Education

Ph.D. in English, Texas Tech University, 2018

  • Recipient of Graduate Fellowship and J.T. and Margaret Talkington Fellowship

  • Concentration: Creative Writing - Poetry and Creative Nonfiction

M.F.A. in Poetry, Syracuse University, 2015

  • Recipient of University Fellowship

B.A. in English and Creative Writing, Hampshire College, 2011

  • Five College Certificate in Asian/Pacific/American Studies

Research & Teaching Interests

Creative writing, American literature, Asian American literature, LGBTQ literature, political poetry, lyric essay, hybrid and digital texts/poetics.

Selected Publications

Full-Length Poetry Book

  • When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities. BOA Editions, Ltd., Apr. 2017. (Winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, selected by Jericho Brown. Longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry.)

Poetry Chapbooks

  • Kissing the Sphinx. Two of Cups Press, Mar. 2016. (Finalist for the Two of Cups Chapbook Contest.)

  • Set the Garden on Fire. Porkbelly Press, Sept. 2015.

Poems – in Anthologies

  • “Things the Crows Bring.” Pulse/Pulso: In Remembrance of Orlando, Jun. 2018, p. 40.

  • “Quantitative Reasoning.” Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, May 2018, pp. 24-25. (Reprint.)

  • “Set the Garden on Fire.” Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, Apr. 2018, pp. 340-341. (Reprint.)

  • “A Favorite Room.” Bettering American Poetry, Dec. 2017, p. 69. (Reprint.)

  • “I am reminded via email to resubmit my preferences for the schedule.” The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Oct. 2017, pp. 323-325. (Reprint.)

  • “Ode to the Parallelogram.” Come As You Are: An Anthology of Writing on 90s Pop Culture, Sept. 2017, p. 61.

  • “Blockbuster,” “The School of Fury.” City of Notions: Contemporary Boston Poems, Jul. 2017, p. 30 and pp. 90-91. (Reprint.)

  • “When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities.” Poems on Identity for Teachers Anthology, Jun. 2017, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/anthology/poems-identity-teachers. (Reprint.)

  • “Chen [No Middle Name] Chen,” “First Light,” “Kafka’s Axe & Michael’s Vest,” “Poplar Street.” Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity, Apr. 2016, pp. 57-64. (Except for the first poem, these are reprints.)

  • “for i will do/undo what was done/undone to me.” The Best American Poetry, Sept. 2015, pp. 22-23. (Reprint.)

Poems – in Journals

  • “The School of Logic,” “The School of Joy / Letter to Michelle Lin.” West Branch, forthcoming Fall 2018.

  • “The School of Dreams.” Sixth Finch, Jul. 2018, http://sixthfinch.com/chen1.html.

  • “[Be the look],” “[Be the ridiculous].” The Texas Review, Jul. 2018, pp. 89-91.

  • “Sorrow Song with Optimus Prime.” Brooklyn Poets, Jun. 2018, http://brooklynpoets.org/poet/chen-chen/. (Reprint.)

  • “INFP Ghost.” A Restricted View from Under the Hedge, Jun. 2018, p. 11. (Collaborative poem with Sam Herschel Wein.)

  • “Origin Story.” Oxford Poetry, Apr. 2018, p. 22-23.

  • “I Invite My Parents to a Dinner Party.” Poem-a-Day, Apr. 19, 2018, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-invite-my-parents-dinner-party. (Selected by Tracy K. Smith.)

  • “Study Abroad.” CityVerse in Rochester’s City Newspaper, Apr. 16, 2018, https://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/rochester/cityverse-poetry-column-debuts-withstudy-abroad-by-chen-chen/Content?oid=6131367.

  • “The School of Australia,” “Anti-Elegy: A How-To,” selections from “A Small Book of Questions.” The McNeese Review, Spring 2018, pp. 29-37.

  • “Les Cloches de Geneve,” “Interrupted by a Crow: a Syracuse Notebook.” A Restricted View from Under the Hedge, Mar. 2018, p. 9 and pp. 67-68.

  • “The School of Song,” “Elegy While Listening to a Song I Can’t Help But Start to Move to,” “One Year Later: A Letter,” “Summer.” Winter Tangerine, Jan. 2018, http://www.wintertangerine.com/lom-chen-chen-1.

  • “Winter,” “The School of Night & Hyphens.” Tin House, Dec. 2017, pp. 33-36.

