Eva Chen

Eva Chen is a 16-year-old poet, photographer and social justice activist. Her writing has been recognized in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition and published in The Weight Journal, Catcher Zine, and Cathartic Literary Magazine. She co-founded Footprints on Jupiter, a teen literary magazine, to raise funds for the World Literacy Foundation.

In the summer of 2021, she volunteered at the California State Treasurer’s Office and conducted independent research on current issues and public policy in California. She has authored a four-page analysis paper on The Street Medicine Act (AB 369) and gave presentations on ways to address ongoing state problems through legislation.

As a Burlingame Public Library Teen Advisory Board Member, she helps organize activities catered to youth and teens. Some of her projects include writing workshops and a poetry slam for United Against Hate Week. Through Letters Against Depression, she volunteers online to write letters to those battling mental health issues.

In March 2022, Eva was named the San Mateo County Young Woman of Excellence Awardee, and will be the first youth poet to be inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in May. The Women’s Hall of Fame is the first of its kind in the State of California, conceived by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo in 1984 to recognize outstanding women for their achievements and contributions to the overall wellbeing of our County.

In September 2022, Eva Chen was appointed Youth Poet-in-Residence of the City of Burlingame.

Ecopoem

DECOMPOSE

Every year, 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are thrown away as landfill. These pumpkins go on to decompose and are then emitted as methane, which is 20 times more harmful than carbon. 

this is what happens to 
the orange corpse: 

first, the shell crumbles 
into the ground, seeds 
pouring into the dampened 
dirt. next, 

it’s organs seep into the roots 
of earth, green coils
pulled by swollen worms. 

finally, when it is dissected
& grey, body numb like a plum,
it will sit under the heaps of soil & 

slowly roll into a tiny ball
of heat, four molecules stringing 
like beads to rise up to the surface 
& swallow us whole. 

Copyright © 2021 by Eva Chen. Used with permission of the author.

Read Eva Chen’s poem on identity, “Retracing”.