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

Self-Portrait as a Wild Extrovert

I have 600 dear friends.

I hug each of them

daily. I never need a mint

but am always ready to offer one

or 600. I love & know a lot

about biking/baking. I love & know

a lot about Celine Dion,

thanks to my mom, who is, if I

absolutely had to pick one—but

who am I kidding, of course

she’s my best friend.

Once, every five years, I might

feel a smidge of sadness.

& when I do, I just

sit down, maintaining impeccable,

approachable posture, & breathe.

I breathe like the very well-

organized, very wall-less

ad agency I’ve run

since birth. I breathe

like breathing is my oldest

dear friend named Daphne

Daphne, whom I still call every night

before bed to say, You are

an incandescent multiverse—don’t you

forget it, & that never

fails to do the trick.




Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Humor & Satire

Poems of the Everyday

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses