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Chris Hosea


Born in Princeton, New Jersey, on November 11, 1973, Chris Hosea earned a BA in English and AmericanlLiterature from Harvard College. He then went on to receive his MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

His first poetry collection, Put Your Hands In, was selected by John Ashbery as the winner of the 2013 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, and was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2014.

About Put Your Hands In, Ashbery writes:

Exactly a century ago, the Armory Show brought European avant-garde art to New York. We are still experiencing its consequences. Among the works on view was Marcel Duchamp’s notorious Nude Descending a Staircase, which a derisive critic wanted to rename, “Explosion in a Shingle Factory.” Both titles come to mind as one reads Chris Hosea’s Put Your Hands In, which somehow subsumes derision and erotic energy and comes out on top. Maybe that’s because “poetry is the cruelest month," as he says, correcting T.S. Eliot. Transfixed in mid-paroxysm, the poems also remind us of Samuel Beckett’s line (in Watt): “The pain not yet pleasure, the pleasure not yet pain.” One feels plunged in a wave of happening that is about to crest.

Hosea is also the author of Double Zero (Prelude, 2016). He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Double Zero (Prelude, 2016)
Put Your Hands In (Louisiana State University Press, 2014)

Chris  Hosea
Photo credit: Frank Oblak

By This Poet


Hopscotch Smudges

The day you left
Do not leave
I cried out why
Any unsolicited female
My heart froze numb
Advertising material
My mind blank as
On this property
It were baked Alaska
Newspapers and magazines only
Vanilla noggin rocking
No dogs allowed
You stuck kiss to my ear
Do not feed
As if caught in a conch
The sea will not make any more
Passionate whispers
Boring art
I locked those secrets by a slide
Security provided
Hung with ripped phone cords
Guardian solutions
Rippled abs
Long gone forever
We deliver
For you
To you
For you

New Make

what comes next is
possible to theorize one
period emerging now
explore late ailments
see shells or pounds of ruler
also a lecture at Choate
spurred her ken for new
nests that break ice
got the germ of moribund style
what is it that Joe wants
to free poetry from
deliberate space of wail
conveys a need for hugs
one more future among none
not quite forgotten now
easy to get heated at a lectern
after drinking television looks
better be stumping for ease
that offspring will steal
like lovely stickers peeled
from white shapes that held
tells you she was born built
as much as born to slip
into a car driven by a diver
you and she do not yet
perceive as form critique allows
for just some laughter not waste
pretense unforgiven hidden patience
every tentative second awaiting buses
means you are wanted
like a wanted man is wanted
eyes deliberate blur past posters would I
lick off your lipstick and rouge

Everything Is Going To

As we unlocked it
there was nothing
in the safe
I wanted
to embrace
someone there
so intent to record
all we saw
paying attention meant
but you
at that age or later on
a kind of stage
your solitude
a fictive situation
parceled among the crowd
multiplying your every gesture
in outline
unto degradation
I wanted to stop
defending comfort
and touch you to
begin undoing
the rigmarole
of our passing

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