Chinese Blackbird, Sherry Quan Lee
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   Chinese Blackbird - Price: $16.95    

by Sherry Quan Lee, ISBN: 978-1-932690-68-2
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This is the third book in the ‘Reflections of History Series” from Modern History Press ( Author Sherry 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 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. [ Rate Book ]  [ Report Listing ]

Biography :

SHERRY QUAN LEE, author of Chinese Blackbird (an underground favorite), Asian American Renaissance, 2002, 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. Currently, she is the 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. Recently retired from ten years of teaching Creative Writing at Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Quan Lee facilitates community workshops at Intermedia Arts, and elsewhere. She was a first year, 1996, participant of Cave Canem, a writing retreat for black poets.

Book Review :

Honest, tender, ruthless, revealing, harsh, enlightening, and truthful are just some of the words that describe Sherry Quan Lee's imaginative and poignant language portrayed in "Chinese Blackbird." Born to a Black mother and a Chinese father, Quan Lee struggles with her identity, not only because of the multi-cultural orientation but because she was convinced by her mother to say she is white.

As I read Quan Lee's writings, I couldn't help but wonder if her identity crisis was really caused by the multi-cultural background as she portrays. Although I will not discount the magnitude it would have had on her life, I also see much more in the writing. I see a lack of self-certainty, sexual-identity questioning, as well as role experimentation - much of what most humans experience as conflicts in their lives regardless of culture. Whether or not Quan Lee's identity crisis was caused by a multi-cultural/color insecurity, or it was due to lack of parenting, alcoholism, drug abuse, or many of the other facets in her life, one cannot judge the experience of another person. But we do know each one of us has a choice whether or not we want to wallow in the past or choose to create a different life for ourselves and move forward. According to Quan Lee's words she is progressing in finding her true self and moving forward.

I commend Quan Lee for exposing her thoughts and life outside of herself. As a poet, her language is powerful, powerful enough to entice the reader to look into his or her own life and question their own identity. "Chinese Blackbird" will touch your soul.

(Irene Watson for Reader Views)

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