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Tupelo Quarterly calls WHEN I GROW UP 'surprising, imagistic, surrealistic'

In yet another glowing review of Chen Chen's When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, this time from Tupelo Quarterly, reviewer Victoria Chang calls the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize-winning collection "a book that is miraculous in all its pain, trauma, and humor."

She continues, "At its core, Chen’s book tackles several themes such as migration, coming of age as a gay man, Asian American experience and identity, family love and disappointment, love and unrequited love, and more. But how originally and deftly Chen writes from these experiences is what ultimately makes his book so powerful. Specifically, Chen’s skillful use of repetition to mimic obsessive trauma, his surprising imagistic and sometimes surrealistic leaps, and his use of humor throughout, all work together to create a unique voice."

According to Chang, "Part of the power of Chen’s book is derived from the chanting repetition both within poems and threaded throughout the collection."

The review concludes: "Beyond the mesmerizing repetition, unexpected images and language, and humor, many of the poems are philosophical, questioning, and have beautiful lyrical endings. . . . This is a book that is part elegy for the past and part love song for the future. This remarkable debut is hopefully the first of many possibilities to come."

In other news, Chen Chen just published a Lambda Literary piece on his recent book tour travels, "Navigating Poetry Readings and the L.A. Food Scene: A Week in the Life of Poet Chen Chen." The piece is part of "The Banal and the Profane," a monthly column in which "[Lambda Literary lifts] the veil on both the writerly life and the publishing industry. In each installment, we ask a different LGBTQ writer, or LGBT person of interest in the book industry, to guide us through a week in their lives."

Click here to read the full review from Tupelo Quarterly.

Click here to read Chen's full piece for Lambda Literary.

For more on When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, visit the BOA Bookstore.


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