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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


You know how some folks say a book is so good they didn’t want it to end? I always had a “Meh” of a reaction—there’s always another good book waiting for someone to open it. But, for the first time, I felt that reaction—to Marina Abramovic’s memoir, WALK THROUGH WALLS (Penguin/Random House, 2016). It is so gooooooood that, yes, I want the reading of it to last forever!

Yesterday I wrote a poem inspired by what I’d read so far; I show an excerpt below (and, yes, of course its narrative is partly fictionalized and different from what I’d read—her book inspired it, not dictated it). Then, this morning, I read about her and collaborator Ulay’s performance piece, “Die Mond, Der Sonne.” It’s as if—through the poem—I’d anticipated (learning about) this work … which partly addresses the failure of reflection.

Reflection, and yes, as with all my recent poems, the poem begins with lines from John Ashbery: “Before you realize the reflection / isn’t yours.”

What’s happening is that desired confluence of events where what’s happening in your life all seem to be conspiring to create a poem. A poet is blessed when living in such a circumstance …

Okay, nuff on that. For now, do go read Abramovic’s WALK THROUGH WALLS—for poets and artists, the read also (I suspect) will enliven your practice in unexpected ways.


P.S.  Please allow me to share a failed self-reflection:

Thursday, September 21, 2017


About 16 years ago, I met an artist Michelle O'Connor during the first time I attended San Francisco's OPEN STUDIOS tour. At 23 years of age, she was the most promising artist I discovered that day. I wrote about her in a now-defunct arts publication (click on images below to enlarge). I am reminded of her as her brother contacted me as their family wanted to set up a website for Michelle's work. You see, at just 23 years of age, Michelle was struck down by a vehicle (a truck, I think) as she rode her bicycle. So much promise lost. Such a young life to pass.

Anyway, Michelle's brother also sent me something I'd written on Michelle -- and as I read it now, 16/17 years later, I realize that this may be the most important and significant "art writing" I've ever done--a judgment I make because I can just imagine how my words may have helped make Michelle's family know just how worthwhile was Michelle's life despite lasting only 23 years. In art, which was her love, she accomplished something ... and if my words helped emphasize that to her relatives, important perhaps because they lived elsewhere from San Francisco where Michelle studied and practiced her art, I am blessed to be of service. I won't say more. I'll just say that I am proud of this work:

(click on images to enlarge)

What is also hilarious about the above story regarding Michelle's "bio" is that, notwithstanding how she deflected my request with Staples, she actually called her father after I made my request and announced, "Okay, Dad, we need to write my artist biography tonight!" Hugs to you, Michelle! R.I.P. We still live with and continue to love your paintings!  Here they are -- poor reproductions but perhaps the viewer will get the drift...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Belligerence can manifest in many ways and one of the examples in Love In A Time of Belligerence has to do with the increased popularity of sex dolls and what such implies. I'm posting below an excerpt from the book's poem "Pathos." I was moved to do this blog post by recent articles on sex dolls relating to their use as for-hire dolls, mimicking prostitution, as well as the more unsavory use of child sex dolls, mimicking pedophilia. At the latter, I admit to having my open-mindedness come to a screeching halt -- what a belligerent world.

Here's an excerpt from how the book addresses this issue in a poem entitled "Witnessed in the Convex Mirror: Pathos":

men collecting rubber sex dolls—yes
one is not sufficient. It’s not only about
sex, though the dolls all share breasts
permanently uplifted in defiance of
gravity. The doll owners put them in
wheelchairs to take them to the beach
to a picnic, to love hotels where mirrors
surround the bed—the doll is property

and the owner is in total control. In
a world changing constantly and in ways
off-putting if not terrorizing to who they
believe they are, the doll owners can
always arrive “home” to dolls whose eyes
ears, mouths, genitals remain ever attentive

One man’s daughter receives
the doll’s hand-me-down clothes—what
must she think as she puts on the sheer
lace blouse of her father’s rubber toy

