Friday, January 31, 2014

Cool Announcement: Chen-ou Liu's Haiku Page in the Living Haiku Anthology

My Dear Readers/Fellow Poets:

Today is Chinese New Year. Share with you my 15 "poems to eat" (in the Takuboku-esque sense), which are included in the Living Haiku Anthology

Happy Chinese New Year


her face
in my whisky
the moon floats

Grand Prix, 7th Klostar Ivanic Haiku Contest

autumn dusk...
I stir my coffee

First Prize, 12th Haiku International assocaition Haiku Contest

Silent Night
drifting in from the neighbors --
I relearn Chinese

Second Place in The North Carolina Poetry Society Lyman Haiku Award (2011)

a dried lotus leaf
in Tibetan Book of the Dead...
winter dusk

Third Place, 2010 World Haiku Competition

in my whisky glass
autumn stars

Third Prize, the Haiku Section of the New Zealand Poetry Society's 2011 International Poetry Competition

attic window --
a few moonlit shadows
come and go

2nd Prize, 8th Klostar Ivanic Haiku Contest

a deceased friend
taps me on the shoulder --
plum blossoms falling

Grand Prize: Poem of the Year, The Heron's Nest

a long line of cars
behind the hearse
migrating snow geese

Second Prize, 2012 Diogen Autumn Haiku Contest

alone at dawn
amid cherry blossoms
a butterfly's dream

Sakura Award, 2013 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational    

cherry petals
on my cheek
I turn the other

Sakura Award,  2013 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational

snowy dawn ...
bits of yesterday
cling to today

Third Place, Inaugural Janice M Bostok International Haiku Award

long way home ...
windshield wipers clear
the silence between us

Distinguished Work Prize, 5th Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum Haiku Contest

harvest moon rising ...
a tremble
in the migrant's voice

Second Place, 10th Kloštar Ivanić Haiku Contest

im-mi-grant ...
the way English tastes
on my tongue

2nd Prize, 7th Kokako Haiku Competition

I think therefore I am entering a butterfly's dream

3rd Prize, 18th Kusamakura International Haiku Competition


  1. her face
    in my whisky
    the moon floats

    Croatian translation by Marinko Spanovic

    njeno lice
    u mom viskiju
    plovi mjesec

    Judge's comment:

    I would like to put down some thoughts about the haiku which I gave the Grand Prix. This haiku is very formative and dimensional; one can build the WHOLE WORLD upon it. One can read it and listen to it from all sides and experience it in countless ways without using up any of the TRUE BEAUTY AND LOVE...

  2. Silent Night
    drifting in from the neighbors --
    I relearn Chinese

    Judge’s Comment:

    This haiku contrasts two images: hazy holiday relaxation and the study of a difficult language. Perhaps relearning Chinese is a resolution for the New Year or perhaps not. A good haiku leaves something to the reader's imagination. Reading aloud the poem reveals the subtle link between its first two words and its last. The mixture of auditory and visual images makes this a prize-winning haiku.

  3. crowded
    in my whisky glass
    autumn stars

    Judge's Comment:

    A lovely classical haiku, entirely bound into the image and the moment. Key here is the play of the images, and the shift of focus. Crowded - a human scale, combining a certain amount of confinement with an awareness of (occupied) space. Glass - small, intimate, vulnerable. And then autumn stars - opening out into the vast expanse of the night sky. You can feel the person looking into their glass, than raising their gaze upwards. Feel the whirling sensation of the alcohol matching the giddiness of the depths of space. The colour of the whisky and the golden hues of autumn, and the way stars seem brighter and more numerous then than at any other time of year. Are the stars also ice cubes in the whisky? The light reflecting from the glass as it is raised? Or from the liquid itself? It's pure moment, and a very accomplished ‘ahhh'.

  4. a deceased friend
    taps me on the shoulder --
    plum blossoms falling

    Editor’s (Billie Wilson's) Comment:

    Some haiku please us from the first reading. Some beckon us to move beyond limits we’ve assigned to what constitutes “proper” English-language haiku. Some explode into our consciousness with all the stunning beauty of the first blooms of spring. And some do all these things and more. Chen-ou Liu’s is one of those. At first reading, I loved it. Then I questioned my response, asking, “Doesn’t this break a whole bunch of Haiku Rules? Isn’t this metaphor? Is it gendai? Am I supposed to like this as much as I do?” It seemed daringly outside my comfort zone. Then I simply let it take me into a world that was at once surreal — and so real. Whether a moment such as this triggers the memory of a loved one (a metaphorical tap) — or, for just a split second, we forget and turn, expecting to see them there — I trust many of us have experienced this. It is a moment as filled with poignancy as this poem. We are literally touched at the deepest level — with inexpressible longing — and with a jolt of such joy mixed into our sorrow we can only feel blessed.

    Jane Reichhold's Comment:

    In Chinese and Japanese literature, the butterfly was long used as a symbol of a departed soul. Chen-ou has taken the idea that the departed are still among us and found a very new and touching way of expressing this idea that we can only manifest by feeling. If you have ever stood under a tree as the petals drift down you will know how very light this touch is. And yet you can feel it and it seems a blessing.

    To make the leap to thinking it is the touch of a departed friend is genius. This is why we need poets - to discover such truths, ideas, concepts. If we could remember that the touch of every blossom, the wetness of a raindrop, every glint of light was a reminder of the departed who surround us, how much more meaningful our lives would be. How much more reverence we would have for the simplest thing. This is why we have haiku - to remind us of profound ideas in simple things.

    The association between the sadness of a friend who passed away, and the blossoms which are also passing is clear. Yet out of this sadness Chen-ou has found a ray of pleasure. He is not alone. His friend is close enough to touch him as are all our beloved departed. This is a very beautiful haiku and well-deserving of all of its honours.-- excerpted from FAVOURITE HAIKU chosen by Jane Reichhold

  5. harvest moon rising ....
    a tremble
    in the migrant's voice

    Judge’s Comment

    The year wears on, maybe he is a migrant farm worker, far from his home country. He is working late, the harvest moon rises, huge and yellow over the horizon. Filled with nostalgia, he thinks of his homeland, his family, his life there, as he talks to fellow migrants he holds back tears, but his voice wavers.