"Notebook Fragments" is Night Sky With Exit Wounds in microcosm, with the author piecing together thoughts on the Vietnam War, the influence of the their grandmother, biblical allusions, exploration of their own sexuality, and more in a freeform collection. Frankly, I'm not well versed in the world of poetry, and I'm not particularly qualified to dissect the these poems' structures or techniques. On a more basic level, however, I was struck by Vuong's willingness to embrace vulnerability and to focus on physical intimacy despite the violent shadow that the Vietnam War cast on their family's history. To draw the contrast more sharply, I'll point out that their compilation contains both a poem about the Fall of Saigon and a later poem titled "Ode to Masturbation" (I did a bit of a double take when I first saw that).
In terms of page length, this compilation is fairly short, but each poem is so dense with imagery and meaning that I'll likely need to read through them several more times to fully absorb them. For now, I wrote down several lines that stood out to me:
"Loneliness is still time spent with the world."
"Don't be afraid, the gunfire is only the sound of people trying to live a little longer & failing."
"Don't we touch each other just to prove we are still here?"
"Tell them the body is a blade that sharpens by cutting."