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Ocean Vuong

“We are all writing towards and against dominant histories, whether consciously or not. “

Ocean Vuong is the author of The New York Times bestselling novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, out from Penguin Press (2019) and forthcoming in 30 languages. A recipient of a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant, he is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize. Born in Saigon, Vietnam and raised in Hartford, Connecticut in a working class family of nail salon and factory laborers, he was educated at nearby Manchester Community College before transferring to Pace University to study International Marketing. Without completing his first term, he dropped out of Business school and enrolled at Brooklyn College, where he graduated with a BA in Nineteenth Century American Literature. He subsequently received his MFA in Poetry from NYU. He currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts where he serves as an Associate Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass-Amherst.

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Mary Jo Salter

MARY JO SALTER by Michael Malyszko 2013

“To me, writing is nothing but risk. I don’t want to glamorize it, but every move a poet makes, syllable by syllable, entails a risk.”

Mary Jo Salter is the author of eight books of poetry, all published by Alfred A. Knopf, most recently The Surveyors (2017), Nothing by Design (2013), and A Phone Call to the Future: New and Selected Poems(2008). She is also a lyricist whose song cycle “Rooms of Light: The Life of Photographs” was composed by Fred Hersch.  Her children’s book The Moon Comes Home appeared in 1989; her play Falling Bodies premiered in 2004. She is also a co-editor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry (4th edition, 1996; 5th edition, 2005; 6th edition, 2018). Her essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, The Yale Review, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. Salter taught at Mount Holyoke College for 23 years and is currently Krieger-Eisenhower Professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

(Photo © Michael Malyszko 2013)

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