USEREVIEW 113 (Capsule): Explodingly Yours

Joanna Acevedo/ March 15, 2023/ Book Review, Capsule Review

Chen Chen
Explodingly Yours (Ghost City Press, 2023)
ISBN 978-1-7327347-8-4 | 48 pp | $10 USD | BUY Here


In Chen Chen’s latest chapbook, Explodingly Yours, which came out in January 2023 from Ghost City Press, Chen explores similar themes from his previous two books, but with a more explicit touch. The chapbook is erotic, ephemeral and formally innovative for Chen. As seen in his most recent release, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced An Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022) Chen experiments with couplets, free verse and shape poems in a way that feels new and exciting due to his eclectic word choices and witty word pairings, as well as pushing the content of his poems in a deeper, even more candid direction.

Explodingly Yours is a tender, loving chapbook — full of moments of queer sex, love and joy. Chen is not dwelling on the past as he has in other releases, trying to parse through experiences that have been painful. Rather, Chen is looking for moments of lightness, happiness and power. Chen uses humour and clever introspection to address deep emotional worries that we all wonder about, with his trademark juxtapositions adding a wittiness that make this forthcoming chapbook a delight to encounter and spend time with.

Recommended excerpt:

Chen interrogates and celebrates queer joy and humour, such as in quotes like this, from the poem ‘Better or Worcester’ (p. 18):

Your soup is hot & your butt
hotter. Someone will burn his or her
or your tongue on both. Your fiscal year

is already full of fiscal days.
You have all the reasons for some of your behavior.

Joanna Acevedo (she/they) is the Pushcart nominated author of the chapbook List of Demands (Bottlecap Press, 2022) and the books The Pathophysiology of Longing (Black Centipede Press, 2020) and Unsaid Things (Flexible Press, 2021). She received her MFA in Fiction from New York University in 2021. More:

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