Chelsey Minnis grew up in Denver. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of Baby, I don't care (Wave Books, 2018), Poemland (Wave Books, 2009), Zirconia (Fence Books, 2001), Foxina (Seeing Eye Books, 2002) and Bad Bad (Fence Books, 2007). She lives in Boulder, Colorado. She also writes screenplays.
(author photo by Rasheeda Winfield)
Some poets are cutters, others are curers, showing up to every occasion like a condolence-wisher with a casserole. Chelsey Minnis is firmly in the first category. Her verse arrives well chilled. It is served with misanthropic aplomb. . . . Her poems marinate in the sort of feelings you don’t like to admit you have. There’s a tang of Nietzsche in her antisocial desires, her amorality. Minnis is a bored, fierce, literate attendee at what the poet Frederick Seidel has referred to as “life’s cotillion.”
—Dwight Garner, New York Times
[Minnis] has more killer lines per square-foot than Seidel even. Her subject is poetry, its awfulness, its pretensions, its ‘business’, and she arrives armed.
—Sam Riviere, The Quietus
If you agree with Aristotle when he writes in the Poetics that “the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor” and that such mastery is “a sign of genius,” then you might also agree that Chelsey Minnis is a brilliant mastermind.
–Chris Tonelli, Black Ocean
The great substance of Minnis’s writing is what she can do without typical poetic accoutrement. No vivid imagery, no rhyme or meter, no real sonic resonance, just honest language stripped apart and put back together in a way that is rarely seen: honestly.
Minnis excels at teetering in perfect balance between the childishly vapid and the ultimately truthful.
–Elisa Gabbert, Open Letters
Minnis mixes the postmodern with the nearly archaic: her exclamatory lines contain an almost troubadour-like quality in their exuberance for announcing their thoughts.
The force behind Minnis’s work is truly in the baldness of the lines. She does not force her readers into her self-made paradigms or attempts to define objective truth. She writes, you read, that’s it.
[Minnis's] poems can be read as audacious and defiant, but behind the bold façade a vulnerability is contained and nurtured.
–Amy Key, Poetry London
Reviews of books by Chelsey Minnis
Baby, I don't care
- Eight Poems (in Stockholm Review)
- Five poems (in Coconut Poetry)
- “Revenger” (in GutCult)
- Six poems (in The New Yinzer)
- Five poems (in Play / No Play)
- Poetry London with Amy Key
- Chelsey Minnis talks to Emily Berry from The Poetry Society