"A Son Writes Back" is a poetic response to a qilu poem written close to 800 years ago by Liu's ancestor, in which the ancestor gives advice to the Liu family as they migrate to new countries. The response echoes the qilu form—8 lines, 7 characters per line—in English using 8 line stanzas, 7 syllables per line.
"A Son Writes Back" by Kenji C. Liu, accompanied by Jason Jong on Kou Xiang. Audio recorded at Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, San Francisco. First published in You Left Without Your Shoes (Finishing Line Press, 2009). Updated version published in Lantern Review.
Public domain archival video is from a US Air Force propaganda film portraying aerial attacks on Imperial Japan during World War II.