  • “The School of Morning & Letters,” “Summer.” The Lifted Brow (Australia), Dec. 2017, pp. 44-45.

  • “Doctor’s Note,” “The School of Red.” The Journal, Sept. 2017, pp. 21-22.

  • “Winter.” Poetry, Jul./Aug. 2017, pp. 344-345. Also online: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/142861/winter.

  • “The Chateau,” “Far Corner.” APIA issue of Poemeleon, May 2017, http://chenchenwrites.com/post/160641994141/poemeleon-chen-chen.

  • Selections from “A Small Book of Questions.” Nat. Brut, Apr. 2017, https://www.natbrut.com/chen-chen.

  • “Self-Portrait as So Much Potential.” The New York Times Magazine, Mar. 2017, p. 17. (Reprint.) Also online: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/magazine/self-portrait-asso-much-potential.html.

  • “First Light.” Poem-a-Day, Mar. 2017, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/first-light. (Reprint.)

  • “[song]” and “I’m in New York & I guess the Pope is, too.” The Mondegreen, Feb. 2017, themondegreen.org/song/ and themondegreen.org/im-new-york-guess-pope/.

  • “how many coats does it take,” “The School of More School.” The Account: A Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Thought, Nov. 2016, theaccountmagazine.com/article/chen-how-manycoats-fall-16.

  • “Maybe love is a tandem bike marathon up in the Adirondacks,” “Volleyball,” “will they / won’t they / will i.” The Asian Anglophone/APIA issue of Dusie, Oct. 2016, dusie.org/dusie19.pdf, pp. 38-40.

  • “invite the blue,” “memoir of the present moment.” Phantom, Sept. 2016, phantombooks.net/chen-chen/.

  • “The Psychic Speaks to the Nonbeliever.” Mass Poetry’s Poem of the Moment, Sept. 2016, www.masspoetry.org/poemofthemoment/#pomchen.

  • “Ode to Rereading Rimbaud in Lubbock, Texas.” Buzzfeed, Aug. 2016, www.buzzfeed.com/poetchenchen/poem-ode-to-rereading-rimbaud-in-lubbock-texas-bychen-chen?utm_term=.akj9V6R2v#.ntBx0OoWV.

  • “I am reminded via email to resubmit my preferences for the schedule.” Poem-a-Day, Jun. 2016, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-am-reminded-email-resubmit-my-preferencesschedule.

  • “In the City,” “Poem.” Indiana Review, Jun. 2016, pp. 45-49.

  • “The Cuckoo Cry.” Southern Indiana Review, Jun. 2016, p. 22.

  • “Song of the Night’s Gift,” “Nature Poem.” The Adroit Journal, May 2016, www.theadroitjournal.org/issue-sixteen-chen-chen-the-adroit-journal.

  • “Sitcom,” “We’ll Be Gone After These Brief Messages.” The Normal School, May 2016, p. 9 and p. 24.

  • “Self-Portrait as So Much Potential,” “Summer.” Gulf Coast Journal, Apr. 2016, pp. 89-91.

  • “Higher Education.” Raleigh Review, Apr. 2016, p. 32.

  • “I’m not a religious person but.” The Poetry Review (UK), Mar. 2016, p. 27. (Special issue featuring work that originally appeared in Poetry.)

  • “Second Thoughts on a Winter Afternoon.” The Massachusetts Review, Dec. 2015, p. 588. Also online: massreview.org/sites/default/files/09_56.4Chen.pdf.

  • “How I Became Sagacious,” “In This Economy.” Drunken Boat, Aug. 2015, www.drunkenboat.com/db22/poetry/chen-chen.

  • “Kafka’s Axe & Michael’s Vest,” “Things Stuck in Other Things Where They Don’t Belong.” Narrative Northeast, Aug. 2015, www.narrativenortheast.com/?p=3528 and www.narrativenortheast.com/?p=3543.

  • “Chapter VIII,” “The Cat Who Wore Corn Pants.” The Margins, Jul. 2015, aaww.org/unlonely-land-chen-chen/.

  • Two untitled erasure poems. ATTN: July 31 2015, Jul. 2015, pp. 79-80.

  • “In Search of the Least Abandoned Constellation.” Crab Orchard Review, Jul. 2015, p. 57.

  • “I’m not a religious person but,” “Poplar Street.” Poetry, Jun. 2015, pp. 231-233. Also online: www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/ detail/58152 and www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/58154.

