A little over a year after being named executive director of the Asian American Writers' Workshop, Ken Chen can add another impressive line to his resumé. Yale University Press on Wednesday announced that he is winner of this year's Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. His first collection, Juvenilia, will be published next spring.
Chen, who succeeded Quang Bao at the New York City-based nonprofit organization, is the first Chinese American to win the prestigious poetry award in over twenty-five years. In a statement released by the Writers' Workshop, Chen credits the organization for giving him the support he needed to finish his first book. "It was the Workshop that led me to find a community of writers, who gave me the encouragement and mentorship I needed to complete my manuscript," he says.
Louise Glück chose Juvenilia for the award, which is given for a first collection by a poet under the age of forty. It was Glück's seventh pick as the series judge. Since 2004 she's chosen the following collections: It Is Daylight by Arda Collins, The Earth in the Attic by Fady Joudah, Frail-Craft by Jessica Fisher, Green Squall by Jay Hopler, Crush by Richard Siken, and The Cuckoo by Peter Streckfus.