Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Chen Chen

Chen Chen, Poet and Stonecoast Faculty

Office Location

PO Box 9300 Portland, ME 04104



Academic Degrees

  • PhD English and Creative Writing, Texas Tech University
  • MFA Poetry, Syracuse University
  • BA Creative Writing and Asian Pacific American Studies, Hampshire College


Chen Chen was born in Xiamen, China and grew up in Massachusetts. He is the author of 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. In 2019 Bloodaxe Books published the UK edition. Chen is also the author of four chapbooks, most recently GESUNDHEIT! (with Sam Herschel Wein and out from Glass Poetry Press). His work appears or is forthcoming in many publications, including Poetry, The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Ploughshares, Poem-a-Day, and three editions of The Best American Poetry (2015, 2019, and 2021). 

He has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman and the National Endowment for the Arts. His writing has been highlighted on NPR, the PBS NewsHour, Buzzfeed, Poetry Unbound, The Slowdown podcast, and many other outlets. He has shared his writing and taught poetry workshops all across the U.S. and in the UK and Aotearoa / New Zealand. Currently, he is at work on another chapbook, a book of craft/personal essays, and a second full-length poetry collection entitled Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency. 

He teaches at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence. He also teaches for the low-residency MFA programs at Stonecoast and New England College. He is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the online poetry journal, Underblong. Chen lives in Waltham, MA with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug, Mr. Rupert Giles.

Areas of Scholarship

Asian American Literature 

LGBTQ Literature 

Hybrid Poetry/Essay 

Multilingual Writing 

Humor and Pop Culture in Poetry

Awards and Recognition

2020 Forward Prizes, Best Single Poem - Highly Commended 

2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships - Finalist 

2019 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing 

2019 Pushcart Prize 

2018 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry 

2018 GLCA New Writer’s Award 

2018 Writers' League of Texas Book Award

2018 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry - Finalist 

2018 Stonewall Honor Book in Literature 

2017 National Book Award in Poetry - Longlist 

2016 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize 

2016 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Fellowship 

2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships - Finalist 

2014 Saltonstall Arts Colony Residency 

2014 Kundiman Fellowship