Interior Image

Sherry Quan Lee

Years: 1996; 2000


Sherry Quan Lee, MFA, 1996, University of Minnesota, and first year Cave Canem participant 1996 is the author of Love Imagined:  a mixed race memoir; a Minnesota Book Award Finalist 2015, Modern History Press, Ann Arbor, MI, and  How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman's life, 2008, and Chinese Blackbird,  memoir in verse, 2002.  Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic.  Retired from teaching Creative Writing at Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, she continues to teach and mentor in Twin Cities venues such as The Loft Literary Center.  Lee is the literary editor of How Dare We! Write, 24 writers of color share the challenges they face(d) as writers, why they continue to write, and how they find ways to make their writing available, due out 2017.




Father escaped mother with his chow mein

and the flaming red-haired woman who


served it to him. Mother remained starched

white rice steaming in a black


kettle. Jesus was at the Lutheran church

across the street—I had access


to him. this white light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine

let it shine ‘til Jesus comes; this white light


of mine No one knew, Jesus and I weren’t white

each of us conceived—immaculately.


Hungry for sweet potato pie and string bean chop suey,

I jumped the fence, the neighborhood, the city.


At a monastery in New York I confess to a priest,

and twenty-seven poets that I am Black


and they, the Cave Canem poets, respond, Amen.

Sticky Rice, publishes my poem, “White Dragon”


no one says: you’re not Asian.  

I shave my head. Thank you Nikki Giovanni,


Sapphire, Ndegeocello. I am a Buddhist

nun, burn the chapters of my memoir

one by one.