Kenji C. Liu

poet | speaker | graphic designer
Ships April 2019 from Alice James BooksPre-Order Monsters I Have Been

“Kenji C. Liu’s Monsters I Have Been writhes knotty tentacles through textual boneyards, disturbing screenplays, theoretical works, and literatures in their coffined-off sleeps. What it draws back are parts through which the poet might, as Lucille Clifton wrote, make up ‘a kind of life’ in the global slaughterhouse of heteropatriarchy and racism. Sharp, protean, dexterous, and discontent—Liu’s collection shows where the bodies have been buried, and that many won’t stay dead. No doubt, this book is alive as all hell.”

Douglas Kearney

Workshops and talks
Kenji is available to come to your school or community—in-person or online—for poetry readings, lectures, and writing workshops.

Manuscript consultations
Need some perspective on your poetry or hybrid genre manuscript? Get in touch for services and rates.

Kenji C. Liu (劉謙司) is author of Monsters I Have Been, forthcoming from Alice James Books (2019), and Map of an Onion, national winner of the 2015 Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize. His poetry can be found, among other places, in American Poetry ReviewAnomaly, The Feminist Wire, Gulf Coast, Split This Rock’s poem of the week series, several anthologies, and two chapbooks, Craters: A Field Guide (2017) and You Left Without Your Shoes (2009). A Kundiman fellow and an alumnus of VONA/Voices, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, and the Community of Writers, he lives in Los Angeles.

Winner, 2015 Hillary Gravendyk National Poetry PrizeMap of an Onion

Map of an Onion - by Kenji C. LiuColony, conquest, citizenship, language, place—the almost infinite severances of power and culture, ultimately, a ‘paper cut theater.’ Here, Kenji C. Liu lays out the splicing of the onion, these blistering, translucent stacks of report, bilingual document, letters, notes, found materials and calcified fever-cells. These are investigations, surgeries, all crossing attempts to map some kind of in-between set of scars and wounds of ‘advice and consolation.’ Applaud it for its tough, serious, exacting pen and eye and mind, for its howl, its losses, findings and knife-thin metaphysical peeling gestures. I am in true awe of Kenji’s writing and poetics. Here, he gives us a 21st century read at ‘luminescent level.’ A groundbreaking giant, this collection.

Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, 2015-17

2017, Goodmorning Menagerie PressCraters: A Field Guide

Craters overpours with animal (including Godzilla), vegetable, and mineral, but of an unfamiliar nature that’s already [ir]radiated and changed its patterns and behaviors — it’s an adaptation that borders [on] monstrosity, speaking a contorted but high register language that tries to resist colonial rules, while also doing its best to get rid of any scabs left by them.

MH, Anomaly


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