Sister Mariella Gable Series
2019 Sister Mariella Gable Series Winner
Sally Wen Mao Public Reading: February 4, 7:00 p.m. Upper Gorecki
Sally Wen Mao is the 2019-2020 Sister Mariella Gable Award recipient for her work Oculus, published by Graywolf Press. Oculus explores exile not just as a matter of distance and displacement, but as a migration through time and a reckoning with technology. The title poem follows a girl in Shanghai who uploaded her suicide onto Instagram. Other poems cross into animated worlds, examine robot culture, and haunt a necropolis for electronic waste. A fascinating sequence speaks in the voice of international icon and first Chinese American movie star Anna May Wong, who travels through the history of cinema with a time machine, even past her death and into the future of film, where she finds she has no progeny. With a speculative imagination and a sharpened wit, Mao powerfully confronts the paradoxes of seeing and being seen, the intimacies made possible and ruined by the screen, and the many roles and representations that women of color are made to endure in order to survive a culture that seeks to consume them.
Sally Wen Mao is the author of a previous poetry collection, Mad Honey Symposium. Her work has won a Pushcart Prize and fellowships at Kundiman, George Washington University, and the New York Public Library Cullman Center.
Learn more about Past Winners which include titles by Jamel Brinkley, Edwidge Danticat, Susan Stewart, Claudia Rankine, Ru Freeman, Deborah Baker, Binyavanga Wainaina, Tiphanie Yanique, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Linda Gregg, Tracy K. Smith, Nurruddin Farah, Jane Kenyon, Clint McCown, Joe Coomer, Judith Kitchen, and Victoria Redel.