Orange Alert

Student Poet Wendy Chen G'17 Earns National Accolade

The Culture Trip names her one of "10 Young American Poets Changing the Face of Poetry"

Feb. 9, 2015, by Rob Enslin

Wendy Chen G’17, a University Fellow in Syracuse University’s M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing, has been named one of “10 Young American Poets Changing the Face of Poetry” by The Culture Trip, a one-stop website for arts, culture, and travel.

The award comes on the heels of her winning the Academy of American Poets (AAP)’s inaugural Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award for “They Sail Across the Mirrored Sea.”

“Chen is not just a promising young poet, but [also] an accomplished one,” reads her entry on

Christopher Kennedy G’88, associate professor and director of Syracuse’s creative writing program, concurs. “’They Sail Across the Mirrored Sea’ is a fine example of the quality of work our students produce,” says Kennedy, also an award-winning poet. “It’s great to see a student of Wendy's caliber receive this honor. She's a very talented poet, and all of us in the creative writing program are proud of her accomplishment."

Syracuse’s top-ranked M.F.A. program is part of the Department of English, based in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Chen, 23, came to Syracuse from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she earned a dual bachelor’s degree (with honors) in English and studio art, with a concentration in creative writing.

At Wellesley, Chen racked up multiple awards for writing and sculpture, including AAP’s University & College Poetry Prize. She also wrote for the student newspaper; and championed the role of women in leadership and new media, resulting in an internship at the Women in the World Summit at New York’s Lincoln Center.

Since then, Chen has continued honing her creative skills—not only in poetry, but also in journalism, sculpture, and photography. She is proficient in English, French, and Chinese, as well.

“I'm very grateful to be part of a community of incredibly supportive and talented writers,” says Chen, regarding Syracuse. “I've learned so much from my peers and teachers who share so generously their time, encouragement, and knowledge with us."

Of “They Sail Across the Mirrored Sea,” AAP judge Alberto Ríos writes: “This is poetry of genuine maturity, whose imagery and circumstance are constructed from patience, with a particularly demonstrable talent for turning the slowness of this story’s time into vibrant observation and compelling connection—in that way, reaching from the depths of the poem out to us who are reading it.”

Media Contact

Ron Enslin