Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Favorite Haiku of the Month

     If you'd ask me who's my number one contemporary poet, I'd quickly say it's the multi-awarded Chen-ou Liu of Ontario, Canada. It's remarkable that English isn't his first language and yet he has managed to be a great prolific English writer. He's not only excellent in writing haiku, but also in writing other forms of Japanese poetry like tanka and haibun.
     I discovered his haiku in 2010, when I shared the same issue with him in Berry Blue Haiku. I was a frustrated newbie that year, managing to write only one decent publishable haiku, but at the same time I was an eager reader, full of admiration for Chen-ou's remarkable talent.
    These two captivating haiku below were among the June 2010 Haiku Picks of Berry Blue Haiku.

wing over cherry petals—  
shadows embracing

on maple leaves
glittering raindrops gather—  
floating worlds

    Since I had resumed writing haiku in the second half of 2011, I've been coming across Chen-ou's works. I have so many favorites, but I'm sharing some of the ones which have garnered him high praises and awards.

spicy chicken...
this impulse to ask
if she's married
                                  Editor's Choice Senryu (Modern Haiku, 43:1 February 2012)

a deceased friend
taps me on my shoulder--
plum blossoms falling
                                  Grand Prize Poem of the Year 2011 ( Heron's Nest)

attic window--                                                    
a few moonlit shadows                                       
come and go 
                               2nd Prize (The Klostar Ivanic Haiku Contest 2011)      
moonlit branches . . .
glazed with autumn rain
droplets of me 
                              Commendation (The Klostar Ivanic Haiku Contest 2011)

her face
in my whisky
the moon floats
                             Grand Prix (The Klostar Ivanic Haiku Contest 2010)
cherry petals
falling on cherry petals...
I dust your photo
                             Sakura Award (Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2010)

    Included in my list of favorites is this unforgettable haiku sequence published in Frogpond 34:1, 2011.

     A Life in Four Seasons

I write her
one poem every day
spring dewdrops

a butterfly
tattoed on her buttock
summer heat

autumn dawn
before the mirror I count
gray hairs

snow on snow
thoughts of her emerge
one at a time

     Most of his published haiku are highly evocative. As Neal Whitman has said, he has "the gift of tugging at our hearts." If you like to read more of his haiku, go to Poetry in the Moment. You'll be able to see where to purchase his books. One of them is Following the Moon to the Maple Land, the first prize winner of the Spring Haiku Pix Chapbook 2011. On the cover of his chapbook is a photo that I had taken. Can you imagine how thrilled I was when the editor of Haiku Pix requested my photo for Chen-ou's chapbook?

     For some unexplainable reason, I don't have a free copy of this, but thanks to Chen-ou because pretty soon I'll be getting my own copy. I'll be reading on my couch, following the moon to the maple land. 


  1. Hi! Chrissi:

    I'm really honored and flattered. Thank you so much for your support of my writing.

    I remember your "ten toes" haiku that appeared in BBH.

    ten toes dipped
    in sand and water
    sandals float away

    It prompted me to write a melancholic response haiku, which was published in Kokako 16, April 2012

    autumn dusk
    writing "let go" ten times
    in the sand


  2. You're welcome, Chen-ou!

    Oh, I love this haiku. Beautiful! It touches the heart.

  3. :) Hello there, Christine! :) Enjoyed this feature of Chen-ou/Eric! :) Yes, he is one of my favorite contemporary haijins too. His poetry is always evocative, romantic, and has many layers. And that's such an honor that he requested to use one of your photos for the cover!! :) Yay!!

  4. Hey, Kathy! Great to see you here :-) Yes, his poetry is not only evocative. It's romantic and has many layers. I forgot to add those. :-)
    I should edit my post to make it clear that it was the editor who requested for the photo. :-)


  5. Hi Chrissi!

    Great entry! I love Chen-ou's work, too!

    Gisele :)

  6. Thanks for visiting again. :-) Always a pleasure... Thanks, my dear friend! :-)

  7. Chen writes good quality haiku. It is always a pleasure to read him.
    Thanks for this lovely entry Chrissi. There were haiku which I haven't read before :). Your ten toes haiku is stunning!

    Much Love,