“Su negotiates the mercurial new world of cultural commingling in witty, formally assured poems—often in elegantly accomplished forms which themselves add to the layering of cultural reference."—Mark Doty
Written in the shadow of the devastating events of 9/11, these beautifully crafted narrative poems reveal heartfelt insights into the emotional life of a contemporary woman in her late thirties—balancing marriage, motherhood, and career—as well as contemplating her experience as the daughter of Chinese immigrants, for whom ambition is a lower priority than survival. While many of these poems are about being a mother (“With Children”),Sanctuary is also about being the child of a mother (“Escape from the Old Country”). In measured lines that are often humorous (“Asian Driver: The Sestina”), Su explores the risks that an individual can and can't take as a member of any community: a neighborhood, a family, a racial group, a gender, a parent.
Adrienne Su was born in 1967 and raised in Atlanta. She received her AB from Harvard and an MFA from the University of Virginia. Her essays have been published inSaveur, Prairie Schooner, and Beard House. Her awards include a Pushcart Prize, as well as residencies at Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony. Her poems have appeared inBest American Poetry, Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation, andPoetry 30: Thirtysomething American Thirtysomething Poets. Su teaches at Dickinson College. She is also the author ofMiddle Kingdom (Alice James Books, 1997).