Poet / Educator
Chelsea Bunn is the author of Forgiveness (Finishing Line Press, 2019), which was a finalist for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award, the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the Paris Book Festival Award, and a semi-finalist in the New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition. Her poems appear in publications in print and online, including Best New Poets, Bellevue Literary Review, The Ellis Review, Dunes Review, and other journals and anthologies. She earned her MFA in Poetry and her BA in English at Hunter College, where she was awarded a teaching fellowship and a Norma Lubetsky Friedman Scholarship. A recipient of the Rita Dove Award in Poetry, the Charter Oak Award, and a New Mexico Writers Grant, she was twice awarded the Academy of American Poets Catalina Páez & Seumas MacManus Prize, was selected as Thinker in Residence by Art in Odd Places, was named a Best New Poet of 2018, and was a finalist for the Lit Fest Fellowship for Emerging Writers, Frontier Poetry's Industry Award, the Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize, the Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry, and the Tom Howard Prize in Poetry. Her work has received recognition from The National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Poetry Society of America, The Alpine Fellowship Foundation, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Georgetown Review, and elsewhere. She serves as a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal. Born and raised in NYC, she currently lives and teaches in New Mexico.
“It can help to imagine anguish / as a small creature pawing at your hem, / wanting your attention,” Chelsea Bunn writes in this moving, unflinching collection. As she attends “the catacombs of worry” where the mind responds to what the body suffers, reprieve is hard won, provisional. Bunn’s poems investigate the ways in which redemption comes through acts of language. How attentively she listens into experience in order to transform what she hears into poetry.
— Donna Masini, 4:30 Movie
The poems in Chelsea Bunn's Forgiveness reckon with how the spirit of a woman survives and thrives in the midst of and in spite of love and loss. In one poem, for instance, the speaker says, “My body knows / what to do to stay alive,” and each of these poems seem to go about the business of proving as much.
— Jericho Brown, The Tradition
Forgiveness is not a book about forgiveness, but is instead a book about the desire for forgiveness, which can be the most overpowering of all desires, particularly when it cannot be satisfied. The most accomplished of these poems—in particular, “Inheritance”—become traps in the moment that unsatisfiable desire breaks from the poem to overwhelm the reader, and it is in those moments that Chelsea Bunn’s inescapable art is perfected.
— Shane McCrae, In the Language of My Captor
Chelsea Bunn's book Forgiveness begs to be read over and over. These are poems that grieve and yell and fight and live and, most importantly, reveal. Bunn's poems show us the depths of human compassion and failure in language that sizzles and soothes. Reader, the openness of these poems is an invitation into our own heads, into our own numerous wounds and joys so that we may save ourselves "from returning / to the dark rooms of [our] suffering."
— José Olivarez, Citizen Illegal
“This is the year of awakening” begins Chelsea Bunn’s stunning chapbook, Forgiveness. Tender in rage, flamboyant in mercy, these poems break the heart and put it back together again. We are fortunate to have this marvelous young poet among us.
— Jan Heller Levi, Orphan
"[A] reminder that contemporary poetry is not only alive and well but continuing to grow."
-- Publishers Weekly
"This collection stands out among the crowd claiming to represent emergent poets. Much of the editing and preliminary reading was done by emerging poets themselves, which results in an anthology that's fresh and eclectic, and may actually represent a significant portion of the best new poetry being written by the next generation."
-- Virginia Quarterly Review
Entering its fourteenth year, Best New Poets has established itself as a crucial venue for rising poets and a valuable resource for poetry lovers. The only publication of its kind, this annual anthology is made up exclusively of work by writers who have not yet published a full-length book. The poems included in this eclectic sampling represent the best from the many that have been nominated by the country’s top literary magazines and writing programs, as well as some two thousand additional poems submitted through an open online competition. The work of the fifty writers represented here provides the best perspective available on the continuing vitality of poetry as it is being practiced today.
Lynnhaven River, 1706 (Footnote: A Literary Journal of History, Forthcoming)
Misoprostol (Bellevue Literary Review, Spring/Summer 2021)
Planned Parenthood Abecedarian (Red Wheelbarrow: The National Edition, December 2020)
Cento for the Day We Met (Hoxie Gorge Review, December 2019)
Antilogy (The Ideate Review, October 2019)
Forgiveness (Voicemail Poems, August 2019)
Litany (Best New Poets 2018, Samovar Press, 2019)
Erotic City (The Ellis Review, November 2018)
Content Advisory (Sooth Swarm Journal, October 2018)
Saint Elizabeth (Sky Island Journal, April 2018)
The Beau Geste Effect (Noble / Gas Qtrly, March 2018)
Missed Connections (Maudlin House, February 2018)
Inheritance; Procrastination (Apathy Magazine, February 2018)
These Stories Are True (Cover, December 2017)
Valentine's Day 2012: Last Message From My Father (Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, December 2017)
Forgiveness (The Big Windows Review, November 2017)
Race (Art in Odd Places, 2016)
2006 / MFA
Creative Writing (Poetry)
2003 / BA
English (Creative Writing)
2018 - present
Assistant Professor of Creative Writing
Navajo Technical University, Bachelor of Fine Arts Program
2017 - 2018
University of New Mexico, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
2017 - 2018
Santa Fe Community College, Continuing Education Department
2005 - 2016
Hunter College, Department of English