Sally Wen Mao

Sally Wen Mao (Poetry) | New York, NY

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Sally Wen Mao is the author of Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014). She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and National University of Singapore. Her work is published or forthcoming in Poetry, A Public Space, Tin House, Black Warrior Review, The Missouri Review, and Best American Poetry 2013, among others. She was the 2015-2016 Writer-in-Residence at the National University of Singapore and is the 2016-2017 fellow at Dorothy B. Cullman Center at the New York Public Library.


Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014). Poetry.


Blurbs, Press & Reviews

“Linguistically dexterous and formally astute, Mao’s tight and textured debut [Mad Honey Symposium] onjures an absurd, lush, occasionally poisonous world and the ravenous humans and animals that travel through it. . . . With echoes of Glück and Plath, Mao generates stunning landscapes where the flora and fauna reflect her presence and strength of voice.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This is one way to render the feeling—a massive nuclear reaction; an intensity of flavor that parts flesh—of losing yourself in Sally Wen Mao’s debut Mad Honey Symposium. It’s a “dendriform paradise” birthed from seeds of sensations of hunger, desire, and danger—among a host of other subjects—all fertilized by a visceral, textural synaesthesia…This constant flood of diction swells the brain and excites nerve endings. It’s like being at a concert where the bass frequencies rise from the floor and suffuse the air; tightening your chest, setting your hair on end, and relaxing certain muscles that should stay constricted in polite company.”
—Alex Crowley, The Literary Review

“The most exciting book in this trio…is Sally Wen Mao’s debut, Mad Honey Symposium…She learned Plath’s tension: the stakes are always high — perhaps sometimes one gets a little sweaty in the heat in these lines — and when there’s humor, it is of a dark kind…she’s catchy in other ways: there are plenty of portable lines here, esoteric truisms that would make excellent T-shirts, tattoos, or trucker hats. I’m tempted to tattoo “Even the thickest skin is still a membrane” on my chest.”
—Craig Morgan Teicher, Poetry Magazine

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