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


You are the ice cream sandwich connoisseur of your generation.


Blessed are your floral shorteralls, your deeply pink fanny pack with travel-size lint roller just in case.


Level of splendiferous in your outfit: 200.


Types of invisible pain stemming from adolescent disasters in classrooms, locker rooms, & quite often Toyota Camrys: at least 10,000.


You are not a jigglypuff, not yet a wigglytuff.


Reporters & fathers call your generation “the worst.”


Which really means “queer kids who could go online & learn that queer doesn’t have to mean disaster.”


Or dead.


Instead, queer means, splendiferously, you.


& you means someone who knows that common flavors for ice cream sandwiches in Singapore include red bean, yam, & honeydew.


Your powers are great, are growing.


One day you will create an online personality quiz that also freshens the breath.


The next day you will tell your father, You were wrong to say that I had to change.


To make me promise I would. To make me promise.


& promise.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age



LGBTQ+ Experience

Pop Culture

Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Varied Punctuation

diverse use of punctuation.