In his third collection of poems, Liu has extended his already considerable range in meticulous poems that are sometimes shocking, sometimes consoling, but consistently vivid in imagery and consequence. From the KKK to the third Century Chinese poet Lu Chi to the Hirshhorn Museum, Liu greets savagery and beauty alike with tender intelligence and a wise eye for revealing detail.
So many want to be blessed.
I only want to kneel in a quiet room.
To love what we have or not exist
at all. Nothing to help me sleep.
Only a scrap of paper slipped
into my hand: Your body an ocean,
a song without end. Votive candles
flickering in the dark that made us
larger than life: hip-thrust,
back-arch, mouth-grip, you on top
till we collapsed in the coiled
springs that came to rest. A chair
where you once sat. A bowl of fruit
neither one of us would touch.
“This work, like Whitman’s, has a chastened radical innocence.” —Library Journal
“Say Goodnight takes us from youthful quietude to ironic eros, while never quite lapsing into jaded nonchalance.” —Publishers Weekly
“It’s refreshing to read the work of someone who knows his limits, and knows when and where to surpass them.” —The Stranger
“Liu greets savagery and beauty alike with tender intelligence, a rhythmic ear, and a wise eye for revealing detail. In his third collection of poems, he extends his already considerable range in meticulous poems that are sometimes shocking, sometimes consoling, often erotic, but consistently vivid in imagery and consequence.” —American Poet
“Eroticism… runs underneath these verses like a dropped power-line.” —Lambda Book Report