Charles JensenCharles Jensen (he/him) is the author of the poetry collection Nanopedia and six chapbooks of poems. His third collection, Instructions Between Takeoff and Landing, will be published by the University of Akron Press in 2022. He received the 2020 Outwrite Nonfiction Chapbook Award for Cross-Cutting, a diptych of essays that hybridize memoir and film criticism. The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs designated him a 2019-2020 Cultural Trailblazer, and he is the recipient of the 2018 Zócalo Poetry Prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, the 2007 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award, and an Artist’s Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Journal, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner, and essays have appeared in 45th Parallel, American Literary Review, and The Florida Review. He founded the online poetry magazine LOCUSPOINT, which explored creative work on a city-by-city basis. He hosts The Write Process, a podcast in which one writer tells the story of crafting one work from concept to completion, and with Jovonnie Anaya co-hosts You Wanna Be on Top?, an episode-by-episode retrospective of America’s Next Top Model. He lives in Los Angeles and directs the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension.

Photo: David Franco


Nanopedia is available from Tinderbox Editions, Amazon, and other online retailers.

The cover art is by Faith Christiansen Smeets.


Taking the form of “the world’s smallest encyclopedia” of American culture, the prose poems in Nanopedia explore concepts coined in or corrupted by (or both) America from vantage points that are both deeply personal and politically charged.


“Charles Jensen’s Nanopedia is a lovely book of ironies and experiments about the history of a nation that can’t seem to be honest about its history.  As is his fashion, Jensen reinvents our idea of what the political poem is and what it can do through an adherence to artifice that seems to wonder what is real. This is a stunning book!” —Jericho Brown, author of The New Testament and The Tradition

“If Nanopedia is the smallest American reference, then Charles Jensen is the smallest American reference librarian. In Jensen’s book, a prose poem crawls into the shell of a dictionary definition and comes alive there, wandering off to unexpected places from Domestic Terrorism to Online Dating to White Privilege. These tiny poems are part aphorism, part parable, part history, part memoir, part comedy, part tragedy. They are the shards of ‘a bomb that detonates inward.’”
—Stephanie Lenox, author of The Business and Congress of Strange People

“Charles Jensen’s second book of poems is brimming with humor and pathos packaged into small prose poems with titles as varying as the material within the poems. These are poems by poet who observes the world, takes it apart, and puts it back together in different forms. What lucky readers we are to witness this mind at work and what a good laugh we might get in the process.”  —Victoria Chang, author of The Boss and Barbie Chang


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