keith holyoak


6 August 2016, 2-4pm Poetry reading, Keith Holyoak and  Koon Woon. Kinokuniya Bookstore, 525 South Weller St., Seattle WA 98104




Judas cover

Mysterious emails pleading for help—after twenty centuries, Judas Iscariot has been resurrected—as a poet—and wants the world to hear his story. His recollections of his days as an apostle are blended with meditations on love and friendship, on betrayal, remorse and forgiveness. Speaking sometimes in his own voice, sometimes assuming those of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and others, Judas grapples with the complexities of spiritual life and the human condition.

Original poetry by Keith Holyoak. First edition available now from the publisher Dos Madres Press.



November 30th, 2015 – The Gospel According to Judas Reviewed by Eileen Tabios, Galatea Resurrects

Poetry reading

18, April, 2015, 3-5pm The WING Wing Luke Museum, 719 S King St Seattle WA 98104

Poetry reading by Keith and Koon Woon here

Poetry Reading at WING Museum


Poetry reading at Village Books, Bellingham WA
12 September, 2014, 7pm, 1200 11th St., Bellingham 72800

A joint poetry reading by Keith and Koon Woon here

CD launch for My Minotaur
27 September 2013

There will be a CD launch for selections from My Minotaur at the bG Gallery (Bleicher/Golightly/Gorman) at 1431 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, Friday Sept 27, 8-10pm. With musical performance by Montreal-based singer/songwriter Neil Holyoak.

Poetry reading at Elliott Bay Bookstore, Seattle WA
22 February, 2013, 7pm

Keith is a featured reader, along with Seattle-based poet Koon Woon.

Book launch for Foreigner
15 December 2012

There will be a book launch for Foreigner at the Bleicher/Golightly gallery at 1431 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, Saturday Dec 15, 7-9pm. This will also be the opening of an art exhibit of Jim Holyoak's work, inlcuding originals of many of his illustrations for the book.

Foreigner: New English Poems in Chinese Old Style released by Dos Madres Press
1 December 2012

In this second volume of his original poems, Keith brings together poems written over the past decade in the style of his translations from classical Chinese poetry. Available both as a paperback and in a limited edition hardcover from Dos Madres Press, as well as Small Press Distributors and Amazon.

Some pre-publication reviews:

"...Keith Holyoak carries his expertise as a scholar and translator of Chinese poetry to a new level—he has composed an entire volume of his own poetry in the style of the earliest classical Chinese poems.... The poems touch upon many topics and scenes, not all of them Chinese, but this American poet has managed to resurrect for anglophone readers the tone, aura, reticence, and profoundly dignified simplicity of the classical Chinese masters whom he has studied.  Foreigner is also a magnificently illustrated book, with pictures that comport perfectly with the exquisite text."

--Joseph S. Salemi, editor, Trinacria

"It is not every day a professional cognitive psychologist turns into a poet, yet that is what we have in Keith Holyoak.... He has somehow managed to let the spirit of Chinese poetry speak through him, with no loss of his sense of being an American. A wonderful intelligence is brought to the task, which understands the profound subtlety of poetry, no matter what nationality it is.... His grasp of form, of political reality, of transience, and of the redemptive powers working in poetry, bring to American literature something no country can afford to lose: a sense of class in the fine arts. The Dos Madres Press is to be congratulated for publishing this book, which is sensitively illustrated by Jim Holyoak, son of the poet and psychologist.."

--Sebastian Barker FRSL, poet and editor of The London Magazine 2002-2008

"...Chinese poetry has long exercised an influence upon certain of our own poets. Holyoak joins their number with his superbly crafted verses, covering the range from modernistic, half-rhymed poems to “neo-formal” metrical poems with various rhyme schemes. He is unique in fact among American poets in having paid attention to the formal and structural aspects of Chinese verse, and successfully weaving them into his own creations. The poet’s son, Jim, contributes evocative paintings that conjure up a Chinese Samuel Palmer in their visionary intensity."

--Jonathan Chaves, Professor of Chinese, George Washington University

Poetry reading at Green Lake Branch Public Library, Seattle WA
2 April 2011, 4PM

Keith is featured as Reader's Choice.

Book launch for My Minotaur
1 March 2010

There will be a book launch for My Minotaur at the Bleicher/Golightly gallery in Santa Monica. Art exhibit of Jim Holyoak's work runs from March 8-26. Keith will have a reading and book signing on Saturday March 20, 6-9pm.

My Minotaur: Selected Poems 1998-2006 released by Dos Madres Press
1 February 2010

In this debut volume of 50 selected poems, Keith explores the borderlands where dualities run together--life and death, despair and hope, man and woman, reason and passion, human and animal, reality and dream. His poetic voice is juxtaposed with the surrealistic artistic visions of Jim Holyoak, Keith's son. My Minotaur creates an extra imagination space between the dualities of father and son, word and image. Available both as a paperback and in a limited edition hardcover from Dos Madres Press, as well as Small Press Distributors and Amazon.

