Competition Ends 1st September 2020 5:37pm

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Tyrant of Words
United States
20awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 20th Mar 2015
Forum Posts: 3134

Poetry Contest

The Classic Corner : Ocean Vuong tribute

Co-Hosts - Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze  

Part XXXII in an ongoing series introducing serious writers of DUP to the most well-known poets, both classical and modern. 

Ocean Vuong ( born Vương Quốc Vinh October 14, 1988 ) is a Vietnamese American poet, essayist and novelist. He is a recipient of the 2014 Ruth Lilly/Sargent Rosenberg fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a 2016 Whiting Award, and the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize for his poetry. His debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, was published in 2019. He received a MacArthur Grant the same year.

His grandmother grew up in the countryside while his grandfather was a white American soldier in the Navy originally from Michigan. Vuong, who is openly gay, describes himself as being raised by women after his father abandoned the family.

His mother, a manicurist, renamed him "Ocean", which largely came about after her difficulty pronouncing the word "Beach" without it sounding like "Bitch".  

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass-Amherst.

For more information regarding Vuong, please visit the Poetry Foundation:

Vuong also has a website:


Write a new Poem honoring Vuong inspired by any one of his poems.

While you are allowed a maximum of 2 entries, only the best of your entries is considered viable for the trophy.

Do your best to make us feel as though we are reading poems by Vuong.  The more we feel you "capturing his essence" in "your own words" , the higher you will score. This will involve choice of wording, delivery, subject material, formatting, target audience - a wide range of factors.   

The Rules 

1. Two entries per DUP persona.

2. No erotica; this is open to all ages and can't be viewed with an ECW ( Extreme Content Warning ).   

3. No exact word limit; however, attempt to keep it no more than 250 - 300.   

4. Any form is acceptable ( but studying the poet is advised ).   

5. You must tag your entries with the theme #OceanVuong before this comp expires in order to qualify for the trophy ( if the theme is not currently available, you may have to return at a later date to add the theme ).

6. In your poem's Author Notes box, provide a link and a title to the very poem by Vuong that inspired yours. Without such, we have no way of determining if you were truly inspired by Vuong or simply swapped fresh words into his existing poetry ( which is a form of plagiarism ). This is a requirement regardless if you include a copy of the inspiration along with yours.

Comp will be judged by Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze. As in the past and in the event there is a tie, we will call in third ( and possibly fourth ) judge.

You have one month; best of luck to all entrants!

Fire of Insight
United States
3awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 10th May 2020
Forum Posts: 86

It was White

  A white ...    A white ...    I’m dreaming of a curtain of snow
                                                         falling from her shoulders.
Snow crackling against the window. Snow shredded
                                           with gunfire. Red sky.
Ocean Vuong
Aubade with Burning City  
      There lay war.    Tyranny’s serial  
Killer... heat abroad  
The moon was white  
                        Degrees of yellow
    White lines laced with bliss ... much ado without implication
He ate the meat as if
A canine without teeth ... and she  
              tossed her smile carelessly  
She held a sparrow in the palm of her gentle  
               White... and trembling hand...  
   White and trembling
She ate a plum and let the juices run...
           Ran down her chin upturned ...  
run down it  
And dripped red juices to the floor....  
Let it drip                and he lapped like a dog  
As on airways nostalgia comforted  
         On all fours he licked red drops  
And once over  
            He would forever be.  
Reduced to that taste....  
                     And in torture....  
his mind in torture
Wind whips the sparrow lost...  
she mourns her seat  
                                       Of an un gloved  
Pearl white hand
Un gloved and so delicate there....  
The morning makes it hard to build a nest
Written by Calamityofgin
Go To Page  

Thought Provoker
United States
  profile   poems   message
Joined 16th Feb 2020
Forum Posts: 56

Ocean Vuong  -  Kissing in Vietnamese... ;

I wake up to the sound of the devil  
laughing and hurling death to the  
corners of my room. I scream for my family.
I’m forced to observe normalcy
through a fractured pane that used  
to be a window. My grandmother
reaches out from the world of torment,  
her arms bleeding, her heart broken.
I long for the comfort of old when her
embrace eased my pain which she
absorbed to herself. A bubble formed
protecting me from the violence and  
horrors of dying cries and limbs in trees,
from the smell of napalm and burning flesh.
My mind sees the mayhem and carnage  
but my heart, though bleeding, feels her  
touch and brings me back to that feeling of love.
Written by anvinvil (Anvillan)
Go To Page  

Tyrant of Words
United States
20awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 20th Mar 2015
Forum Posts: 3134

A big Thanks to the Webmiss for creating the Themes #OceanVuong and #GwendolynBrooks ! Please be sure to tag your entries per the guidelines to better your chances of placement in the judging process!

