CHESTERTOWN—Ken Chen, a young poet praised for emotionally piercing, often wry poems that chronicle his relationship with his immigrant family, will read from his work Thursday, October 28 at 4:30 p.m. at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Washington College.
Chen’s collection Juvenilia won the 2009 Yale Younger Poets competition, the oldest annual literary award in the United States. Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Louise Gluck, one of the competition’s judges, wrote that Chen’s writings “have isolated and dramatized the profound dilemma of the adult’s relation to childhood in poems of riveting intelligence and sharp wit and profound beauty.” The poet “manages to be both exhilaratingly modern (anti-catharsis, anti-epiphany) while at the same time never losing his attachment to voice, and the implicit claims of voice: these are poems of intense feeling,” she added. “Like only the best poets, Ken Chen makes with his voice a new category.”
In reviewing Juvenilia (Yale University Press, 2010), Publishers Weekly described Chen as “experimental in the best and broadest sense of the term.”
A graduate of the Yale Law School, Chen is director of the Asian American Writer’s Workshop in New York. He has been published in Best American Essays 2006, Best American Essays 2007 (Notable Essay), Boston Review of Book and The Wilson Quarterly,
Chen’s reading is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.