"[a] vestige of light"

- Matt Mitchell, author of The Neon Hollywood Cowboy

"part ode,

part eulogy,

part cautionary tale"

- Christina Olson, author of Terminal Human Velocity & The Last Mastodon

'Preparing Dinosaurs for Mass Extinction' explores grief, recovery, and minute extinctions. It is a personal navigation through the inevitability of death as told through poems addressed to dinosaurs and other bygone creatures. The chapbook also features small tributes dedicated to sludge, forgotten gods, and white picket fences.

This work was released in August 2021 under ZED Press.

Sample poems can be found here.

"a masterclass in poetic worldbuilding"

- Christian Butterfield, National Student Poet 2019

what people are saying

Preparing Dinosaurs for Mass Extinction is a work of colossal ambition. The poems inside are violently curious, never afraid of reaching their hands outward, even if they are first met with a darkness they must quickly paddle through before discovering glitter. I am thankful for this vestige of light Rena Su has glinted into our hands, and I am thankful for the ways it guides us upon arrival. Preparing Dinosaurs for Mass Extinction takes a historical ending and prolongs it beautifully. And when the dust settles, the pages end, and whatever creatures remain slowly emerge from the clay, Rena Su will be a voice worth holding onto.


—Matt Mitchell, author of The Neon Hollywood Cowboy 

Preparing Dinosaurs for Mass Extinction is a masterclass in poetic worldbuilding. Su traces her exploration of grief across prehistoric canyons and lizard king, a Jurassic-era memory palace that feels equal parts reverent and forward-thinking. These poems are cyclical; they stretch across chronology, celebrate its dead as if they were still living. In this chapbook, extinction can be gorgeous if one allows it. Beneath the asteroid collisions and vultures' nests, there is simply a young poet staring death in the face, willing the world to rebuild itself again.

—Christian Butterfield, National Student Poet 2019

Part ode, part eulogy, part cautionary tale, this exhilarating collection apologizes to the dinosaurs we’ve lost—or never had. I love the lacing of poetry and paleontology, the fragments inherent to both fields, and the gentle, almost apologetic way that Rena Su addresses the long-dead reptiles. The book cleverly weaves together lyricism, erasures, broken forms, and snippets of language, so every page feels a little like a dig site. I felt less like a reader and more like a paleontologist as I turned the pages—what shard of bone, of phrase, will surface next?

—Christina Olson, author of Terminal Human Velocity & The Last Mastodon