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12.23.2015

Poet Justin Chin taken off life support after stroke

Award-winning writer was a prominent figure in the Bay Area's literary scene.



Sad news out of San Francisco. Award-winning writer and poet Justin Chin, a prominent figure in the Bay Area literary scene, was taken off life support Tuesday after suffering a massive stroke last week.

S.F. Poet Justin Chin Taken Off Life Support After a Stroke

On Friday, a neighbor discovered Chin, 46, unconscious after hearing a loud sound from his apartment. After several days in the intensive care unit, doctors said Chin was unlikely to recover, and his family requested to remove him from his ventilator, according to friends.

Born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore, Chin made his way to the United States, eventually settling in San Francisco. Chin's prolific writing -- he wrote and published seven books -- often explored his identity as a gay Asian American.

Born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore, Chin came to San Francisco, where his raw and often funny writing made him a prominent figure in the Bay Area literary scene. His first book of poetry, Bite Hard, was published in 1997 by San Francisco’s Manic D Press. Two more followed: Harmless Medicine in 2001 and Gutted — a series of poems about Chin’s experience of taking care of his ailing, elderly father — in 2006. Gutted won a Thom Gunn Award for Poetry in 2007 and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.

Chin also published Mongrel: Essays, Diatribes & Pranks with St. Martin’s press in 1999 and a quasi-memoir, Burden of Ashes, with Alyson Publications in 2002.

In both his poetry and prose, Chin explored his identity as a gay Asian American. Bite Hard studies — in vivid detail — lovers and dreams, crabs and HIV. But his work quickly shifts from gritty to nostalgic. In “Incontinence,” one of the poems in Gutted, Chin describes how one of his father’s medications robs him of urinary and bowel control. “And I just again want to be the one/who fell asleep in the stands with his head/in his dad’s lap at the home team’s first game,” he writes.
More here: Justin Chin, San Francisco Poet, Off Life Support After Stroke


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