Chen Chen


陳琛 / Chen Chen’s second book of poetry, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, is forthcoming from BOA Editions in Sept. 2022. His debut, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. In 2019 Bloodaxe Books published the UK edition. Chen is also the author of four chapbooks and the forthcoming book of essays, In Cahoots with the Rabbit God (Noemi Press, 2023). His work appears/is forthcoming in many publications, including Poem-a-Day and three editions of The Best American Poetry (2015, 2019, & 2021). He has received two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from Kundiman and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence and serves on the poetry faculty for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast. With a brilliant team, he edits the journal, Underblong. With Gudetama the lazy egg, he edits the lickety~split. He lives in Waltham, MA with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug, Mr. Rupert Giles. Source

excerpt from “When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities”

To be a backpack of PB&J & every

thing I know, for my brothers, who are becoming


their own storms. To be, for me, nobody,

homebody, body in bed watching TV. To go 2D


& be a painting, an amateur’s hilltop & stars,

simple decoration for the new apartment


with you. To be close, J.,

to everything that is close to you—


blue blanket, red cup, green shoes

with pink laces.


To be the blue & the red.

The green, the hot pink.






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age


Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


A device in which the last word or phrase of one clause, sentence, or line is repeated at the beginning of the next.


two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic