Friday, June 20, 2014

Cool Announcement: My Simply Haiku, a Freebie at Scribd

My Dear Readers:

I just uploaded My Simply Haiku to Scribd. The haiku included in this document were published in Simply Haiku (8:2 Autumn 2010 – 10:3 Spring/Summer 2013). I was the featured poet in the Summer 2010 issue ("An Interview with Chen-ou Liu"), and my work was reviewed by Robert Wilson, Co-Editor in Chief, in the Autumn issue of the same year (“An Evaluation and Introspective Look at the Haiku of Chen-ou Liu”). Furthermore, I was listed as one of the top ten haiku poets for 2011 (9:3,4, Autumn/Winter 2011).

moonlit pond...
a frog penetrates
(Summer 2011)

winter moonlight in my hand
length of the night
(Autumn 2011)

winter dawn
a butterfly wakes up
in my dream
(Summer 2011)

Selected Haiku

on withered grasses
the night whiter

this urge
to look back on my life ...
a wedge of geese

snow on snow...
the depth of night
in this attic

the melting clock
on my attic wall
shifting shadows
(for Dali)

the cold moon...
I want to touch her
into words        

winter light
in a room of mirrors
my dog and I

autumn twilight
zig-zag flight of a heron
from the marsh

not a word
since our last moonlit kiss
yet autumn...

the Siren sings
to me from the other shore…
midsummer dream

dying embers...
reciting Neruda
to myself

his gun...
fascinated with

You can read the full text here

Enjoy your reading


Note: I started writing haiku in late 2009, and my work was featured in New Resonance 7: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku, which was edited by Jim Kacian and published in 2011. Below is my 2010 Simply Haiku interview: 

An Interview with Chen-ou Liu
by Robert D. Wilson

“My mind, which was yearning after some indescribable thing from morning to night, could find an outlet to some extent only by making poems.”

– Ishikawa Takuboku

“I feel the pain and I see the beauty.”

– Masaoka Shiki

RDW:  Seemingly, out of nowhere you appear in the haiku world like a jack-in-the-box, your haiku is getting attention.  Most people writing good haiku today have been at it a long time, some for decades, and are, of course, well known.  Few, however, are Chinese, and fewer are those who were born and raised in Taiwan and come to North America to earn a living, and compose quality haiku in a language, like Chinese, that is considered one of the hardest languages to learn.  And as I learn more about you, I see that you’re an individual who puts his all into everything he does, some call it perfectionism. You literally become one with your art while composing.

What brought you to North America? ... Read the full text here


  1. winter dawn
    a butterfly wakes up
    in my dream

    I like the simplicity of this poem where the poet used ordinary words to convey an ordinary image: a butterfly waking up from hibernation, and turned it into an extraordinary image at a moment of enlightenment. I, too, like the creative twist at the end: at my dream! I like the association to the old famous Japanese poem: Am I a man who dreamed that he was a butterfly? Or, am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man.
    A good haiku as this one leaves room for interpretation. Who is the butterfly, why did wake up in the poet's dream, what is the significance of the logo: dawn and many other questions. Thus, the reader gets involved in the process of the poetic creation, where s/he starts completing the missing parts of the image. This positive involvement guarantees the reader's enjoyment.

  2. Hi! Rita:

    Many thanks for your insightful comment. It has brightened my day.

    As for the allusion. It's the Chinese story, "Zhuangze's Butterfly Dream," which was adopted as the foundational text of Japanese butterfly haiku:

    The title of the section name, Butterfly Dream, refers to one of the famous stories recorded in the Zhuangzi (pinyin) or Chuang Tzu (Wade-Giles):

    “Once [Zhuangzi] dreamt he was a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was [Zhuangzi.] Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable [Zhuangzi]. But he didn't know if he was [Zhuangzi] who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was [Zhuangzi.] Between [Zhuangzi] and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.” 13

    In the first haiku lexicon, Yama no I (Mountain Spring published in 1647), there is an explanatory passage under the entry titled Butterfly: “Butterfly. The scene of a butterfly alighting on rape blossoms, napping among flowers with no worries. Its appearance as it flutters its feathery wings, dancing like whirling snowflakes. Also the image is associated with [Zhuangzi’s] dream, suggesting that one hundred years pass as a gleam in a butterfly’s dream.” 14 To demonstrate how to use this butterfly imagery, the compiler Kigin gives the following example:

    Scattering blossoms:
    the dream of a butterfly –
    one hundred years in a gleam 15

    Since then, the penetration of Zhuangzi’s butterfly dream into themes and images has clearly been seen in Japanese haiku.

    For more info., see "To the Lighthouse: Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream," which can be accessed at