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SHERRY QUAN LEE, author of Love Imagined: a mixed race memoir, Modern History Press, August 2014, How to Write a Suicide Note, Loving Healing Press 2008, and Chinese Blackbird, Asian American Renaissance, 2002, reprinted 2008 by Loving Healing Press, approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. She is a Distinguished Alumni of North Hennepin Community College. She is the former Program Associate for the Split Rock Arts Program summer workshops and the Online Mentoring for Writers Program at the University of Minnesota where she also earned her MFA in Creative Writing. Quan Lee is a community instructor at Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and she facilitates community workshops at Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN, and elsewhere. She was a first year, 1996, participant of Cave Canem, a writing retreat for Black poets.
How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman's life
Desperation in shifting waves of rhythm; hope in scuttling across consciousness of living; rolling in the distance between self and the outside; a poetical delirium giving out vibes of bitter truth and sweet resilience - there is so much of substance in Sherry Quan Lee's poetry titled How to Write a Suicide Note (Modern History Press, 2008) that one may assert it as a crash course in the impact of growing up as a woman and as an ethnic minority in a multicultural society.
For its title, Lee's book stands in danger of rousing fear or concern, sounding like an offer of assistance in passing to the other side - the dreaded one. But thanks to the subtitle serial essays that saved a woman's life, which gives a hint of the book's greater purpose. And yet, it takes a while before an average reader can come to terms with Lee's desultoriness so profusely showing in each page of her verse like a medium catching vibes from multiple dimensions and conveying them in a somewhat unsorted pattern. Persistence and concentration on behalf of the reader brings joy and depth to Lee's message, interwoven with her personal story, cultural critique, and philosophical/existential interpretation of life experiences.
Lee's poetry in How to Write a Suicide Note is one of the few that probe into the origin of emotional trauma as something beyond the individual; living as a Black-Chinese woman in a white-dominated society, her status as a woman of a minority class culturally pressured her into becoming (and acting) someone she really was not; hence, the pain of deprivation from the natural right of self-expression. For Lee, it is a historical trauma traveling through the medium of culture with individuals at the receiving end.Read more ›