Monday, March 13th at 7:00 p.m.
Selected by the highly-acclaimed poet Jericho Brown for the 15th annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, Chen Chen’s dazzling debut collection When I Grow up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities has invited comparisons to Dickinson and Walt Whitman, to name only two great poets, and is lauded for its original wit as well as active, communicative ache. Come absorb the radiant élan of Chen Chen giving a reading, talk, q&a, and signing.
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. Holding all accountable, this collection fully embraces the loss, grief, and abundant joy that come with charting one’s own path in identity, life, and love.
“Chen Chen refuses to be boxed in or nailed down. He is a poet of Whitman’s multitudes and of Langston Hughes’ blues, of Dickinson’s ‘so cold no fire can warm me’ and of Michael Palmer’s comic interrogation. What unifies the brilliance of When I Grow up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities is a voice desperate to believe that within every one of life’s sadnesses there is also hope, meaning, and—if we are willing to laugh at ourselves—humor. This is a book I wish existed when I first began reading poetry. Chen is a poet I’ll be reading for the rest of my life.” – Jericho Brown, author of Please, The New Testament
Chen Chen was born in Xiamen, China, and grew up in Massachusetts. His work has appeared in two chapbooks and in such publications as Poetry, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Best of the Net, and The Best American Poetry. In addition to the 2016 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, he has been awarded fellowships from Kundiman, the Saltonstall Foundation, and Lambda Literary. Chen lives in Lubbock, Texas, with his partner, Jeff Gilbert, and their pug dog, Rupert Giles.