By day, Feng Sun Chen works at a nursing home in Minneapolis, by night she creates biting poetry such as her latest collection, The 8th House (Black Ocean 2015). She is also the author of the book of poetry Butcher’s Tree (Black Ocean 2011) and the chapbooks Ugly Fish (Radioactive Moat 2011), Arcane Carnal Knowledge (Mortal Steaks 2012), and blud (Spork Press 2011). She has an MFA from the University of Minnesota and sometimes writes about potatoes and art for Montevidayo. For more information on Chen, visit her blog.
Like a thousand tiny teeth gnawing through language’s tender membranes, Butcher’s Tree eats through the gloom of the visible world. Nocturnal, feral, and foraging, Chen’s is a poetry whose ‘purity strips the meat from inside.’ Inside these mesmeric vaults, skins fuse and ‘the cored body’ grows rhizomes, burrowing into everything. The echolocating clicks and pops of Chen’s alchemical practice make audible the astounding sound of our own ‘hearts… growing teeth.’
Butcher’s Tree is animal, foody, and thick with the materials of local and ancient and visionary worlds. My favorite parts feel ripped from the myths and tales and fables I might have known once upon a time, waving like strange numinous laundry on the line of Feng Sun Chen.