Some pre-publication reviews:

"Keith Holyoak's reputation as a meticulous translator of classical Chinese poetry is already established.   Now his powerful new book My Minotaur presents us with a wide-ranging selection of his own poems in a spectrum of varied forms.   Holyoak is a versatile poet who can turn his hand as easily to extended narrative as to sonnets or concise lyrics, and his subject matter is similarly diverse: the self, nature, history, portraiture, politics, family and social relationships, philosophic questioning, aesthetics.   Holyoak deals with everything, in a way that is not common today.   The gem of this book is his terza rima "Descent," a dream-vision that invokes Dante's Inferno, although in a modern milieu of terror, violence, and harrowing uncertainty."

--Joseph S. Salemi

"In a time in which fatuous proclamations of "greatness" are chock-a-block on the backs of new poetry collections, Keith Holyoak's My Minotaur aims for something perhaps more modest, with an unusual degree of success. It is a good book that does not preen, that, through its solid formal control and humane disposition--as well as the lovely accompanying illustrations--manages to not only work its way into the labyrinths it builds for itself, but to get itself--and the reader--out again."

--Quincy R. Lehr

Poems of Du Fu CD released by Broken Electric Records
19 April 2009

The CD of Keith's translations of Poems of Du Fu is now available from Broken Electric Records ( This recording features Keith reading translations of 18 of Du Fu's most famous poems (from his book Facing the Moon), mixed with classical Chinese music with a contemporary edge. The music was recorded by Chih-Lin Chou's Gu-Zheng Ensemble of Montreal, and mixed by producer Airom Bleicher.

Poetry reading at Moonday, Village Books, Pacific Palisades CA
14 July 2008

Keith reads from Facing the Moon, for more information see Moonday.

Facing the Moon: Poems of Li Bai and Du Fu released by Oyster River Press
1 September 2007

This collection of 55 poems by the two greatest poets in Chinese history has been released. The book is a bilingual edition, with the Chinese originals opposite Keith's translations. The book also features reproductions of original Chinese landscape paintings by Xing Jie Chen and calligraphy by Hung-hsiang Chou. To order go to or from

Some reviews:

"Keith Holyoak has succeeded in producing translations of Chinese poetry that achieve a high level of literary excellence while conveying a real sense of the musicality of the originals."

--Jonathan Chaves, Professor of Chinese, George Washington University

"Keith Holyoak greets us with a clear, succinct, and accomplished introduction. What is much more, the clarity and simplicity he brings to his translations carry the reader into the profundity and complexity of the originals. This is an experience as delightful and welcome as it is moving. Over twelve hundred years disappear and another culture in no essential way dissimilar to our own reveals the similarities. Catching the spirits of China's two greatest poets in English is not a job for any but the most attentive, delicate, and masterly of translators, which is what we have here. As Holyoak says in his introduction, 'The wine keeps flowing; the moon keeps watch.' But the worthiest hallmark of the poets and of the book is sorrow transformed into art."

--Sebastian Barker, Editor of The London Magazine

"Facing the Moon: Poems of Li Bai and Du Fu is translated with impressive cohesion by UCLA professor Keith Holyoak. Li Bai (a.k.a. Li Po) who was famous and successful in the Tang Dynasty writes of heaven, mountains, the moon, and drunken convivial friendship. Du Fu, who wagered all on his ability and languished in dire poverty, writes of family, political collapse, rivers, and difficult decisions: ' You could take a boat downstream, / thousands of miles to the east -- / or else forget the boat, and live / here by this stream forever. '"

--Foreword Magazine, June 2008

Poems of Li Bai CD released by Broken Electric Records
1 December 2006

The CD of Keith's translations of Poems of Li Bai is now available from Broken Electric Records ( This recording features Keith (and his daughter Vanessa -- check #15, "Song of Changgan") reading about 20 of Li Bai's most famous poems, mixed with the music of classical Chinese lute (qin). Keith welcomes comments and feedback (

Descent airs on KSER (Everett, WA)
26 September 2006

Keith's new Descent CD plays on the radio for the first time. For those in the Seattle area, look for a continuing series of poetry readings with music, produced by PoetsWest ( for KSER 90.7 FM.

Descent CD released by Broken Electric Records
1 July 2006

The CD of Keith Holyoak's Descent is now available from Broken Electric Records ( This recording is an experimental piece, mixing narrative poetry read by the author with original instrumental music from the Canadian punk rock band Mammal. Descent was written at the turn of the millennium in 2000, in the triple-rhyme form used in Dante's Inferno (from the year 1400). The poem is a vision of a family's struggle to cope with the sudden and mysterious collapse of civilization in America, a theme that takes on new meaning in the aftermath of 9/11. The CD is about 25 minutes long. Keith welcomes comments and feedback (

Radio program of Chinese translations airs on KSER (Everett, WA)
5 May 2006

A half hour program of Keith's translations of short poem by Li Bai and Du Fu has its first broadcast, narrated by J. Glenn Evans. For those in the Seattle area, look for a continuing series of poetry readings with music, produced by PoetsWest ( for KSER 90.7 FM.