Chen Chen's debut collection: reviews & recommendations
The UK edition of Chen Chen's debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was published by Bloodaxe in June 2019. In this ferocious and tender debut, Chen Chen investigates inherited forms of love and family – the strained relationship between a mother and son, the cost of necessary goodbyes – all from Asian American, immigrant and queer perspectives.
Chen Chen came to the UK in October 2019 to give readings at Poetry International in London and at the Centre for New and International Writing at the University of Liverpool.
BBC RADIO 4 PODCAST PUBLICITY FOR CHEN CHEN
Saturday Review, BBC Radio 4, Saturday 29 June 2019, 7.15pm
Chen Chen’s UK debut When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was the podcast choice of one of the guests on Radio 4’s Saturday Review on 29 June. Each reviewer has a podcast choice and talk about a piece of art that's caught their attention.
Cahal Dallat spoke about Chen Chen from 45.40 and said of the book that it showed ‘a wonderful imagination at work’.
Click here to listen (from 45.40). Available to download as a podcast or to listen via BBC Sounds.
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.
[19 August 2019]