  • “Elegy to Be Exhaled at Dusk.” The Pinch, Apr. 2015, p. 88. Also online: www.pinchjournal.com/http/wwwpinchjournalcom/pinchpoetry/2015/4/ 25/elegy-to-beexhaled-at-dust-chen-chen.

  • “First Light.” Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, Apr. 2015, pp. 88-89.

  • “Self-Portrait With & Without.” Narrative - Poem of the Week, Feb. 2015, www.narrativemagazine.com/issues/poems-week-2014-2015/poem-week/self-portraitwithout-chen-chen.

  • “Elegy for My Sadness,” “Song of the Anti-Sisyphus.” Breakwater Review, Feb. 2015, www.breakwaterreview.com/single-post/2016/08/24/Chen-Chen.

  • “Antarctica.” New Delta Review, December 2014, ndrmag.org/poetry/2014/12/antarctica/.

  • “Little Song,” “vulpes vulpes.” Dusie - Ecopoethos Issue, Dec. 2014, www.dusie.org/ChenChen.pdf.

  • “Please take off your shoes before entering do not disturb,” “Both Nuclear & Extended.” DIAGRAM, Nov. 2014, thediagram.com/14_5/chen.html.

  • “Jerking Off to Koh Masaki,” “Necking,” “You should let yourself be more Asian, it’s cute,” “Summer Was Forever,” “You barking starship.” PANK - Queer Issue, Oct. 2014, http://pankmagazine.com/piece/5-poems-5/.

  • “Song with a Lyric from Allen Ginsberg.” Tupelo Quarterly, Oct. 2014, www.tupeloquarterly.com/song-with-a-lyric-from-allen-ginsberg-by-chen-chen/.

  • “Set the Garden on Fire.” Split This Rock - Poem of the Week, Sept. 2014, blogthisrock.blogspot.com/2014/09/poem-of-week-chen-chen.html.

  • “Spell to Find Family.” Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, Sept. 2014, www.lambdaliterary.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/35.spelltofindfamily.pdf.

  • “poem,/love,” “for i will do/undo what was done/undone to me.” PANK, Aug. 2014, pankmagazine.com/piece/two-poems-105/.

  • “Three Dreams for the Price of One.” Word Riot, Aug. 2014, www.wordriot.org/archives/7213.

  • “As the Snow Falls.” CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action, Apr. 2014, curamag.com/issues/2014/3/25/as-the-snow-falls. Also in a special Spring 2014 print issue of CURA, p. 111.

  • “Kissing the Sphinx,” “Traveler.” Connotation Press, Nov. 2013, www.connotationpress.com/poetry/2105-chen-chen-poetry.

Essays

  • “A Tired Sadness, a Fresh Rage.” McSweeney’s (contribution to “One Small Blow Against Encroaching Totalitarianism” series), Aug. 2018, https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/atired-sadness-a-fresh-rage.

  • “I’m Not Here to Play the Suffering Minority for White Readers.” Electric Literature, Jun. 2018, https://electricliterature.com/im-not-here-to-play-the-suffering-minority-for-whitereaders-b1be483f046e.

  • “Navigating Poetry Readings and the L.A. Food Scene: A Week in the Life of Poet Chen Chen.” Lambda Literary (contribution to “The Banal and the Profane” series), Apr. 2017, http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/the-banal-and-the profane/04/30/navigatingreading-in-public-and-eating-in-la-a-week-in-the-life-of-writer-chen-chen/.

  • • “Dinner.” Salt Hill Journal, Feb. 2017, pp. 138-144.

  • “Limits.” Fogged Clarity, Jan. 2017, http://foggedclarity.com/article/limits/.

  • Contribution to “28 Days Later and Other Nightmares: On What Frightens Us.” Ed. Ben-Oni, Rosebud. The Kenyon Review Blog, Oct. 2015, www.kenyonreview.org/2015/10/28-dayslater-and-other-nightmares-on-what-frightens-us/.

Reviews and Interviews

  • “Against Empire, For Watermelon: On Nico Amador’s Flower Wars (2017).” Gabby Journal, Feb. 2018, http://www.gabbyjournal.com/chen-chen-3/.

  • “An Interview with Muriel Leung.” Underblong Journal, Jun. 2017, http://underblong.com/post/162294091502.

  • “From the Horse’s Mouth: an interview with 19.2 contributor: Jennifer S. Cheng.” Iron Horse Literary Review, National Poetry Month Issue 2017, pp. 36-37.