I'm still processing sex dolls and its implications (see HERE) ... and continuing to be bothered by its pedophiliac aspects so that my aggravation surfaced yesterday in a second poem on the issue. No doubt writing is helping me process. Anyway, here's an excerpt from a new poem from "The Ashbery Riff-Offs" series--it's entitled "Witnessed in the Convex Mirror: Bizarria":

of sexing with a robot. There’s “Bobbin,”whose human
trawls lingerie stores for just the right lacy corset to wrap
around her. There’s “Maui,” whose human props her in
a wheelchair so she can accompany him to the beach
where he locks her legs around his surfboard so they can
ride waves together. There’s “Amazon”—the given name
to ten dolls—whose human outfits them in helmets and
combat uniforms to play wartime fantasies. Finally, there’s
“Samantha,” who costs 4,000 euros for her human “skills”:
hugging, moaning, and remembering who previously
grasped her skin-like skin. Surely it won’t be long before
an engineer can twist Samantha’s nipples into tightening
as she replicates a female orgasm. We long have taken
pride in our openness to the varied creatures inhabiting
our massive universe; we have not wanted to be judgmental
But one morning, you turn on the computer to discover
an article about child sex dolls popular among pedophiles
Regardless of gender, they bear the name, of course, of "Baby"

We sorely need to do a better job protecting our children. Among other B.S., these folks positing that child sex dolls help distract pedophiles from human children are cracked. Let's ALSO address those who'd create that kind of ridiculous and dangerous culture.


"Bizarria" is a word introduced to me by the two lines from John Ashbery's "Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror"--

Parmigianino says of it: “Realism in this portrait
no longer produces an objective truth, but a bizarria

A bizarria is the first graft chimera between the Florentine citron and sour orange, and looks like these:

There are more bizarre images, but the point is that the result is a hybrid ... which made me relate it to a sexual (and no doubt other types of a) relationship between human and robot. This is a large topic (larger than sex) given the growth of AI and the lagging nature of ethics.

Finally, as an aside, part of what's interesting about reader responses and/or reviews of a poetry book is seeing which poems are highlighted by the readers. For whatever reason, cited poems to date have related more to "Love" versus "Belligerence." Well, why not? We all look for love where we might find it? This then, is partly to share something about the belligerent side, indeed, of Love In A Time of Belligerence.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene, that is. Thanks to curator Doug Holder and reviewer Zvi Sesling for their attention to MANHATTAN. You can click  on green link below for review, if you wish to read!

Since the 1990s when I first encountered Eileen Tabios’s poetry, she has continually taken readers on a different journey of creativity with each book. Ms. Tabios is one of the Philippines’ great gifts to the United States. Her poetry is innovative, definitely creative and never repetitive…. There are many other lines in Tabios’s poetry that intrigue – there always are. Her language is light years ahead of many poets from countries around the world, yet remains accessible and exciting.
—Zvi A. Sesling, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene, Sept. 18, 2017

(Nota Bene: I chose to excerpt above lines to ... make mischief, not necessarily because I believe my own P.R.)

Monday, September 18, 2017


Well now, I hadn't been planning to but given this stupendous gift of jellies and poetry that just arrived in the mail from stupendous poet-publisher Kimberly Ann Lyons, let's celebrate Galatea Resurrects' 11th birthday, shall we?! Thank you Kimberly! GR is proud to have reviewed, to date, nearly 2,000 poetry books and other projects. Let's eat! For my afternoon cuppa, some of those fig reserves indeed! Or shall it be the rosehips that puts roses on my hips? All to the tune of a birthday poem for this "little snowball" from Gerrit Lansing! Indeedy!

Per third image, Kimberly refers to the site of Galatea Resurrects and I'm glad it and its Archives keeps giving! 


My beloved Achilles joins me in this fundraising anthology for animals adversely affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. He has a poem in this chap anthology--he was such a great creature he was even a poet!

Gratitude to editors Aileen Cassinetto and C. Sophia Ibardaloza for putting this project together, as well as to Paloma Press for publishing.  After Irma, After Harvey may be ordered through HERE. Proceeds will be donated to the Animal Defense League of Texas and the Jacksonville Humane Society.

From the Editors:

We are ever committed to the rescue and care of displaced and shelter animals—before Harvey and long after Irma—“until they all find a home.” 
Aileen Cassinetto & C. Sophia IbardalozaEditors


Gratitude to Grady Harp for his review.

MANHATTAN's Amazon link is HERE.  I believe MANHATTAN is my most pricey book yet; it is available at a lower price through HERE.

MANHATTAN also will be at Paloma Press' Book Table at next month's Filipino American International Book Festival in San Francisco, where I will actually launch it through one of its HOT OFF THE PRESSES readings:

(click on image to enlarge)