Liu's "Preface" is unlike any other prefaces I've read out there; it is a haibun that captures his sense of self-identity and reality as if they are balancing on scales. Consider the following excerpt:
My mind can't find a resting place except writing poetry - the only way I can manipulate the reality of my life in Canada.
It is evident that Liu's hometown is in Taipei, Taiwan, yet in this haibun, there is much more room for readjustment to his new life in Canada. This story is shared by many of us (including relatives and friends) who are immigrants as we know that it is a lifelong process of letting go, yet still remembering one's own motherland wherever that may be. The only thing that is constant and ironically stationary in Liu's life is his poetry writing.
Speaking of Liu's hometown, I absolutely love the diction and the continuity of the images in this following haiku:
peeling my pear in a thin, unbroken spiral ... hometown memories
This haiku evokes nostalgia and is simply beautiful. The reader can imagine that both the peeling pear and Liu's hometown memories are all in an "unbroken spiral." I love the fusion between human nature ("memories") and nature ("pear").
Liu also demonstrates versatility and skill in one-line haiku such as the following selections:
slowly I eat up a spring day quickly dissolving
single married single again a rushing river
In "[slowly]," the reader can see that the speaker of the haiku is eating up "a spring day" with the first reading, but at the same time or with the second reading, it is noted as the spring day being quickly dissolved while the speaker is eating something. Either way, I love the ambiguity and gustatory experience of this one-like haiku.
In "[single]," this reminds me of tributaries that all flow and merge together to become one big river. There is irony in the human experience when it comes to relationships (e.g., divorces, breakups, marriages, etc.): we go through these changing phases of relationships as if we are small streams ourselves trying to flow into one big river in the name of love. The middle part of the haiku with "single again" works like a hinge. It could be that the speaker of this haiku is "single again" or is experiencing once "again a rushing river" as in a rush of emotions.....
My book is now available through Lulu.This collection of short poems is filled with themes of immigration, learning English, racialized identity, and a poet’s life struggles.
Following the Moon to the Maple Land
My book (First Prize Winner of the Spring 2011 Haiku Pix Chapbook Contest) is now available through http://www.haikupix.com/ You are one of the most lyric haikuists in our worldwide haiku family. You have the gift of tugging at our hearts. I can see why so many of your haiku have won awards. -- Neal Whitman, renowned American poet
Ripples from a Splash
My book is now available through www.lulu.com [Liu's] haiku resonates the Asian spirit, and makes use of aesthetics in a continuum of time that is permanent and impermanent; the process more important than the subjective specificity of object bias found in most Anglo-Western haiku like poems. His poetry demand to be interpreted by the informed reader. They do not tell all, are not based on an “aha” moment, and have no definitive ending. More importantly they give meaning and voice to the unsaid, the magic inherent in Japanese poetry. -- Poetry Review by Robert D. Wilson, Editor-in-chief of Simply Haiku.
A New Resonance 7
A New Resonance 7: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku edited by Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts. I'm featured in this anthology and have 15 haiku included in it. This is the seventh volume in a series that has won the Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Award in each of its first six appearances.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Chen-ou Liu (劉鎮歐) was a college teacher, essayist, editor, and two-time winner of the national Best Book Review Radio Program Award. In 2002, he emigrated to Canada and settled in Ajax, a suburb of Toronto. There, he continues to struggle with a life in transition and translation. Featured in New Resonance 7: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku, and listed as one of the top ten haiku poets for 2011 (Simply Haiku, 9:3&4, Autumn/Winter 2011), Chen-ou Liu is the author of Ripples from a Splash: A Collection of Haiku Essays with Award-Winning Haiku, Following the Moon to the Maple Land (First Prize Winner of the 2011 Haiku Pix Chapbook Contest), and Broken/Breaking English: Selected Short Poems. His tanka and haiku have been honored with 49 awards, including Certificate of Merit by the Tankagendai Corp, 7th International Tanka Festival Competition, 2012, Tanka First and Third Places in the 2011 San Francisco International Competition, Grand Prix in the 2010 Klostar Ivanic Haiku Contest, and 特選 (Prize Winner) in the 2010 Haiku International Association Haiku Contest.