Chen Chen interview in bath magg
‘With humor, deep intelligence, and what feels to me like a luminous everyday philosophy, Chen Chen leads me “through the wound of it". It being life. In America. In the 21st Century. In a body touched by violence and care, grief and desire, hope and heavy knowledge. Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency is dolorous, riotous, rapturous.’ – Tracy K. Smith
In his second collection Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency - published by Bloodaxe in October 2022 - Chen Chen continues his exploration of family, both blood and chosen, examining what one inherits and what one invents, as a queer Asian American living through an era of Trump, mass shootings and the COVID-19 pandemic. With playfulness and irrepressible humour, these anarchic poems celebrate life, despite all that would crush aliveness. Hybrid in form and set in New England, West Texas and a landlocked province of China, among other places, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency refuses neat categorisations and pat answers. Instead, the book offers an insatiable curiosity about how it is we keep finding ways to hold one another.
Chen Chen's debut When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was published in the UK by Bloodaxe in June 2019.
ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH CHEN CHEN
bath magg, Issue #10, online 3 September 2022
An in-depth interview with Chen Chen features in issue 10 of the UK online poetry magazine bath magg. He was speaking to Joe Carrick-Varty about his forthcoming second collection Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, which is published in the US by BOA Editions in September and in the UK & Ireland by Bloodaxe Books in October 2022.
Read the interview here: https://www.bathmagg.com/interview10/
Three poems from Chen Chen's new collection Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency are featured in bath magg, along with audio of him reading them. Read and listen here.
Some coverage for Chen Chen's debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities
NATIONAL POETRY LIBRARY STAFF SUMMER PICK FOR CHEN CHEN
National Poetry Library, Staff Picks Summer 2022, online 2 August 2022
Chen Chen’s debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was chosen by a National Poetry Library member of staff as her Summer 2022 recommendation.
‘Chen Chen’s poems continually surprise and delight me, with their luscious long lines and unfurling waves of imagery — from falling snow, to croissants, to Asian American sex symbols. Each time I come back to this collection I find something new; an image I read too quickly the first time, too hungry to take in the whole poem all at once. Some of my favourite, most tender love poems in the world live here in this book — love poems addressed not just to lovers but to parents, friends, food, and to the self.’ - Nina Powles, National Poetry Library Staff Picks Summer 2022, on When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities
Read the feature on the National Poetry Library website here.
PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH CHEN CHEN
Craft Podcast, Season 1, Episode 2, online 15 December 2021
A half-hour interview with Chen Chen featured on episode 2 of the new Craft Podcast from Wasafiri magazine. He was speaking about ‘Nature Poem’ from his debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities.
‘Chen Chen is an award-winning poet based in the United States. In this episode, he talks about the composition, editing, re-editing (and re-editing), process of his poem 'Nature Poem' published in his debut National Book award longlisted collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017 and Bloodaxe Books, 2019). On apocalyptic pineapples, giving yourself permission, and what writers can learn from Marie Kondo.’
The Guardian, Saturday 1 June 2019
Chen Chen’s UK debut When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was reviewed by Mary Jean Chan in The Guardian’s monthly round-up of the best recent poetry on 1 June.
‘Chen Chen’s When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities asks how one might find humour, hope and joy amid the tensions that arise from conflicting loyalties. Queer, Asian-American and immigrant experiences collide to inform Chen’s sensual and vivid verse which attests to the surreal and dream-like nature of memory… Following in the footsteps of Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg and Frank O’Hara, Chen reaches for the sublime by offering his reader the seemingly quotidian… Chen reminds us in this tender and free-wheeling debut that all relationships are “a feat of engineering”, whether with one’s country, one’s family, or oneself.’ – Mary Jean Chan, The Guardian
The full review can be read here.
[05 September 2022]