Chen Chen's debut collection reviewed in The Guardian
The UK edition of Chen Chen's debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities is 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.
Mary Jean Chan reviewed the collection for The Guardian of 2 June 2019.
‘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.
Chen Chen will be coming to the UK in October 2019 to give readings in London and Liverpool:
Sunday 20 October: Poetry International in London (reading with fellow Bloodaxe American poet Patricia Smith)
Monday 21 October: University of Liverpool (reading with Vidyan Ravinthiran, who also has a book published by Bloodaxe in June).
Full details will be posted in due course.
[03 June 2019]