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Finding 'ferocious love' in WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A LIST OF FURTHER POSSIBILITIES

In a glowing new review from Up the Staircase Quarterly, reviewer Travis Chi Wing Lau discusses the "active, restless, ferocious love" found in Chen Chen's A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize-winning When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities.

Admitting that he came to the collection looking for "answers," Chi Wing Lau says, "I, like many other queer people of color, are left full of questions, fearful and tearful questions. And in our singular and collective askings, we struggle to grapple with traumas, old and new. But Chen forgoes the pleasure of any easy answers."

Instead, readers find that "identity is not neatly sorted out but an ongoing process of working through different forms of love with family members, lovers, colleagues, selves. Love, for Chen, is verbal, active.

"As I continue to revisit this volume, I still find myself repeating these lines from 'Spell to Find Family': 'My job is to trick / myself into believing / there are new ways / to find impossible honey.' This, in so many ways, captures what is perhaps most provocative about Chen’s work. The collection, as the title itself suggests, is about 'further possibilities,' about revising, reinventing, and reimagining the relational modes we currently have. If we are all tasked with being 'someone ‘for’ someone else—a son, a friend, a partner, a student, a dear love,' we cannot afford to be complacent or static in the ways that we inhabit and think about those relations. Interdependence is at the heart of Chen’s writing, and if we are to survive in these troubled times, we must continue to believe that there really are new ways to find the impossible honey."

Click here to read the full review.

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities is available only at the BOA Bookstore until its April publication date!


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