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Voices and Verses

National Poetry Month: “to become diagram” And “island where these things (seed)” By Ching-In Chen

The Houston poet talks about layering voices and playing with syntax.


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Catherine Lu
“To me, poetry is a way to tell stories and represent the texture of our lives.” – Poet Ching-In Chen (pictured with “recombinant”)

In this sound portrait, Ching-In Chen talks about telling the stories of diverse communities using an experimental writing style, and reads two poems from a new collection, recombinant.

Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart’s Traffic (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press) and recombinant (Kelsey Street Press) and co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (South End Press; AK Press) and Here is a Pen: An Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets (Achiote Press). A Kundiman, Lambda, Watering Hole and Callaloo Fellow, they have also been awarded fellowships from Can Serrat, Millay Colony for the Arts, the Norman Mailer Center and Imagining America. Chen’s work has appeared in The Best American Experimental Writing, The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. They are currently an Assistant Professor in Poetry at Sam Houston State University, the poetry editor of the Texas Review and a senior editor of The Conversant.


These poems are published in "recombinant" (Kelsey Street Press, 2017) and reprinted with permission by the author.

Ching-In Chen reads from "recombinant" at Brazos Bookstore on May 19.

To learn more about this series, go here.

Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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