Serrina Zou


Serrina Zou is a Chinese-American writer from San Jose, California, a 2019 California Arts Scholar in Creative Writing, a 2020 Foyle Commended Young Poet, and a two-time Scholastic National Medalist in Poetry. Her poetry and prose have been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, The Poetry Society of the UK, Just Poetry!!!, the Asian Pacific Fund, the Crown Education Challenge, the American Jewish Historical Society, and the Bay Area Book Festival. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the National Poetry Quarterly, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Up North Lit, under the gum tree, and elsewhere. Source

Abecedarian for American Assimilation

& how we lose ourselves against the new year

burning brighter with each dying

candle, baiting our breaths in the temple’s

dimness. Already, the newborn lantern light

ebbs away from our fluttering fingers, echoing

fireflies mating at dusk. How we used to sink into

grey, muted by the silhouette of a nation

hungering for our heads; our hands clasping

in between gasps for mercy. Tell me, is my

jaded tongue invitation for this prayer of

knives? At night I toil among the reaping ghosts,

listening to the thunder of fireworks my ancestors

mistake for the revolution’s canons. In my family

no spirit escapes the altar where orange incense &

opium drown the cries of a body lingering against

perfumed mortuary of language. Like a daughter, I

quiet the rebellion knotted inside my throat; in

rigor mortis, morning excavates my ashes inside

sutured skies. In every dream, I consider coming clean

through my skin like a shadow, every bare bloodline

unedited & untouched. In every reality, I play

vulture to my native vocabulary; carve the exit

wounds into the spine of teeth, whispering

xīn nián​ kuài lè i​n worship of the newness

yellowing the old. Somewhere in the next life, I want to

zip these sacred scars, memorialize the forgotten.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Intersectionality & Culture

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:


an ancient form that is guided by alphabetical order. When written in English, each line or stanza generally begins with the letters of the alphabet in order. The form was traditionally used in ancient cultures for sacred writings such as prayers, hymns, and psalms.


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”

Transferred Epithet

When an adjective usually used to describe one thing is transferred to another.