Ocean Vuong & Kayo Chingonyi

  • 9
  • May




Young Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong in black and whitePeter Bienkowski

Zambian born, British based poet smiling on a sofaNaomi Woddis

Manchester Literature Festival is delighted to welcome two of the most promising debut poets of a generation to the city for an extraordinary evening of poetry and reflection on desire, conflict and cultural upheaval. Night Sky with Exit Wounds from young Vietnamese American poet, Ocean Vuong has already won many accolades in the US and explores the most profound of subjects: love, loss and grief with visceral passion. Zambian-born British based poet Kayo Chingonyi’s first full length collection Kumukanda features innovative and urgent lyrics on race, masculinity, identity and music. The evening will be hosted by Andrew McMillan, author of the multi-award winning debut collection Physical.

Like any good son, I pull my father out
of the water, drag him by his hair

through white sand, his knuckles carving a trail
the waves rush to erase. Because the city

beyond the shore is no longer
where we left it. Because the bombed

cathedral is now a cathedral
of trees.

from Telemachus by Ocean Vuong

The N Word

You sly devil. Lounging in a Pinter script
or pitched from a transit van’s rolled-down window;
my shadow on this unlit road, though you’ve been
smuggled from polite conversation. So when
a friend of a friend has you poised on his lips
you are not what he means, no call for balled fist,
since he’s only signifyin(g) on the sign;
making wine from the bad blood of history.
Think of how you came into my life that day,
of leaves strewn as I had never seen them strewn,
knocking me about the head with your dark hands.

from calling a spade a spade by Kayo Chingonyi

Doors open at 6.30pm, event starts at 7.00pm

Public booking is now open. If you prefer to book on the phone, please call our box office at Quaytickets on 0843 208 0500.