Ching-In Chen

Ching-In Chen (Poetry) | Houston, TX

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$500-$2000 (Negotiable)

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Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart’s Traffic (Red Hen Press/Arktoi Books) and recombinant (forthcoming from Kelsey Street Press) as well as co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities. A Kundiman, Lambda and Callaloo Fellow, they are part of the Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities. They have also been awarded fellowships from Can Serrat, Millay Colony for the Arts, the Norman Mailer Center and Imagining America. Their work has appeared in The Best American Experimental Writing, The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing, and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. They serve on the Executive Board of Thinking Its Presence: Race, Advocacy, Solidarity in the Arts as the Director of Membership and Social Media and as senior editor of The Conversant.


recombinant (Kelsey Street Press, forthcoming)
The Heart's Traffic (Red Hen / Arktoi Books, 2009)
The Heart’s Traffic (Red Hen / Arktoi Books, 2009)

Press & Reviews

Ching-In Chen composes a book-length sequence that inventively incorporates such Western and Eastern forms as the sestina, villanelle, epistle, haibun, pantoum, and zuihitsu. ‘A girlbirth in the flanks of the zodiac, / a gift of fossilizing heat,’ she writes in this mythic, cross-cultural collection.
—Arthur Sze

At the overwhelming crossroads, where the body, sexuality, and culture collide, you will find The Heart’s Traffic fibrillating with emotion and pumping forth the strained language that shudders off the tongue, ‘end of the intimate and divine source.’ No wonder, then, that these poems warrant such innovation of shape, direction and structure, such defiance of pleasantries and political correctness—they thrive ‘objecting to the world around them.’ Ching-In Chen has come out to unsettle the poetry stage with a debut collection that shimmers with fierceness and ‘sunslickstarfight.’
—Rigoberto Gonzalez

Ching-In destroys idioms, genres, ‘crafts’ and the various literary borders and orders of East/West canons. Then she re-stories (not “restores”) an anti-poem made of anti-novels and anti-heroes and sheroes. I am captivated by her labyrinth voices, by Xiaomei’s wicked tender wand, by Ching-In’s anti- I-Chings of parable, wisdom jokes, love letters, word-tables, false self-immolations, anti-ethnographies and brutal investigations of double-heavens and double underworlds. This is brilliant super-nova bursting-bursting love and loss and mind and body and greedy-mouth-demon-sparrow spirit. A magic language sorceress power-kit. A border-breaking, time-bending, space-burning, herstory-making work. Number one, if there were numbers.
—Juan Felipe Herrera, Author of Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems

One knows from the amazing number of modes and styles in The Heart’s Traffic that Ching-In Chen is no ordinary poet. She is in fact many poets at once: a poet of wide ranging forms, a poet of resonant voices, and most significantly, a poet anchored by intensity. Shapely and wild, personal and cultural, tough and vulnerable, this is a poet and a poetry of steadfast innovation and depth.
—Terrance Hayes

Ching-In’s first book, The Heart’s Traffic, constructs a re-naming, a caterwaul call to arms to attend to an archipelago of hybrid identity: political, sexual, and always love-persuaded. Here the father is temporary, the mother is dead-alive and girls are writing tiger-legends through sestina, haibun, and the lost letters that must be reinvented if we can understand this new American body.
—Sarah Gambito

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