A poet who ignores the world is contemptible.

Charles Simic, “With Sherod Santos.” The Uncertain Certainty, U of Michigan P, 1985.

Two continents stitch each other shut.

Ching-In Chen. from “[as a space to occupy] crossing the source.” recombinant, Kelsey Street Press, 2017.

Misrecognition: Global Loss and Personal Survival

Simic and Chen, though they hail from drastically different backgrounds and write using different, yet equally remarkable, styles, both push back against Auden’s famous assertion that poetry makes nothing happen. Through material images, the efficacy of objects themselves, Simic is able to move poetry beyond narrative and confessional modes and into the ontological. Chen’s experimentation with form meta-textually represents the trans-cultural atrocities that races have and continue to commit to one another.  African-American poets like Jericho Brown and Tracy K. Smith have, in recent years, written poems that have made measurable change occur in the Black Lives Matter movement and in American cultural consciousness.

When I began seriously writing poetry over a decade ago, I did so with the intention of making things happen. Since then I have honed my craft under the tutelage and guidance of poets like Dara Wier, A. Van Jordan, Gerald Stern, Richard Jackson, Mark Cox, and Paul Guest. In the workshops I have organized and led, I have tried to temper their influence with my own creative pedagogy. In addition to traditional workshop review, I create diverse reading lists for students based upon their interests and styles. Through analysis and imitation, these reading-heavy workshops focus on diverting student attention away from themselves and toward the world at large.  This re-focusing does not erase the personal, but fashions it through an objective correlative, leading to writing that is tempered and evocative, without sacrificing emotion.

I consider myself an Asian-American poet, who much like Brenda Shaughnessy and Jon Pineda, wrestle with their mixed-race identity. My writing is traditionally narrative, though I have recently experimented with less traditional forms.

For samples of my poetry, click here