Paperback Price: $11.95
Paperback ISBN: 1-882295-15-3

Selected Poem


I was born in summer
with a small black stone

planted inside my chest
like a spot on the lungs.

Every year it grows harder
to breathe, the air toxic

as the river I enter
not expecting to drown.

I'm a talking lie
made of bones

and ideas. A myth without
an archetype. I go from city

to city proclaiming
about life, when what I know

is words
not things

Middle Kingdom

“Here is a fresh and profound voice heralding in new cultural bridges in poetry.”
Va Quart

Middle Kingdom is the slippery, hard-to-read territory between languages, cultures, identities—a fluid, confusing boundary zone which is both enriching and embattled. Suburban, Asian-American, at home and exiled in places and tongues, 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. This volume is an auspicious, engaging debut, and its pleasures are especially evident in a signature Su poem, ‘In Mexico City’, which delights in a collision of tongues, in the human possibilities conjoined vocabularies reveal.”
—Mark Doty

“Adrienne Su is so unusual, such a good poet, and has so much to say, that she’s addictive: once you start reading her poems you want to go on forever in the Middle Kingdom. Also, she is such a good rhymer that you don’t know she’s rhyming: you find out, as you read along, that you have been rhymed deeply. She is very good.”
—Alan Dugan

“Is it authentic? Beneath this question rests a garden in all its tended beauty. This is the plot of Adrienne Su, who raises a voice of calm and subtle strength in her evocation of a new land, stretching from China to suburban Virginia, across class and race divides, defining these States, homing in on the poem. Here there is no doubt: Ms Su is the real thing, an authentic poet who lifts the craft into orbit, gives a readout that inexorably relaxes us as humans into being. That’s the poem’s home, the Middle Kingdom, where Adrienne Su lives, writes, and tends the garden.”
—Bob Holman


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