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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


My sweet local library is displaying samples from my miniature book collection. It is up from July 15-August 30, 2019. Here are some photos I took after installing it:

Artist's Books by Matt Manalo, Ivy Alvarez, Ulysses Duterte, Marton Koppány and Ed Baker 

Single-sheet books by Marthe Reed, Eileen Tabios, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Mandy Laughtland, Jim McCrary, Sheila E. Murphy, Gilad Elbom, Aldon Nielsen, and Minal Hajratwala

 Some Poems-For-All produced by Robert Hansen. Spotted authors include Zoe Venditozzi, Jack Crimmins, Eileen R. Tabios, Alex Gildzen, Mick Guffan, Steve Richmond, klipschutz, Clare Archibald, jonathan hayes, and richard lopez.

Some Poets' Limited (if not One-off) Editions. Authors include Sarah Sarai, Sean Labrador y Manzano, Tom Beckett, William Allegrezza, Susan Yount, and Aileen Ibardaloza.  

William Shakespeare

Artist's Books by Alice Brody, book jewelry, and a reproduction of one of the books 
in Queen Mary's Dollhouse. 

Bo Press Miniatures, matchbook poetry journals from Firecracker Press, and Dusie books (including by Elizabeth Treadwell and Eileen Tabios)

In the glass case, lower shelf, are the books from a Meritage Press series that utilized Nepalese-made tiny books, featuring Juliana Spahr, Tom Beckett, Jill Jones, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen​, and Eileen R. Tabios--more information is HERE. Also featured on top shelf of glass case is a hand-made book by John and Kathy Bloomberg-Rissman. I'm so honored these major poets worked with me on tiny books!

 The Complete Collection of Miniature Classics by Del Prado (Spain).

 Mark Twain

Beatrix Potter



We interrupt our regularly-scheduled programming for Artemis:

With regret, I share that our elderly cat Artemis passed away this morning at age 19. I’m trying to stave off the sadness with celebration as she lived a long, great life. She was more Buddha than Buddha, the exact creature Jesus Christ counseled real Christians to become, and an unknown but definite hero by both indigenous and Star Trek Standards—which is all to say, by loving everyone she met and making everyone love her, she embodied what usually remains potential: All is One and One is All. 

When we first rescued her, we were informed she had been dropped off with her own litter of kittens. If so, she never had a chance to know her children. But she did come home (with another cat Scarlet) to become the mother of a 9-week old German Shepherd, Achilles. After puppy Achilles grew to be over a dozen times Artemis' size, Artemis used to nap by using the silky-soft interior of his large ear as her pillow.  It is a consolation that, by transitioning from us, she goes to join Achilles and Scarlet on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. Also waiting for her will be our other shepherds Athena and Gabriela for one of creation’s major flaws is the too-short life span given to dogs.

Artemis had so many qualities that made her as perfect a creature as ever roamed planet Earth. She was a comfort cat for my aging Mom when Mom joined our household for the last six years of her life. She was a skilled huntress who once leapt four feet straight up to bring down a bird in flight—she caught it in the air and flipped the bird over so that when she returned to ground she landed by sitting on it; nonetheless, she did raise her cashmere-soft butt to let the bird fly off to safety.  She tamed all sorts of animals (and humans) who entered the house, including our first male cat Tarzan who we are hopeful will become less of a male chauvinist pig because of her influence.

To date, she has purred louder than any cat we’ve ever met for when she chose to display love, she displayed a love so munificent it must resound to the heavens … even if it occasionally irritated Scarlet who chastised the loudness of her purrs (but then again Scarlet was a dark creature whose only positive characteristic was the exquisite taste she displayed by being obsessed with Eileen, but the eulogy-writer digresses…).

As I have described Artemis, she lived long and loved deep—that she managed that hard-to-master combination is one reason she lived greatly. No wonder that as we drove her to her long-time family doctor, Gladys Knight sang, “…the best thing that ever happened to me.” And when we left the veterinarian’s office, Whitney Houston sang, “…the greatest love of all.”

You were and are loved, Artemis. Don’t rest in peace. Go off and frolic with the others. Tom and I shall see you and the other furry children again.

Achilles so loved Artemis he frequently gave her his "dog bed." 

Artemis (left) and Scarlet high up on the bed, daring the dogs to come closer. 

The kitten Tarzan trying unsubtly to cozy up to Artemis.

Monday, July 8, 2019


I love writing poems "after" visual art and also love it when visual artists create art after one of my poems.  Here's Matt Manalo's "I FORGET FORGETTING MY SKIN IS A RUIN" (2019, 60 x 54 inches):

The  medium is interesting, too: acrylic paint, spray paint, duct tape, and rice bags!

The work was exhibited along with another sculpture, "Displacement (reimagined) #3" (2016-2019), and I think the two pieces work well together--the text resonating against the interrupted and rupturing squares on the other work!

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Matt's works were part of "There Is Enough For Everyone," an art exhibition in Houston, Texas (June 14-July 8, 2019) that "pointed a spotlight at the reality of scarcity within black and brown communities, prodding the limitations, distribution, and access of wealth in the city of Houston and the country at large" (from exhibit description). The exhibition was curated by Michael Stevenson and J. Bilhan.

