“The Great Evolutionist Bares His Own Soul” (Chen-ou Liu)

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evolution:
the child is the father of the man…
I ponder

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Headlines:

“The Great Evolutionist Bares His Own Soul” (New York Times)

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Poem by Chen-ou Liu (see poet biographies). Read more by this poet.

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^ 5 Comments...

  1. James Tipton

    Although I like a lot of the haiku by Chen-ou Liu, this is not one I particularly like because I do not like the rather subjective announcement in the (all important) third line: “I ponder.” It pulls us out of the developing image and the emotional response we might have had to image.

    Although this is not quite right either, I think it would be better to drop the literally ponderous third line and go with:

    evolution:
    the child is the father
    of the man

    Or, because we are too aware of the Wordsworth line, “The child is the father of the man,” perhaps something like:

    evolution:
    the father is the child
    of the man

    Or perhaps the reaction I have is because at this moment I ponder that I must in a few minutes head to the airport in Guadalajara to pick up a a man in his eighties who is rapidly de-evolving.

  2. Chen-ou Liu

    James, thank you so much for your close reading and insightful review. Much appreciated.

    Chen-ou

  3. Editor

    Yeah, actually I am prone to agree with James here. The last line is unnecessary and it “tells” us what you did, rather than leaving us as the audience to do the pondering with you. If the poem does its job, and I think it does, there is no need to say “I ponder,” because it is implied in the poem. I like this suggestion:

    evolution:
    the child is the father
    of the man

    Nice critique James. Great poem and ideas Chen-ou.

  4. Chen-ou Liu

    Dick, thanks for your helpful suggestion.

    Chen-ou

  5. Chen-ou Liu

    Here is the revision:

    evolution
    the child is the father
    of the man…

    Chen-ou

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