Juvenilia Ken Chen, Louise Glück

Yale Series of Younger Poets
Publication date:
20 Apr 2010
Yale University Press
104 pages: 210 x 152 x 8mm
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Ken Chen is the 2009 winner of the annual Yale Younger Poets competition. These poems of maturation chronicle the poet’s relationship with his immigrant family and his unknowing attempt to recapture the unity of youth through comically doomed love affairs that evaporate before they start. Hungrily eclectic, the wry and emotionally piercing poems in this collection steal the forms of the shooting script, blues song, novel, memoir, essay, logical disputation, aphorism—even classical Chinese poetry in translation. But as contest judge Louise Glück notes in her foreword, “The miracle of this book is the degree to which Ken Chen 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. . . . Like only the best poets, Ken Chen makes with his voice a new category.”

Ken Chen is the executive director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. His work has been published or recognized in Best American Essays 2006, Best American Essays 2007, and The Boston Review of Books. A graduate of Yale Law School, he lives in Brooklyn, NY.

"These are the poems of intense feeling; they have isolated and dramatized the profound dilemma of the adult?s relation to childhood in poems of riveting intelligence and sharp wit and austere beauty. Like only the best poets, Ken Chen makes with his voice a new category."?Louise Glck, from the Foreword

?Chen is ?experimental? in the best and broadest sense of the term.?--Publishers Weekly

"Exquisitely stylized and wrenchingly felt."--Boston Review

Honorable Mention in the Poetry category of the 2010 Los Angeles Book Festival

This title received honorable mention in the 2011 New York Book Festival in Poetry

"'Love is Like tautology in the same way like is like tautology' is . . . an example of Chen's excellence at transcending the cleverness which seems to come easily to him. . . . Chen's relentless search for honest words bends logical rigor, homes itself toward emotion."—Elsbeth Pancrazi, Pleiades