• Taxidermy
  • Monarch butterflies
  • Boom!
  • Thunder Cake
  • Mom hits him
  • Teaching mom to read

Vuong mentions times his mom hit him but also describes these alongside good moments.

Vuong combines different scenes into prose reminiscent of Annie Dillard.

Vuong begins by writing in the second person (“You”).

Vuong’s prose is poetic in that cryptic messages abound.

Vuong wrote the letter to his mom like a poem.

The time…

Vuong uses monarch butterflies as a metaphor of intergenerational trauma.

You know that Vuong is a poet because every vignette has a punchline.


  • Mine your childhood memories
  • Always catch images
  • How can I live every single day of my life like poetry?
  • Strengthen your power to describe: poet essayist!

Moment-based art

  • Photography: Image
  • Poetry: One-scene poem
  • Prose: Short vignette
  • Philosophy: Insight