  • “ ‘Would I like for it to be a bouquet of dreams?’: Interview with Aracelis Girmay.” Iron Horse Blog, Apr. 2016, www.ironhorsereview.com/single-post/2016/04/25/would-i-like-forit-to-be-a-bouquet-of-dreams-interview-with-aracelis-girmay.

  • “I Have Never Wanted to Garden, Eat Fruit, & Talk Openly About Our Shared Mortality More: On Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (2015).” Gabby Journal, Nov. 2015, www.gabbyjournal.com/chen-chen-2/.

Teaching Experience

On Site

Introduction to Creative Writing at Brandeis University, Fall 2018

In this introductory workshop, the students and I investigated three genres—fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. We experimented with particular forms in each genre and think through the differences as well as overlaps between genres. We considered how social media and technology (re)shape literary landscapes. We discussed the socio-political work of creative writing. We asked, “What is/are the purpose/s of creative writing?” and also, “Why do you write?”

“On Self-Portraits” for Winter Tangerine’s Summer Workshops at Poets House, Aug. 3, 2018

In this two-hour generative workshop, I invited students to consider self-portraiture in poetry as a versatile and playful approach to working with autobiographical material. The question, “Who am I and who might I be in a poem?” shaped the workshop.

“On Time and Memory” for Writers & Books’ Poetry Summer Camp, Jul. 23, 2018

In this two-hour generative workshop, I invited students to jump through time, to create portals into memory, to rethink how a poem might move across various “time zones.” The question, “How did we get to this when?” informed our discussion.

“The Art of Telling” for Writers & Books, Jun. 4 and Jun. 11, 2018

For this two-part generative workshop, I challenged students to question the “Show, Don’t Tell” principle and examine what various forms of abstraction or “telling” can do in poetry—alongside or in some cases, instead of “showing.”

Introduction to Fiction at Texas Tech University, Fall 2017

In this sophomore level literature class, “Introduction to Fiction: Asian American Storytelling,” students explored work by contemporary Asian American fiction writers. A wide array of styles and genres were represented. Ethnic backgrounds also varied, allowing students to continually complicate what “Asian American literature” means. Through these particular texts, I asked students to consider the broader question of “Why do we need stories?”

Introduction to Creative Writing at Texas Tech University, Fall 2016 and Spring 2017

For this introductory creative writing workshop, I taught two genres—poetry and fiction in the fall, poetry and creative nonfiction in the spring. My primary objective was to provide engaging models and surprising approaches for students to generate, then revise their own idiosyncratic creative work. The question “Why do you write?” guides my workshop pedagogy.

“The Art of Telling” for Sundress Academy for the Arts – Guest Workshop, May 27, 2017

For this two-hour workshop, I invited participants to discuss and experiment with effective abstraction, delightful “telling” in poetry.

Teaching Assistant in Intermediate Poetry at Texas Tech University, Spring 2016

For this upper-level workshop, I led discussion on two poetry collections I’d selected. I also participated in exploring other texts and contributed to workshop discussion of students’ poems. I worked closely with the instructor, Dr. Curtis Bauer, and my co-TA, Jessica Smith. “How can poetry change your life?” was the question that informed my TA-ship, based on Dr. Bauer’s own (on the syllabus), “Poetry Can Change Your Life?”

First-Year Writing at Texas Tech University, Fall 2015

For this course, I was the instructor of record. I facilitated all class discussions and activities. I provided feedback on all in-class writing. Working closely with members of a small grading group, I evaluated and responded to an average of ten formal assignments per week, turned in through the online system, Raider Writer. “How can writing effect personal and societal change?” was an overarching question students and I explored.

Poetry Workshop at the Asperger / Autism Network (AANE) Summer Conference on Creativity, Jul. 12, 2014

In this hour and a half introductory workshop for adults on the autism spectrum, students discussed three poems by different authors and the prompts I devised, based on each poem. Participants had time to draft their own poems, and then share their work in a safe, supportive environment. “What moves you in a poem?” was a larger question that students and I returned to often.

First-Year Writing and Research Writing at Syracuse University, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

In the fall, I was the instructor of record for a first-year writing course, responsible for facilitating all class discussions and evaluating all assignments. I also had several opportunities to use texts and writing exercises of my own choosing. In the spring, I was the instructor of record for a sophomore level research-based writing course and in addition to my duties in the fall, I selected the topic of inquiry (gender and sexuality in pop culture) and all the readings. “How can writing illuminate personal as well as collective concerns?” was an overarching inquiry.

