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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The deadline for next GALATEA RESURRECTS is Nov. 30 but as I’m a tad behind on things, I’m likely to be able to keep taking reviews for a few more days – let’s say up to Dec. 5 … as long as you let me know ahead of time. 

This is going to be another wonderful issue.  While I often (and deliberately) flake on many of my own “engagements” (vs. reviews), I’m always bolstered by many great thinkers volunteering to share their reviews.  Here’s an excerpt, for example, from T.C. Marshall’s review of Fred Moten’s THE FEEL TRIO:

The Feel Trio has been getting a lot of attention ever since it came out because it is delightful and enjoyably challenging to read, because its author is delightful and often challenging to listen to, and because it moves just far enough beyond his other very fine books to challenge the world to give him the notice he has deserved all along. The core of his fans has broadened, and now the book is getting read all over the place mostly because it made the short list, and then the finalists list for the National Book Award in Poetry. It did not win, and that may in the end be a good thing. Besides the travesties at the ceremony, there are other dangers in that prize. Winning it can be a stamp of approval for reductive pleasures. The aesthetics of the poetry world obscure some interesting challenges, one way and another, and there’s at least one challenging thing about The Feel Trio that should not be missed.

Plenty of folks have been, and will be, writing about the many great things about this book of poetry. The one thing that puts some extra challenge into reading this book by Fred Moten is another book: called The Undercommons by Stefano Harney & Fred Moten. If we read The Feel Trio without an understanding of The Undercommons, we may be in for that reductive trouble. It’s the trouble that the National Book Award can bring, even without its ceremonial brouhahas and idiocies.


That difference in reading is part of what makes The Undercommons a necessary companion book to The Feel Trio. If we merely read The Feel Trio as we have been reading other advancing work in recent decades, we risk consigning it to the same kind of aesthetic arguments that continue to simply help keep the world as we know it afloat. Art has its place in that world, and mostly is kept in it, contained in it, but The Feel Trio exceeds art and aesthetics—just as its namesake musical combo did. Another part of that companion volume’s necessity is that if we read The Feel Trio without the difference created in the hard work and play of thinking in The Undercommons, The Feel Trio just might get turned into a “manageable,” understandable book. Giving it a prize might turn out to be domesticating it. That’s what the challenge is: as usual, resistance, kept alive beyond hope of any prize.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

1 comment:

  1. Our systems of justice, and in the case of The Feel Trio, our systems of judgement are inadequate to recognize the capacity of its effort. Once inside its lexicon, it moved me in ways none of the other NBA finalists did.