Adrienne Su


Adrienne Su is the author of five books of poems, Peach State, Living Quarters, Having None of It, Sanctuary, and Middle Kingdom. Su's awards include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Foundation grant, and residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, The Frost Place, The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She studied at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and the University of Virginia. Since 2000, she has taught creative writing at Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she is Poet-in-Residence. Source


Photo by Guy Freeman


A crate of peaches straight from the farm

has to be maintained, or eaten in days.

Obvious, but in my family, they went so fast,

I never saw the mess that punishes delay.


I thought everyone bought fruit by the crate,

stored it in the coolest part of the house,

then devoured it before any could rot.

I’m from the Peach State, and to those


who ask But where are you from originally,

I’d like to reply The homeland of the peach,

but I’m too nice, and they might not look it up.

In truth, the reason we bought so much


did have to do with being Chinese—at least

Chinese in that part of America, both strangers

and natives on a lonely, beautiful street

where food came in stackable containers


and fussy bags, unless you bothered to drive

to the source, where the same money landed

a bushel of fruit, a twenty-pound sack of rice.

You had to drive anyway, each house surrounded


by land enough to grow your own, if lawns

hadn’t been required. At home I loved to stare

into the extra freezer, reviewing mountains

of foil-wrapped meats, cakes, juice concentrate,


mysterious packets brought by house guests

from New York Chinatown, to be transformed

by heat, force, and my mother’s patient effort,

enough to keep us fed through flood or storm,

provided the power stayed on, or fire and ice

could be procured, which would be labor-intensive,

but so was everything else my parents did.

Their lives were labor, they kept this from the kids,


who grew up to confuse work with pleasure,

to become typical immigrants’ children,

taller than their parents and unaware of hunger

except when asked the odd, perplexing question.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:






Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same


A stanza made of four lines.