Jenny Liou is an English professor at Pierce College and a retired professional cage fighter. She lives and writes in Covington, Washington.
“This debut collection by Jenny Liou, a Renaissance scholar who is also a former cage-fighter, attests to her unique position at the crossings of the seemingly contradictory strands of an evolving personal identity and her diasporic heritage as the daughter of a Chinese immigrant. She honors them all as one who chooses not to ignore the richness of her complexities, creating poems that move dimensionally, shadows of each profound experience trailing her as she enacts rueful and yet dutiful blessings of her family’s Chinese past, recalls battering her opponents in the cage (and being herself battered), and then gratefully embracing her own erotic and family life as a lover and a mother. In one of many remarkable poems, she writes being punch-drunk is like thinking in little pieces with big feelings, over and over. She may as well have been describing her own poetry, backgrounded by deep literary learning, flashing bursts of eloquence and beautiful imagery in quick jabs and crosses, her strophes suddenly upon you as a spatter of your own blood sprays from the blows of her viciously gorgeous verse.”
– Garrett Hongo, author of Coral Road
“Liou writes as the trained fighter she is, her poems feinting across the page with the deft precision of a body turned weapon. From the hyper-masculinity of sweaty cage fights in Vegas to a father’s immigrant hands planting seeds in the Idaho dirt, Liou’s poems show how strength itself is an act of severing. What do we lose in the act of becoming strong? What borders are crossed in quiet violence as we survive? Within the ring of these pages, wilderness, blood, and diaspora weave together with the calculated ferocity of a truly singular voice.”
– Tessa Hulls, Feeding Ghosts