Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Edge of a cliff Tanka

on the edge
of a cliff...
behind my back
the shadow

Honorable Mention, Tanka Section, 2017 British Haiku Society Awards

Judge's commentary: Reading this was almost unbearable. It came with bleak, stark, shock

Friday, March 23, 2018

Job Hunting Haiku

job hunting
a curl of birch bark
edged with sunlight

Winner, 2017 British Haiku Society Awards

Judge's Commentary: This poem is just another in the long list of prizes won by Canadian poet Chen-ou Liu. The seeming artlessness of this poem belies its impact, both immediately and upon repeated return.Wordsworth’s sonnet “The world is too much with us; Late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers,” references itself upon first reading. Then, the poem emerges from the space between the two images—the drain of the daily search for work, the sometimes demeaning results, relieved by the exquisite appearance of a piece of birch. Where did the poet find it? Walking from one interview to another, stopped at an intersection, perhaps a memory of the moment while seated in a waiting room? The common language of the second part produces an uncommon image, resisting the effort to even remember it. I was surprised by the image each time I approached it. I was surprised by this poem.

Selected Tanka: Thin Film of Ice Tanka

the road covered
in a thin film of ice …
a teenager
raises her middle finger
to the evening sky

Micropoetry, Nov. 13, 2013

Monday, March 19, 2018

Selected Kyoka: The Girl of My Dream Kyoka

the girl of my dream
who is reading Orlando
tells me about
the girl in her dream ...
my night with a cold moon

Paper Wasp, 19:3, Spring 2013

Beating Rain Tanka

in the clutch
of this night of crows
her young body
is bared
to beating rain

NeverEnding Story,  March 4, 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Drunken Shadow Tanka

drunken shadow
and me
under a twilight sky
each waiting
for the other’s silence

Atlas Poetica, 31, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Loneliness and Shadow Tanka

this moonless night
on the long way home . . .
and the shadow
creeping towards me

Atlas Poetica, 31, 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Selected Haiku: Floating Thoughts Haiku

for Marcel Proust, author of Remembrance of Things Past

winter fog ...
tea-soaked madeleines crumble
into floating thoughts

PoemHunter, September 22, 2013

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spark of Life Tanka for Stephen Hawking

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. -- Stephen Hawking

looking up
from A Brief History of Time
to the stars ...
I recite his speech,
each word a spark of life

PoemHunter, March 14, 2018

Surging Sea Haiku

                           surging sea
you're there                     I'm here

NeverEnding Story, February 26, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Selected Tanka: Noisy Silence Tanka

at the cold moon
my old dog swallows
its voice ...
another glass of wine
to this noisy silence

Ribbons, 9:2, Fall 2013

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Selected Haibun: And the Spring Will Come

He can write in English, states the dog-eared Chinese-English dictionary on the coffee-stained desk. A German Shepherd lives with him, says the attic wall with an old map of Taiwan on it. But he can't stand Canadian food, observes a line of jars of salted bamboo shoots. Except food, everything looks OK, they say in unison.

the stillness
of this morning …
tenth winter

Haibun Today, 7:3, September 2013
Contemporary Haibun, 15, 2014