Chris Hosea (born November 11, 1973, Princeton, New Jersey) is an American poet. Hosea earned his BA in English from Harvard University. He earned his MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst's MFA Program for Poets & Writers. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Ashbery selected Hosea's first poetry collection, Put Your Hands In, for the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Ashbery, in his judge's citation for the Walt Whitman Award, wrote that Hosea's poetry "somehow subsumes derision and erotic energy and comes out on top...One feels plunged in a wave of happening that is about to crest."
Reviewers of Put Your Hands In have highlighted the book's emphasis on contradiction, the absurd, and sound, comparing it to poetry by Language poets. Critic Stu Watson described Hosea's poetry as "not a confession but a revelation," calling it the product of "an impossibly refined imaginative vision, a vision that, remarkably open to interpretation, manages to reveal almost nothing about its creator, the poet beyond the page, while disclosing volumes about the contemporary reality in which that poet lives." Cristina M Rau critiqued the book's "distracting...references to hyper-contemporary technology that simply does not seem to fit: iPhones, Facebook, Uggs, Instagram," but added that "The pieces confuse and delight and reveal in a mostly successful way." Publishers Weekly found that Put Your Hands In "juggles sexualized imagery, contemporary and historical pop cultural references, and an inventive approach to language that is as relentlessly provocative as it is approachable." Library Journal described Hosea's poetry as an "energized, tumbling mass of tight-stitched imagery" that "presents a sort of nutty roadshow of American culture."
Hosea's second book of poems, Double Zero, was published in 2016 by Prelude. Poet Ben Fama called the collection "by turns melancholy, fragmented, and true to feeling....a book-length artist statement via linguistic selfies," and claimed that Double Zero "accurately maps the experience of the contemporary subject." The Brooklyn Rail noted that "Hosea’s excess of language and sensation, more than any recent poetry collection, captures the unlimited economy of text and experience in 2016, a life that is constantly refreshing as our thumbs push forward on our personal screens, “pictures quoted in pictures.” Writing in Jacket2, critic Joe Fletcher described Double Zero as follows: "These poems reject the model of surface and substratum, linear chains of logic, narrative, or meditation — poetry that conceals and ultimately bestows upon the diligent reader a kernel of meaning. Instead, Hosea’s poems are horizontally distributed linguistic planes, glittering splinters of the quotidian sliding through one another, shrapnel of heterogeneous temporalities." Double Zero was named a "Best Poetry Book of 2016" by Flavorwire and Entropy Magazine
Hosea is curator of the Brooklyn-based Blue Letter Reading Series, which was named "Best Reading Series (Poetry)" in New York City by The L Magazine. Hosea is the recipient of fellowship residencies from Vermont Studio Center and Writers Omi Ledig House. Hosea was also the recipient of a 2016 artist residency from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Hosea's visual and conceptual artwork is represented by Brooklyn gallery Transmitter.
- "Put Your Hands In" (LSU Press, 2014)
- "Double Zero" (Prelude, 2016)
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