Faculty Spotlight: Chen Chen
Chen Chen became a poetry faculty member in NEC’s MFA in Creative Writing program in January 2020. Since joining NEC, he’s felt warmly welcomed, at ease, and happy to be among incredible minds.
“I love my students and my fellow faculty in the MFA program—such brilliant writers and interesting people. I consider myself an introvert, though I can get pretty extroverted when it comes to talking about writing, and the conversations I get to have at and through NEC are just the best.
People should join the low-residency MFA program at NEC because it’s a beautiful community of wacky writers, and I mean ‘wacky’ as the highest compliment. We’re weirdoes, and we’re committed to exploring, examining, and expanding our weirdnesses on the page. Every time I talk with an NEC student or teacher, I learn something delightful, and I’m excited to carry that delight back to my own writing. As I mentioned, I’m an introvert and I can be shy or take a very long time to open up to people. But at NEC, since the very beginning, I’ve just felt so warmly welcomed and at ease and happy to be among these incredible minds, these artists.
The coolest thing I’ve gotten to do as a poet is visit both the U.K. and New Zealand back in 2019. I got to share my writing and teach workshops as part of their international poetry festivals. Though at the end of day, the thing that really makes me the happiest is writing poems. Or reading them!
My first book, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, came out in 2017 from BOA Editions. My new book, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, will be out this fall from BOA Editions and Bloodaxe Books. Both books explore family (blood as well as chosen) and love from queer, immigrant, and Asian-American perspectives. And I’m immensely grateful to United States Artists for the amazing fellowship that will allow me to refocus on writing projects, including some nonfiction.”