In carefully crafted lines that are often humorous ("Asian Driver: The Sestina"), Su explores the risks that an individual encounters as a member of any community: a neighborhood, a family, a racial group, a gender, a parent. While many of these poems are about being a mother ("With Children"), Sanctuary is also about being the child of Chinese immigrants, for whom ambition is a lower priority than survival ("Escape from the Old Country").
Sanctuary contains the following poems:
The English Canon, Escape from the Old Country, New York, Fear of Flying, Men at Forty, Women, In the Maternity Shop, Bargain, Wedding Gifts, Summer of the Abducted Child, China II, Foreign Languages, College, Geography, Ars Longa, Sleep When the Baby Sleeps, China III, I Can't Become a Buddhist, Adolescence, Creation, Publication, Fear, Female Infanticide: A Guide for Mothers, From the Provinces, Spring, Provincetown, Things Chinese, Asian Driver: The Sestina, Asian Driver: The Haiku, Postpartum Vocabulary, The First Trimester, Woman under a Roof, Early Work, Secundigravida, Anxiety, With Children, The Girls Learn to Levitate
Su, Adrienne. Sanctuary. San Francisco, CA: Manic D Press, 2006.