Out in the Distance

Brian Lieu is a product of refugee families: his father fled from Vietnam as the North began to descend, and his mother was born in Peru after her parents fled Communist China. Out in the Distance was composed as his MA thesis at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Out in the Distance
By Brian Lieu • 2019 • $10

Brian Lieu has written his father’s autobiography in a sequence of prose poems that takes him and us from 1970s Vietnam onto a boat fleeing the end of the American war, to refugee camps, and on to Honolulu, its swap meets and backyard family gossip. There are trips to Las Vegas’s casinos, and betting on basketball games. Above all, there is “this f—ing boat,” where sick passengers regurgitate cabbage and speak whatever language they need to survive, “French, Vietnamese, any Chinese.” A compelling narrative of risk, this is Brian Lieu’s first publication. The chapbook comes from a larger collection, one that formed his M.A. thesis at the University of Hawai`i-Manoa.

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