Thanks to Matt, one of my favorite contemporary artists.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


I'm grateful to Neil Leadbeater for reviewing ONE TWO THREE: Selected Hay(na)ku Poems in My Haiku Pond. You can see entire review HERE but here's an excerpt:
The longest poem in the hay(na)ku section, The Ineffability of Mushrooms, is described as a novella-in-verse. The first thing to notice about this is the title. The word “ineffability” stands out from all the other words and makes us stop in our tracks to consider its meaning before moving on to read the text. In its greater sense, ineffability is concerned with ideas that cannot or should not be expressed in spoken words (or language in general), often being in the form of a taboo or incomprehensible term. This property is commonly associated with philosophy, aspects of existence, and similar concepts that are inherently “too great”, complex or abstract to be communicated adequately but here, on a different level, it is also used in the sense of something that causes so much emotion, especially pleasure, that it cannot be described. Contrary to this notion, much is actually described about the actual art of foraging for mushrooms by man and beast, as well as their preparation and storage but, perhaps in keeping with the earlier definition of the word, the name of the speaker in the poem is not given, he is only referred to as “F”. Earlier and later references to “smoke” become ominous by the time we reach the final section of the poem:“…Later in / London, I / received //each Autumn one / precious single / bag // of dried mushrooms / and memories / then // lingering like smoke. / The last / arrived // in 1939, shortly / after the / outbreak // of war.”

Thursday, June 20, 2019


The long-awaited  “Extreme Texts” feature at Jacket2 edited by brilliant scholar-poet Divya Victor is out! And I’m pleased to be a part through MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION’s exploration of kapwa, transcolonialism, cubism/abstract expressionism, mathematics, subjectivity, weariness, a Pacita Abad painting, the illusion of the random, and, always-and-forever-for/from-me: Poetry. Here's my essay.

I heartily recommend reading through the entire issue as some of the most innovative work—innovative thinking—in contemporary poetry is presented here. Here’s link to the editor’s Preface with Table of Contents on the right side: http://jacket2.org/feature/extreme-texts

I am particularly heartened (I hadn’t expected it) that my work is presented in the same issue as a “Philippines Dossier”—as Angelo V. Suarez calls it with his intro, “Philippine literary production under fascism.” I am reminded of a leading Filipino poet who’d recently contacted me about publishing a book here in the U.S.—because while they normally would be able to publish it in the Philippines, it includes anti-Dut poems and that would make it difficult for such a publisher. (Relatedly, there are implications to how such a Dossier ends up being in Jacket2, a non-Filipino pub except for how cyberspace encompasses global of course)

Much to read. Much to consider. Do join me in perusing.

[Thanks to Carol Dorf and Leny Strobel and the Babaylan Files for their help with my essay. And Tom Beckett--I continue to give credit to the inspiration of your book DIPSTICK/DIPTYCH.]

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


As dubbed by the local post office, I'm the Media Mail Queen for Saint Helena. Media Mail is an inexpensive way to mail books and other select matter and as a publisher, writer, and critic, I beat out a local cookbook author for the title. But I guess certain folks try to take advantage of Media Mail for its lower-cost shipping rates and, today, I decided to open one of my packages and introduce them to the Miniature Book. Apparently, someone had been looking at my packages and doubting that a book really was inside. Well, they oohed and aaahed over the sample tiny book, a 1904 edition of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. "Learn something new everyday," Francisco (featured below) said. Indeed. And I retain my crown: Media Mail Queen.

Miniature Books are sized up to 3"x3" in the U.S.; internationally, the threshold can rise to 4". You are invited to visit what I call my "Tiny Book Library", as well as a Miniature Book exhibit I curated for North Fork Arts Projects.

(Local postman Francisco!)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Killian’s synesthetic insertion of a scent into several photographs is also genius; it moves from the on-point evocativeness of the referenced scent viz

       “Low cloud of violet fog blurring the bed’s four corners, almost like patchouli,” 

to (oh such a brilliant leap)

       “and underneath the heavy scent, the deeper scent of a woman thinking.”
--from review of EKSTASIS by Kevin Killian and Peter Valente

Of course Kevin Killian’s brilliant output also moved me to write reviews on his works. I emphasize that I don’t assign myself reviews—and no one else does. I simply try to read widely and whatever moves me to write a review ends up being what I review from the books of both friends and strangers. Kevin’s work moved me more than the two times I was able to (find the time to) review him:

EKSTASIS by Kevin Killian and Peter Valente

Kevin also was generous enough to review me on Amazon—he reviewed AMNESIA—it's heartbreaking to read his words now as it reminds of his generosity. I’d actually told him he didn’t have to review my work as I’d just wanted to support Belladonna who’d auctioned off a Kevin Killian review for one of their fundraisers. But of course Kevin went ahead with the review…

I notice that my review of his Amazon collection ends up with the words, “Stay healthy, Kevin Killian! We want more books from you!” Ach.