• AUTHOR ACCLAIM

    “In her raw, passionate and unflinching How to Write a Suicide Note, Sherry Quan Lee has committed a bold act of courage, naming ghosts and fears that can paralyze us, reminding us that sometimes we must die in order to really live, encouraging women and people of color to re-vision our lives as artists, in order to begin anew.”

    —Shay Youngblood, author of Soul Kiss and Black Girl in Paris

    “Sherry Quan Lee negotiates the difficult path of language between raw and educated, bare and poetic, to bring forth searing writing that is its own truth. Even if we don’t intentionally lie in our own work, How to Write a Suicide Note pushes us to reconsider a more honest way of speaking. It reminds us that writing is no less than an act of truth, although it holds our shame, our desire to cover, and that at every moment, with every word, we make a choice to go to truth if we are invested in our own lives.”

    —Anya Achtenberg, author of The Stone of Language, The Stories of Devil-Girl, and creator of the Writing for Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World Workshops

    “I love the female aspects, the sex, and the strong voice Sherry Quan Lee uses to share her private life in How to Write a Suicide Note. I love the wit, the tongue-in-cheek, the trippiness of it all. I love the metaphors, especially the lover and suicide ones. I love the free-associations, the ‘raving, ravenous, relentless’ back and forth. Quan Lee breaks the rules and finds her genius. This is a passionate, risk-taking, outrageous, life-affirming book and love letter.”

    —Sharon Doubiago, author of Body and Soul, Hard Country; and other works

    “Who am I? Where do I fit in? From where will I draw my strength? By turns lyrical and fierce, the poems in Chinese Blackbird ask some of the essential questions of identity. Sherry Lee writes soulfully of the joy and pain of an examined life.”

    —Alison McGhee, Associate Professor, Metropolitan State University Author of novels, poetry and picture books for all ages

    “Sherry’s Chinese Blackbird is a double phoenix triumph. It’s a triumph over the stories we hide about ourselves or the stories we’re told we have to hide.”

    —Marlina Gonzalez, Programs Manager, Intermedia Arts

    “Sherry Quan Lee’s books, Chinese Blackbird and How to Write a Suicide Note are evidence that writing helps to acknowledge and work through issues that affect women of color, especially biracial women. They are handbooks for writers who want guidance in the craft of writing; but, mostly they are books of hope.”

    —Lori Young-Williams, student in Quan Lee’s workshop, Stories that Save Lives

    “Sherry Lee is a bold writer. Her work shines on the page. The way she tells her truths, her sharp eye for cultural details, for where passion and longing reside, her wit–all are in evidence on every page of Chinese Blackbird. I love the way her mind works, and her willingness to travel off expected paths in order to find the forms and the images she must have to make her art.”

    —Deborah Keenan, poet, professor, Hamline University MFA program

    “In Chinese Blackbird, Sherry Quan Lee renders stories of her complex cultural heritage with the lyrical touch of a poet coming into self-possession. In revealing herself in her poetry, Lee exhibits in no uncertain terms the following motto: “I write myself, therefore I am.” As, Dr. Henry Louis Gates asserts in Bearing Witness: Selections from African-American Autobiography in the Twentieth Century, such a saying, “…could be taken as the motto of [African-African people] in this country.” Lee, both African-American and Chinese, creates a work representing the U.S. Black literary tradition replete with autobiographies of Black writers, who birth, name and claim the self that has often been denied, stemming from the antebellum period of slavery to the postmodern era of the new millennium. Through the generative power of language, Lee creates an inspirational and a multifarious self. This self blows breath unto the page and into the reader, who may have felt quiescent or invisible, often feeling forced to choose among various enriching worlds, until she experiences the truth that only good literature can unveil about the joys and struggles of defining oneself on one’s terms.”

    —Pamela R. Fletcher, Associate Professor of English Co-Director of Critical Studies in Race and Ethnicity, College of St. Catherine

    “It’s been a long time since I’ve been treated to a voice so full of honesty about one’s struggle to come to terms with her identity. Through elegant poetry, full of exquisite imagery and detail, Quan Lee takes the reader on her personal, transformative journey, in which she explores how race, class, gender, and sexual identity inform who she is.”

    —Carolyn Holbrook, Artistic Executive Director, SASE: The Write Place

    “Quan Lee eloquently expresses how painful and confusing it can be to embrace the many complex identities that one body can contain. With evocative imagery and words that cut straight to the heart, Quan Lee details her lifelong struggles with both the vagaries and concreteness of race, class, gender and sexual identity. Her guilt and shame are palpable. But so too are her emotional and intellectual triumphs. Like a favorite sad song when we have been dumped by the love of our lives, this volume will be oddly comforting to anyone who has ever been overcome by that sorrow which seems insurmountable.”

    —Eden Torres, Assistant Professor Women’s Studies, Chicano Studies, University of Minnesota

    “And after you finish this book you will say to yourself, if you have any sense at all, this woman is a hero. This book is a gift. This book is a small and powerful miracle. If you read it with an open mind and heart, it will tell you much about America; it will tell you truths that are not there in our culture of mass media or in our canonized literature.”

    —David Mura (from preface to CHINESE BLACKBIRD)

    How to Write a Suicide Note is a haunting portrait
    of the daughter of an Black mother and a
    Chinese father. Sherry dares to be who she isn’t
    supposed to be, feel what she isn’t supposed to
    feel, and destroys racial and gender myths as she
    integrates her bi-racial identity into all that she is.
    Through her raw honesty and vulnerability,
    Sherry captures a range of emotions most people
    are afraid to confront, or even share. Her work is
    a gift to the mental health community.”

    —Beth Kyong Lo, M.A., Psychotherapist