The Art of Telling with Chen Chen via Zoom

Typically, the principle of “Show, don’t tell” is sound advice for poets—we should aim to evoke and enact emotion, to surprise through imagery and sensory detail. In this generative workshop, though, we will explore how we might use “telling” in beautiful, unexpected, and politically engaged ways. We will examine modes and moods of “telling,” like the discursive, the aphoristic, the bold remembering, the conversationally witty, the necessarily strange challenge to the normative. Writing experiments will occur in between discussion of model poems. We will consider how it is often a fresh combination of the abstract and the concrete that creates a new, startling connection in the reader’s mind. Participants can expect to generate at least three new pieces.

This class is capped at 15. Zoom login information will be sent via email at the time of registration. Please register at:

Chen Chen is a poet and essayist interested in Asian American histories and futures, family (bio and found), queer friendship, multilingualism, hybrid texts, humor, and pop culture. His debut collection, 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 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, the GLCA New Writers Award, the Texas Book Award for Poetry, and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. The collection was also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and named a Stonewall Honor Book in Literature. Bloodaxe Books published the UK edition in June 2019.

Chen is also the author of four chapbooks: Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015), Kissing the Sphinx (Two of Cups Press, 2016), You MUST Use the Word Smoothie (Sundress Publications, 2019), and GESUNDHEIT! (with Sam Herschel Wein and out now from Glass Poetry Press). His work has appeared in many publications, including Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, Poem-a-Day, The Best American Poetry (2015 and 2019), The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best of the Net, and Bettering American Poetry.

In 2019, he received a Pushcart Prize and a NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing. He has also received fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, Lambda Literary, the Saltonstall Foundation, Sundress Academy for the Arts, and Tent: Creative Writing. He was a 2015 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. He won the 2015 Matt Clark Editors’ Choice Award from New Delta Review. Poets & Writers featured him in their Inspiration Issue as one of “Ten Poets Who Will Change the World” and The Atlantic featured him in an article entitled “How Poetry Came to Matter Again.“ His work has been translated into French, Greek, Russian, and Spanish. He has been a featured poet at schools, festivals, and conferences across the nation and abroad in the UK and New Zealand.

He holds an MFA from Syracuse University, where he was a University Fellow, and a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Texas Tech University, where he received a J.T. and Margaret Talkington Fellowship and won the Warren S. Walker Award for Best Critical Writing.

As an editor, he has worked on Salt Hill, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Gabby Journal. He has also guest-edited or judged for several journals. With his best friend, Sam Herschel Wein, he co-runs Underblong.

He has taught for Writers & Books in Rochester, NY; Winter Tangerine guest seminars online and at Poets House; and The Watering Hole Retreat in McCormick, SC. He is a recurring online instructor for The Adroit Journal’s Summer Mentorship Program; the Speakeasy Project; and Catapult. He is Visiting Faculty for low-residency MFA programs at Antioch University Los Angeles, New England College, and Stonecoast. He teaches creative writing at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence.

He lives in Waltham, MA with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug, Mr. Rupert Giles.

Photo Credit: Jess Chen.

Please note: The Altman POC Scholarships are free and given on a first come, first served basis. Please notify us right away if your plans change and you cannot attend the class. We will then reopen the slot so another student may register. Thank you in advance for this consideration.

Event Location and Ticket Information

Date: Sunday, October 4, 2020
Times: 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Ticket pricing:

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Presenter: Hudson Valley Writers Center
Presenter Phone: 9143325953