Online

“Writing with Humor and Wonder”: Poetry Workshop for Catapult, Summer 2018 and Winter 2019

For this eight-week summer online course, I led students in an exploration of humor in poetry—how to balance humor with gravity and emotional complexity. Students discussed and practiced different forms of humor, from the snappy one-liner to the twisty, absurd narrative. Poetic tools such as syntax, pacing, imagery, and turns, were reinvigorated—in relation to how these tools are used in stand-up and sketch comedy. “How can the funny get us more deeply into the serious?” was the main question I circled back to with students.

The Speakeasy Project, Winter 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Summer 2018, Winter 2019

For this four-week poetry program, I worked closely with six mentees of all ages. Using a syllabus template provided by the program, I followed a certain thematic trajectory, but assigned all of my own readings and writing prompts. I also gave craft lectures each week, using Zoom. “What keeps you writing?” was the primary question I returned to in this intensive program.

The Blueshift Journal’s The Harbor – Guest Online Lecture, Nov. 7, 2017

For this hour-long lecture, I revisited the topic in my “The Art of Telling” workshop—exploring how to “tell” (and not just “show”) in fresh ways in poetry. This time, I gave one example for each type of abstraction, from most purely abstract to less so to abstract language strongly mixed with the concrete.

The Adroit Journal’s Online Mentorship Program, Summer 2016, Summer 2017, Summer 2018

For this seven-week poetry program, I worked closely with two young writers—two high school students. Using a syllabus template provided by the program, I followed a skill-based progression (imagery unit, lineation unit, etc.) but assigned all my own readings and many of my own writing prompts. “What is most exciting to you in poetry?” was a question my mentees and I returned to each week. (Starting summer 2018, mentors worked with only one mentee.)

Winter Tangerine’s “We Sweat Honeysuckle” Workshop for Queer Writers – Guest Online Seminar, Jul. 16, 2017

For this two-hour seminar, I revisited the topic in my “The Art of Telling” workshop—exploring how to use abstraction in unexpected and beautiful ways in poetry. This time, I drew on work all by queer poets and discussed how abstract language can be queered in politically urgent ways.

Selected Awards & Honors

  • Writers’ League of Texas Book Award for Poetry, 2018.

  • Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, 2018.

  • Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry – Finalist, 2018.

  • Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) New Writers Award, 2018.

  • Barbara Gittings Literature Award Honor Book, Stonewall Book Awards, 2018.

  • Over the Rainbow Book List for LGBTQ Literature, American Library Association, 2018.

  • National Book Award for Poetry – Longlist, 2017.

  • The Pushcart Prize XLI: Best of the Small Presses – Honorable Mention, 2017.

  • A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize for first full-length poetry collection, 2016.

  • Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize for first full-length poetry collection – Finalist, 2016.

  • Texas Tech University’s Warren S. Walker Award for Best Critical Writing in a Graduate Course in English, 2016.

  • Sundress Academy for the Arts Residency/Scholarship, 2016.

  • Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Fellowship, 2016.

  • Two of Cups Chapbook Contest – Finalist, 2016.

  • Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships – Finalist, 2015.

  • Syracuse University’s Joyce Carol Oates Award for Best Group of Poems by a Graduate Student, selected by Ishion Hutchinson, 2015.

  • New Delta Review’s Matt Clark Editors’ Choice Award in Poetry, 2015.

  • Cutthroat Journal’s Joy Harjo Poetry Prizes – Second place, 2014.

  • Kundiman Fellowship, 2014.

  • Saltonstall Arts Colony Fellowship/Juried Residency, 2014.

  • Tent: Creative Writing at the Yiddish Book Center Scholarship, 2014.

  • Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest – Finalist, 2014.

Editing

  • Editor and Co-Founder, Underblong Journal, 2016-present.

  • Guest Editor, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Summer 2017.

  • Managing Editor, Iron Horse Literary Review, 2015-2017.

  • Prose and Social Media Editor, Gabby Journal, 2015-2018.

  • Guest Editor, Narrative Northeast, Fall/Winter 2016.

  • Poetry Editor, Salt Hill Journal, 2013-2015.

Affiliations

  • AWP member, 2012-present.

  • Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA) Literary Showcase: Advisory Board, 2015-2017.

  • Lubbock Writers Resist member, 2017-2018.

  • Raider Pride: LGBTQIA Reading Group member, Fall 2017.

  • Kundiman Northeast Regional Co-chair, 2015.