Spring Craft Intensive: Chen ChenWorkshops
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Happy Poems! with Chen Chen
Saturday, May 27
10 AM – 1 PM PST/ 1 PM – 4 PM EST
Do they exist? If they do, can they be as good as the poems that wreck us? Can a happy poem wreck us? And how can we avoid sentimentality or is that a risk we just need to take? In this generative session, we’ll look at Ross Gay’s essay, “Joy Is Such a Human Madness” (from his collection The Book of Delights) as a compass for our discussion and a starting point for writing about/from/through happiness, joy, and pleasure. Within the genre of happy poem, we’ll think about poems that celebrate love, sex, community, and connection of various kinds. We’ll examine some model poems by Ross Gay and by others, including Czesław Miłosz, Derrick Austin, Jane Wong, Nikky Finney, and Yanyi. Come prepared to engage in jubilant experimentation.
BIO: Chen Chen is the author of two books of poetry, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022) and When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. His work appears in many publications, including Poetry and three editions of The Best American Poetry. He has received two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from Kundiman, the National Endowment for the Arts, and United States Artists. He was the 2018-2022 Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University and currently teaches for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast. He lives with his partner, Jeff Gilbert, and their pug, Mr. Rupert Giles.