Eileen R. Tabios is a poet working in multiple genres and in-between. She also loves books by writing, reading, publishing, critiquing, romancing and advocating for them. This blog will feature her bibliophilic activities with posts on current book engagements and links to her books and projects related to books.

Friday, November 20, 2020


Hot damn. I found a rare one: a poem, in this case a poetry project, that elicited the deeply yet happily jealous reaction on my part:


I refer, friends, to arguably the wittiest poetry collection I’ve read this year which is nearly ending:

SONNET(S) by Ulises Carrión

Once again, Ugly Duckling Presse proves itself my favorite poetry publisher by introducing this Mexican poet to me. HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY (that's tres, y'all) RECOMMENDED.

I AM SO HAPPY when I see another poet creating with such virtuosity!

Check it out HERE!

Monday, November 16, 2020


I'll be presenting on my forthcoming novel, DOVELION, for the first time this coming Sunday as part of the conversation/performance on "INDIGENOUS FUTURES" with Leny Strobel, Lizae Reyes, and Mila Anguluan. This is part of of the 2020 virtual conference by The Society of Indigenous and Ancestral Wisdom and Healing on "Dancing With Uncertainty." You are invited and click HERE for more information and registration.

I will be blessed by having 
Mila Anguluan open our conversation with a poem-chant. Generously, she gave me permission to reprint her poem-chant below. She will chant the Filipino version (SCROLL DOWN) which I present it here with an English translation as well:



Intan intan... labbet tan intan
Intan intan... labbet tan intan

Halika na uwi na... halika na uwi na...

Halika na uwi na... halika na uwi na...

Why do you do this, Lola? As a child I’d wonder
Why grandmother chanted to call me, even while beside her 

After visiting strange places and it was time to go home Why do you do this, I would repeat
And slowly, she’d look at me, and say gently
Whispering a secret known only to both of us

So that you won’t get lost, my child
So that you won’t go wandering too far

Too far that you’d never return again. 

And then she’d chant and do it all over

Intan intan... labbet tan intan...
Intan intan.... labbet tan intan

Imploring with her voice, singing softly with the wind, distinctly 

Calling... for my fragmented selves in fragmented places
Come home... come home... time to come home...
Come to this body again... come to this mind...

Come to this heart... come back into this inner space
Come... all you wandering selves together

 Come home... and be whole again.

And she’d take hold of my hand

Wrapping my tiny hand, enclosing it in hers
In her strong hand, her nurturing hand and
All at once I’d feel like it was the safest place to be 

Despite the creeping darkness, despite the chilling night. 

Other nights have come: nights of doom, nights of sorrow.

Many other places: places of torment, places of pain 

Many lands traversed, many more to be traveled

Lands that are jagged, cruel, leering, eerie
Oceans that are frothing, seething, smearing

Places where our many selves go
Wandering into...peering into... swallowed into.

Lola, like other ancestors, was babaylan
She whose voice kept calling with the wind, dispelling despair
She whose pungent herbs curling in burning coals would flow into dreams 

And deep sleep where soft smoke soothed the unseen pain
Healed the open wounds, brought together flesh and soul torn apart
So that healed, daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters 

Sons and grandsons, sondaughters and daughtersons

Heir to her power of peace, silence, resilience, song, dance, touch
Animate once more the babaylan legacy of dispelling darkness

Healing pain, praying peace, chanting to all our little selves
Intan intan... labbet tan intan... intan intan... labbet tan intan Come home... come home... time to come back home... Come to this body again... come to this mind...
Come to this heart... come back into this inner space Come... all you wandering selves together

Come home... and be whole again.



Filipino Version

Intan intan... labbet tan intan
Intan intan... labbet tan intan

Halika na uwi na... halika na uwi na... 

Halika na uwi na... halika na uwi na...

Kaam ta kunukunnay ya kwammu? 

Bakit nyo po ginagawa ito, Lola? 

Sa paslit na isip hinanap ko
Pang unawa mula sa mata niyang 

Nakatunghay sa kay layong dako 

Lugar ng di malirip na panaginip.

Dahan dahan, ako’y kanyang mamasdan 

Sulyap na banayad, paru paro’y dumapo 

Para hindi ka mawalay, mahal na Apo
Para hindi ka humayo at lumayo nang husto 

Para ika’y makabalik nang ganap at buo 

Walang pagtugis sa mapanlinlang na anino

At muli’y kanyang aawitin ang dalangin 

Panalangin ng pagsuyo sa hangin
Intan intan... labbet tan intan

Intan intan... labbet tan intan

Halika na uwi na... halika na uwi na... 

Halika na uwi na... halika na uwi na...

Tawag niya ay paghibik sa sariling 

kung saan saang sulok tumalsik 

Samut sari, sari saring mga sarili 

Sariling hInagupit at hinaplit

Sa sinilangan at dinayong bayan
Ng Agilang may kukong mandaragit!

Sinong mag aakalang sa lunsod man
O kagubatan, walang mapuntahan
ang sariling kinutya, pinaglaruan
Ng mga imbi, ng mga gahaman
Impit ang paghiyaw sa kadiliman
Nasaan ang liwanag, nasaan ang kalooban?

