Charles Jensen

Charles Jensen (Poetry) | Los Angeles, CA

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Charles Jensen is the author of six chapbooks of poems, including the recent Story Problems and Breakup/Breakdown, and The First Risk, which was a finalist for the 2010 Lambda Literary Award. A second collection, Nanopedia, was published in 2018 by Tinderbox Editions. His previous chapbooks include Living Things, which won the 2006 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award, and The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon (New Michigan Press, 2007). His poem “Tucson” received the 2018 Zócalo Poetry Prize. A past recipient of an Artist’s Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, his poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Bloom, Columbia Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Field, The Journal, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is the founding editor of the online poetry magazine LOCUSPOINT, which explores creative work on a city-by-city basis. He lives in Los Angeles.


Nanopedia (Tinderbox Editions, 2018). Poetry.
Nanopedia (Tinderbox Editions, 2018). Poetry.

The First Risk (Lethe Press, 2009). Poetry.
The First Risk (Lethe Press, 2009). Poetry.


  • Story Problems (Palooka Press, 2017). Poetry.
  • Breakup/Breakdown (Five Oaks Press, 2016). Poetry.
  • The Nanopedia Quick-Reference Pocket Lexicon of Contemporary American Culture (MiPOESIAS, 2012). Poetry.
  • The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon (New Michigan Press, 2007). Poetry.
  • Living Things (Thorngate Road, 2006). Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award. Poetry.
  • Little Burning Edens (Red Mountain Press, 2005). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press, & Reviews

“Charles Jensen’s Nanopedia is a lovely book of ironies and experiments about the history of a nation that can’t seem to be honest about its history. As is his fashion, Jensen reinvents our idea of what the political poem is and what it can do through an adherence to artifice that seems to wonder what is real. This is a stunning book!”
—Jericho Brown, author of The New Testament and The Tradition
“If Nanopedia is the smallest American reference, then Charles Jensen is the smallest American reference librarian. In Jensen’s book, a prose poem crawls into the shell of a dictionary definition and comes alive there, wandering off to unexpected places from Domestic Terrorism to Online Dating to White Privilege. These tiny poems are part aphorism, part parable, part history, part memoir, part comedy, part tragedy. They are the shards of ‘a bomb that detonates inward.’”
—Stephanie Lenox, author of The Business and Congress of Strange People
“Charles Jensen’s second book of poems is brimming with humor and pathos packaged into small prose poems with titles as varying as the material within the poems. These are poems by poet who observes the world, takes it apart, and puts it back together in different forms. What lucky readers we are to witness this mind at work and what a good laugh we might get in the process.”
—Victoria Chang, author of The Boss and Barbie Chang
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