

I think I love my mom very much.

Some grenades explode with a vision of white flowers.

Baby’s breath blooming in a darkened sky, across
my chest.

Maybe the tongue is also a pin.

I’m going to lose it when Whitney Houston dies.

I met a man. I promise to stop.

A pillaged village is a fine example of a perfect rhyme. He said that.

He was white. Or maybe, I was just beside myself, next to him.

Either way, I forgot his name by heart.

I wonder what it feels like to move at the speed of thirst — if it’s as fast as lying on the kitchen floor with the lights off.


6:24 a.m. Greyhound station. One-way ticket to New York City: $36.75.

6:57 a.m. I love you, mom.

When the prison guards burned his manuscripts, Nguyễn Chí Thiện couldn’t stop laughing — the 283 poems already inside him.

I dreamed I walked barefoot all the way to your house in the snow. Everything was the blue of smudged ink

and you were still alive. There was even a light the shade of sunrise inside
your window.

God must be a season, grandma said, looking out at the blizzard drowning her garden.

My footsteps on the sidewalk were the smallest flights.

Dear god, if you are a season, let it be the one I passed through to get here.

Here. That’s all I wanted to be.

I promise.

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