Si Lola at iba pang mga lola, silang Babaylan 

Tagapamagitan, tagahilom, tagapagdiwang
Tagatawag sa mga sariling nangangalay
Mga sariling nawawalay, bumabalik sa halik
Ng babaylang awit, mapayapang dasal, mahinahong huni 

Muli, buo ang kalooban, ganap ang kalinawagan!

Muli, at muli, buuin ang sarili, awitin dasal ng babaylan 

Intan intan... labbet tan intan

Intan intan... labbet tan intan
Halika na uwi na... halika na uwi na...

At narito ka na nga, sa sariling iyong tahanan 

Kapwa ng kaganapan, kapwa ng kabuuan!

Saturday, October 31, 2020


Well, a book I released but deliberately didn't try to market, INCULPATORY EVIDENCE nonetheless receives attention--and I can only be grateful.

Deep gratitude to Neil Leadbeater for a review at North of Oxford. You can see review HERE but here's an excerpt:

The subject matter in this volume goes wider than Covid 19: ‘Regret’ focusses on the environment, ‘Triggered’ on hunger, ‘Not My First Mask’ on xenophobia and racism and ‘What I Normally Would Not Buy’ on panic buying, consumerism and survival. This is not just physical survival but also survival from domestic abuse. 

Tabios uses food in this collection as a metaphor for survival. Food, in its various forms, appears in at least seven of the ten poems. We cannot survive without it. Witness the panic buying that took place as soon as news of the outbreak spread. Maslow was right when he included it within his hierarchy of basic human needs (although he seems to have overlooked toilet paper altogether).

As well, I and Rosalinda Ruiz Scarfuto--who'd also come out with her own Covid-19-related book (she survived the coronavirus)--engage in a discussion about our projects which is featured at Otoliths. You can see our conversation, "Evidence and Survival," at the link but here's an excerpt:

Ecopoetics is useless unless one is actually doing something about it in addition (perhaps) to writing about it. One recycles, one minimizes one’s footprint on earth, one supports initiatives that diminish our (ab)use of natural resources, one educates, and so on. As regards the latter, my poem “Regret” is an example by raising how, out of concern of viral transmission, the use of plastic bags has risen during the coronavirus and “plastic bags// adrift in the ocean require/ up to 20 years to decompose.”

Friday, October 30, 2020


I used to know (or know of) everyone who wrote hay(na)ku. That's no longer the case, which I love. And I love continuing to discover people I don't know who take up the form. Here are two examples: Vex Kaztro whose hay(na)ku showed up in an online course taken/monitored by a friend, and 9th grader (!) Leana Gyle M. Leviste whose poem showed up in an anthology (Scentsibility) in which I also appear. I share them below (click on images to enlarge):



I'm grateful to see these.

Thursday, October 29, 2020


I recently read F LETTER: NEW RUSSIAN FEMINIST POETRY, Editors Galina Rymbu, Eugene Ostashevsky, and Ainsley Morse (Isolarii, 2020). Here's a response:

I don't often feel honored by receiving books out of the blue, but I am in receiving this important anthology, F LETTER: NEW RUSSIAN FEMINIST POETRY. The book assembles feminist poets who have "palpably changed the Russia language over the last decade. Against the backdrop of state violence and oppression, this is electric dissent in pursuit of a democratic, egalitarian future. A lexicon for revolution worldwide." Thank you editors for trusting I would be receptive to your work, and I am.

There's a Foreword by Eileen Myles that's available online: https://isolarii.com The book's Introduction by Galina Rymbu is not online but is educational and evokes, for me, the activities of the feminist Philippine press Gantala--I mention that here since it's sometimes important to know that as one pushes at the margins that define the literary (or any) landscape, one is not alone. I recommend you go to the link and order. This is a unique and valuable introduction.

Last but not least, I am appreciating the powerful and, logically if sadly, devastating poems. The Myles introduction also features examples of some gorgeous lines.

Btw, it behooves moi to note the almost miniature size of this book. It's 2.75 x 4.25 inches. I'm going to shelve it in the Miniature Book Library though it's 0.25 inches over--because how this book doesn't follow the (measurement) rule is just form fitting content, is appropriate for what it is: a revulsion and a revolt.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020


 Prior to my prior post, some of you apparently didn't know I evacuated from the recent Glass Fire. Here's an essay I wrote about that near-death experience--essay is presented by Zocalo Public Square. Scariest experience ever in my life...

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


As an evacuee from California's Glass Fire wildfires, which is to say, as an evacuee—a state of being I am forced to explore, and I do resent being forced even as I recognize its generosity as a fertilizer-Muse—I've not been reading much. But Ugly Duckling Presse lifts me out of that lethargy with its recent releases of essay collections. First to be read is Aditi Machado's The End. Brilliant. And a testament as to why UDP is at the top of my favorite poetry presse. From Machado:


"'No precision that isn't imprecision' haunts my practice. The whole thing drips with time."


There’s more meat than what I excerpt here (e.g. on-point comparison between Rilke and Wright re endings and more). I recommend you check it out!