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Charles Jensen (born April 5, 1977) is an American poet and editor.

He was born in Eagle, Wisconsin and received a Bachelor's degree in film studies and cultural studies & comparative literature from the University of Minnesota. In 2004, he received an MFA degree in creative writing from Arizona State University, where he served as a poetry editor for Hayden's Ferry Review. He received the inaugural Red Mountain Review Chapbook Prize, selected by Joel Brouwer, for his collection Little Burning Edens and the 2006 Frank O'Hara Chapbook Award for Living Things, an elegy sequence. He was a published finalist for the 2007 DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press Chapbook Award for his mixed genre story The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon.His first full-length book of poems, The First Risk, was published by Lethe Press in 2009. It was a finalist for the 2010 Lambda Literary Award. He received an artist's project grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

His writing has appeared in Bloom, New England Review, The Journal, Colorado Review, Court Green, Columbia Poetry Review, Field, Copper Nickel, Folio, Hayden's Ferry Review, Puerto del Sol, Quarterly West, West Branch, Willow Springs, Yalobusha Review, and spork. With the poet Sarah Vap, he published interviews with several poets, including C. D. Wright, Lynn Emanuel, and Frank Paino.

For several years, he worked at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, where he served as the director of their annual Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference. Following that, he moved to the Washington, DC metro area and served as the Director of The Writer's Center, one of the nation's largest independent literary centers, from 2008-2010.

In 2006, he founded LOCUSPOINT, an online literary journal dedicated to publishing creative work on a city-by-city basis, selected by a guest editor who lives in that city.

In 2009, he was elected to the board of directors of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, where he served for a term as secretary, and in 2010 he was elected by the membership of Americans for the Arts to the Emerging Leader Council, where he served as chair of the governance committee. He has often served as a state or regional judge for the Arizona and Maryland Poetry Out Loud competitions and is involved with Maryland Citizens for the Arts' Emerging Arts Advocates group.

He now serves as the poetry editor for Lethe Press.

The First Risk won a 2009 Rainbow Award as Best LGBT Non Fiction, 1st place.


The First Risk: Poems by Charles Jensen
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (September 5, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590212177
ISBN-13: 978-1590212172
Amazon: The First Risk: Poems
Amazon Kindle: The First Risk: Poems

In four extended sequences, Lambda Literary Award Finalist The First Risk confronts the murder of Matthew Shepard and the myth of Venus and Adonis through the eyes of Italian Renaissance painter Luca Cambiaso; the eccentric women of Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother and their search for authenticity; the nature of love and obsession in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and the pain and confusion of loss; and ''The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon,'' the compelling novella-in-verse of a physicist in search of his lost wife, haunted by a phantom voice that may or may not be hers.

More Rainbow Awards at my website:, Rainbow Awards/2009


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