Time is A Mother

By Ocean Vuong

APRIL 5, 2022 • 128 PAGES

3.7 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

There’s so much to feel and say, but I’ll try to be brief.

As expected, Time is a Mother is a deeply moving, poignant work of art that depicts grief and a striking mix of internal violence and chaos (or at least that’s what I was getting). There is so much depth in the symbolism and imagery, and (my favorite part of Vuong’s writing) the rhythm. His longer, more prose-like pieces are by far my favorite but there are stunning poems that were visually more experimental in terms of form. Vuong is truly a Master of words.

So much so, that many of the poems seemed inaccessible to me. It’s a given that poetry is not meant to hold a reader’s hand, but I found myself lost more than I would have wanted. The pieces are so deeply personal and anecdotal that I couldn’t get a clear grasp of what was happening unless I was being held by the hand. This is neither good nor bad and in the end is up to the reader’s discretion, so I guess the real question is whether you want to take the time to deconstruct every page.

I’d say the first section of the book takes a bit more will-power to get through, but it progressively gets more accessible and (perhaps because of that) more beautiful.

Overall, Time is a Mother a really good poetry book, with some GREAT poems that I dog-eared and will revisit. However, I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite.

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