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About this poet

Timothy Liu (Liu Ti Mo) was born in 1965 in San Jose, California, to parents from the Chinese mainland. He studied at Brigham Young University, the University of Houston, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

He is the author of Don't Go Back To Sleep (Saturnalia, October 2014); Polytheogamy (Saturnalia, 2009); Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse (Talisman House, 2009); For Dust Thou Art (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005); Of Thee I Sing (University of Georgia Press, 2004), selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2004 Book-of-the-Year; Hard Evidence (Talisman House, 2001); Say Goodnight (Copper Canyon Press, 1998); Burnt Offerings (Copper Canyon Press, 1995); and Vox Angelica (Alice James Books, 1992), which won the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award.

About Liu's work, the poet Fanny Howe has said, "Timothy Liu writes out of an angry materialism, ill-fitting body, disappointment at every turn. He takes on his point of view wholeheartedly and compresses the consequences into phrases that echo and mimic each other, thereby increasing the sensation of claustrophobia and fever."

Liu’s honors and awards include a Pushcart Prize and the Open Book Beyond Margins Award. He is also the editor of Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, (Talisman House, 2000).

He has served as a core faculty member at Bennington College’s Writing Seminars, and is currently an associate professor at William Paterson University. He lives in Manhattan.



Bibliography

Poetry

Don't Go Back To Sleep (Saturnalia, October 2014)
Polytheogamy (Saturnalia, 2009)
Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse (Talisman House, 2009)
For Dust Thou Art (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005)
Of Thee I Sing (University of Georgia Press, 2004)
Hard Evidence (Talisman House, 2001)
Say Goodnight (Copper Canyon Press, 1998)
Burnt Offerings (Copper Canyon Press, 1995)
Vox Angelica (Alice James Books, 1992)

An Evening Train

Timothy Liu
whistles past hacked-down fields of corn, 
heading towards a boy who whittles 
an effigy of himself. We go on sleeping 
through sirens and crimson strobes 
flashing on remains no one can identify 
till we line up at dawn to see who's 
missing. At the zoo this morning, a girl 
found half-devoured in a moat, two lions 
licking their chops, Little Rock, Arkansas 
the only proof left on her body to show 
how far she was from home, a tattered copy 
of The Odyssey later found in her purse. 
Did she love her life? We warn our children 
not to lay their ears down on the tracks 
in wintertime, knowing how it's not 
always best to know what's coming our way.

First published in Boulevard. Copyright © 1999 by Timothy Liu. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

First published in Boulevard. Copyright © 1999 by Timothy Liu. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu (Liu Ti Mo) was born in 1965 in San Jose,

by this poet

poem
Hard to imagine getting
anywhere near another semi-
nude encounter down this concrete
slab of interstate, the two of us
all thumbs—

white-throated swifts mating mid-flight
instead of buckets of
crispy wings thrown down
hoi polloi—
an army of mouths

eager to feed
left without any lasting sustenance.
Best get
poem
A room walled-in by books where the hours withdraw.


At the foot of an unmade bed a bird of paradise.


Motel carpet melted where an iron had been.


His attention anchored to a late night glory hole.


Of janitorial carts no heaviness like theirs.


Desire seen cavorting with the yes inside the no.


A soul
poem
fire in that square floodlit by crimson

gels left onstage a floating red silk 

scarf that snaked around the nimblest calves 

unable to outlast Mozart's legacy 

or Pater's gemlike flame abandoned dream 

erased by edicts of the blood the song 

the space with both feet off the ground 

if only for a moment