Next Letter in the Mail: Chen Chen


Our next Letter in the Mail is from award-winning poet Chen Chen! Chen sends us a letter that is “part craft essay, part personal essay, & all-around experiment: in engaging with & creating out of obsession.”

To make sure Chen’s generous and stirring letter finds its way to your mailbox, subscribe to Letters in the Mail by July 12! And remember, Letters in the Mail helps us keep The Rumpus running—so, you can correspond with your favorite writers and support the website in one fell swoop.

Chen Chen / 陳琛 is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, Sept. 2022). His debut, 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 Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. Chen is also the author of the forthcoming book of essays, In Cahoots with the Rabbit God (Noemi Press, 2023). His work appears/is forthcoming in many publications, including Poem-a-Day and three editions of The Best American Poetry (2015, 2019, & 2021). He has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence and serves on the poetry faculty for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast. With a brilliant team, he edits the journal, Underblong. He lives in Waltham, MA with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug, Mr. Rupert Giles.


Photograph of Chen Chen by Paula Champagne.