Tyrant of Words
United States
20awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 20th Mar 2015
Forum Posts: 3134

[ Classic Corner ] Gay Say

Because I said so!
And I know  
because is not  
an answer
I honestly don't  
have anyway,
but what else
is there to say
in its stead?
That maurading  
Murder Hornet  
effects done decapitated  
thoraxed solar plexus
causes from my  
prevailing cooler head?
Found out the hard
exoskeletoned way
I couldn't bee  
anything more than  
a hive of one
fun guy loving
guy on guy
Not long meant  
for this world of
Queen ass kissing
servitude, I was.
After I tasted  
tabooness of drone
honey, It was too late!
Baby, I was long  
gone, Gone, GONE  
---an outcasted
expiation; atonement
expelled from Colony's
status quo lungs
like so much
Ho Chi Minh  
city sin
fem phlegm.  
Well, Tạm biệt,
Written by JohnnyBlaze
Go To Page  

non-entry entry

Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
17awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 1st Jan 2018
Forum Posts: 404

Three quarter moon

It's full to be achieved- brashness  
some craters still concealed  
in life we weave, sun shine upon our seed
as a parent seeks affection
all gleam without the dark
pit's and imperfection
the rind upon the pork  
decadence, fatherhood, light the road
 reflect on all that's loss
 wishes; hold such scant regard  
a child's first cry  slit between the curtains
moonbeams refreshment, afterbirth covered- falling on chaos
cradled sweet perfection and argument rages to call a spade a spade
the cherub that was laid. hurled pot of supplication  
the breast and nipple bleed  
domestic conflict drown! duvet drawn in self defence
monosyllables;  the rays of eloquence!
 small flicker, a prayer to heaven precede
three quarter moon, a tarnished silver spoon
waxing, the glory of conception
wind in the trees that shudders
eyes. roller blinds closing,  aftermath
fondling- white chalk, loves ghost
 locket strands -wisp's of autumn
the breezed caress,  buttocks mounds
 reside in indentation
yearning's reach, fathomless
dark quarter, unseen, obscured  
passion:  starve or gorge
Jack rabbit goes to ground
 The hemispheres turn on
#on earth we were briefly gorgeous  
Written by slipalong
Go To Page  

Thought Provoker
United States
  profile   poems   message
Joined 16th Feb 2020
Forum Posts: 56

On Earth  We Are Briefly Gorgeous....  Ocean Vuong intpretation

My spirit wonders, yearns
a quest without a destination,
a trip without a map,
clouds block the stars,
the moon hides.

I survive on my loneliness
my pity is fed by my needs,
the need to feel, the need to know.
I’ll drag myself to the forge,
I will hammer out a creation,
perhaps, ever becoming, with
each blow of the hammer.
The anvil will sing the story
of my efforts and the stars
will hear and the clouds
will part.

From the fire of the forge,
from the agony of my soul comes
my creation unique to all.
To me, another pilgrim, wandering
searching for the non existent.
What have I done?
I’m swept with a wave of regret
and bashed against the
rocks of doubt. I bleed, I scream,
I ask why... the moon peeks out
from behind the clouds and answers,
“ you didn’t want to be alone”.

Written by anvinvil (Anvillan)
Go To Page  

Thought Provoker
United States
2awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 4th Apr 2019
Forum Posts: 24


my disease was loneliness
bubbling up from
a chasm tucked under the ribs

a skeletal soul


draped across the wire
as though waiting for redemption

still, the angels
did their best for me

   circling my boat

keeping me anchored

praying the gods to blow their storms
           to distant places
where harder faces bore their wrath,
fought the good fight
and took their losses

mike and phillip
luke and lisa
all broken by circumstance
ruined or dead
and me left here
to wonder
Written by javalini
Go To Page  

Tyrant of Words
United States
88awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 7090

Words like Chopper Blades

( After Ocean Vuong, and my father )
. . .once [ the war ] enters you,
it never leaves—but merely echoes. . .*
The war is never over for a soldier.**  
Vietnam, 1957    
Your eyes, still echoing wide with boy  
at 17, resonating violently inside  
their soft-shelled socket, your    
tripwire tongue severing a moan  
buried in her cartilage'd throat, waiting  
to explode as a Bouncing Betty     
above the surface. Prostitution, makeshift  
war-wife, Lucky Strikes, napalm  
mornings, spreading like olive thighs    
over stained linen, choking the reality  
of back-home family, gestating as seeds  
to sprout normalcy.  Lien, her name  
pronounced Lynn—my elder sister's namesake  
as dictated in your letter. O Father—    
your words like chopper blades—machetes    
through the jungle of my mother's heart  
years beyond Lynn's tragic death—  
another casualty of war ingested by earth.    
While today, sewn somewhere in the cusp    
of a country embattled by loss, lives you  
O Brother—a mere egg that fought as a soldier  
to be born—to flower from death as color;  
your eyes, wide with boy—or, perhaps not;  
O Brother, the war entered us both  
through our father's sperm, and will echo    
until one of us releases their ghosts—  
which one remains unknown—maybe    
I am already alone, waiting to join you all;    
a soul-family of gestated seeds sprouting  
normalcy in rich orchards of ripened love    
* Ocean Vuong  
On Earth We're Briefly Beautiful  
** My Father  
Post Vietnam war
Written by Ahavati
Go To Page  

Go to: