SAN FRANCISCO—Award-winning San Francisco poet, essayist, and performance artist Justin Chin has died at the age of 46. Chin was known for his unique and bold style of writing that incorporated politics with his personal sense of humor and raw vulnerability with Asian American queer identity.
He died after being placed in palliative care at the California Pacific Medical Center in the Castro District on Thursday, December 24 after having a stroke on December 18. According to the Lambda Literary organization, Chin was discovered unconscious and unresponsive on December 18. After several days at the medical center, Chin’s family requested that he be taken off of life support after doctors notified them Chin would unlikely recover. He is survived by his brother, Julian Chin, and mother, Evelyn Chin.
According to the Poetry Foundation, Chin was born in 1969 in Malaysia and received his education from Singapore and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In 1991, he transferred to San Francisco State University’s journalism program and began writing poetry, essays, fiction, and spoken word performance pieces. In 1995 and 1996, Chin joined the San Francisco National Poetry Slam team.
A friend and colleague of Chin’s, Minal Hajratwala stated in a post: “When I think about Justin Chin, I think about generosity…The density of image and language and attention is what I’ll always associate with Justin.”
According to the Foundation, Chin was the author of several poetry collections, including 98 Wounds, Bite Hard, Harmless Medicine, and Gutted. Chin’s work won the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award for Poetry and he was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. He was also the recipient of several fellowships and grants from the California Arts Council, Djerassi Artist Residency, Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art Awards, the PEN American Center, and PEN Center USA West, according to the Academy of American Poets.