Chelsea B. DesAutels

Literature: Poetry

Minneapolis, MN
August 2020

Chelsea B. DesAutels is a poet and educator living in Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Copper Nickel, Missouri Review, The Adroit Journal, Massachusetts Review, Willow Springs, Pleiades, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Inprint Verlaine Prize in Poetry and has served as Poetry Editor of Gulf Coast. Chelsea was a recent finalist for the Jake Adam York Prize (Milkweed Editions), Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry (Sarabande Books), and Levis Prize in Poetry (Four Way Books).

Chelsea’s first full-length poetry collection, Metastasis, explored the experience of a pregnancy-caused cancer diagnosis in the early months of motherhood. She explained, “My current work picks up where Metastasis leaves off asking questions like, ’What happens when what we owe each other and ourselves overlap, or when we behave selfishly, or when we make mistakes?’ These threads inevitably lead me back to place.” Chelsea adds, “Minnesota—both the urban and, perhaps more often, the rural landscape—features prominently in my new work. I am thrilled to spend a month immersed in the landscape that I am studying and researching, and certainly immediate access to that geography will be productive for the imagery and metaphors in my new poems.”

With help from the Anderson Center and the City of Red Wing, Chelsea installed a temporary “poetry walk” featuring signage with her nature-inspired poetry on a paved path in one of Red Wing’s public parks. Toward the end of her residency, Chelsea led a small group through the outdoor poetry walk, where she shared some of her work and reflections on her residency in Red Wing.