Bio

Ken Chen was a 2019-2020 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, where he worked on his next book Death Star. The book follows his journey to the underworld to rescue his father and his encounters there with those destroyed by colonialism. He was the 2009 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for his book Juvenilia, which was selected by the poet Louise Glück. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Bread Loaf writers Conference, he has published nonfiction in Best American Essays, N+1, The New Republic, Frieze, The New Inquiry, Poetry, and NPR’s All Things Considered. He is represented by The Wylie Agency.

Chen served as the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop from 2008 to 2019. He has worked as a consultant for numerous organizations, including Creative Capital, the New York Community Trust, the Academy of American Poets, and the National Book Foundation, for which he served as a National Book Award Judge. He also co-founded the cultural website Arts & Letters Daily and CultureStrike, a national arts organization dedicated to migrant justice.

He has been quoted in NPR’s All Things Considered, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. A graduate of Yale Law School, he successfully defended the asylum application of an undocumented Muslim high school student from Guinea detained by Homeland Security.

View his LinkedIn page here.

Download full CV here.


MEDIA MENTIONS & APPEARANCES

A Poem in The Nation Spurs a Backlash and an Apology,” New York Times, 8/1/18.

Michael Derrick Hudson Won Awards as Yi-Fen Chou.” Daily Beast, 4/20/18

Signatory to a letter in support of Queens Museum of Art Executive Director Laura Raicovich. Hyperallergic 1/31/18.

A Writer Workshop for Workers and a Long Poem,” The New Yorker, 9/7/17.

How the American Creative Writing Community Can be Made More Inclusive,” PW, 5/6/16.

AAWW Continues the Conversation,” Poets & Writers, 12/15/15.

Something Borrowed,” The New Yorker, 10/5/15.

There’s a New Movement in American Poetry and It’s Not Kenneth Goldsmith,” The New Republic, 2015.

They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist,” Buzzfeed, 9/11/15.

A White Poet Borrows a Chinese Name and Sets Off Fireworks,” New York Times, 9/9/15.

Jeff Chang on Hip Hop, Street Art, and Racial Justice in America,” NBC News, 11/12/14.

 “#ActualAsianPoet Claps Back at White Poet Who Used Asian Pen Name,” Colorlines, 9/14/14.

To Achieve Diversity In Publishing, A Difficult Dialogue Beats Silence,” All Things Considered, 2014.

 “In Elite MFA Programs, The Challenge Of Writing While ‘Other,’” All Things Considered, 2014.

“’Real Asian poets’ fight back in Best American Poetry race row,” The Guardian, 9/14/15.