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, March 7, 2020


March 2020 presents my one-year anniversary as a miniature book collector. As a writer, it appalls me a little (pun intended) that I didn’t learn about miniature books until just a year ago. But as a long-time lover of miniatures as well as an author, as soon as I learned of miniature books, I glommed on to them. It’s logical, right? But what I did not anticipate is the tension between considering miniature books as objects to look at (and fondle) versus as bearers of texts to read (as books).

Because I’m a writer, I decided from the beginning to take the library versus collection approach, that is, I would choose books that I could actually envision being in my personal library (regardless of the size of the book). This placed some limits in my collecting approach. I don’t, for example, collect miniature journals or books with blank pages—many of these objects are collected for the beauty of their bindings but I require interior material that can be read (while one can “read” a blank page, one blank page is like another so I couldn’t see myself collecting books of blank pages). But, today, I made an exception—I acquired several blank journals made by Sasha Mosolov.

I’m not sure I would have made this exception were the book artist not this native Muscovite who received a Book Arts degree from the Moscow Institute of Graphic Arts. Let me quote from his bio at the American Binders Museum where I discovered him: “Sasha Mosolov … began a bookmaking career as an edition binder at a time when much—perhaps most—literature in the Soviet Union was banned. Mosolov bound photocopies of forbidden texts–Freud and Jung, religious texts, and anti-Soviet literature—in small-run editions. Because bookbinding materials were difficult to come by except through official channels, he developed techniques using cloth, paste paper, and cardboard to create his editions. These techniques became the basis for his unique works, bound in dyed-and-painted leather on which Mosalov fashions textured, raised images. The endpapers are handmade collage designs, and the pages are hand-sewn.”

I love the idea of this underground book binder, as much as I appreciate the beauty of his work. I’m fortunate that many of his keychain-books fit the size constraints of miniature books. I did also acquire a huge tome by him as contrast. I present photos below—you’ll note that the endpapers are also handmade collages. I think a book artist who created books from banned texts should find a home in my modest Miniature Book Collection. Welcome Sasha Mosolov!

The keychain books are sized at 2.75" x 3-18".

Thursday, February 20, 2020


for the short story collection
Spring 2020 Release from Paloma Press (San Mateo)
ISBN-13: 978-1732302549

Paloma Press is pleased to announce a Special Release Offer for Eileen R. Tabios’ soon-to-be-released short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora. Normally priced at $18.00, this short story collection is now available for order for $16 through Amazon.  

Alternatively, if you wish a signed copy, you also can order one for the same price direct from the author; contact Eileen Tabios at Galateaten at gmail dot com  If you order two or more copies from the author, shipping will be free within the U.S.

Book Description
“Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’s stories, while not overtly addressing this radical torture of cuisine, relate to what lurks within the stew created by a dictator’s actions. The aftermath is not always obvious like the imprisoned, the tortured, or the salvaged (murdered); the aftermath goes deep to affect even future generations in a diaspora facilitated by corruption, incompetence, and venality. 

Eileen R. Tabios wrote “protest stories” from 1995-2001 against Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law in the Philippines, including “Tapey” which was read for Hawai’i Public Radio. These stories, except for a 2019 story written as a coda, form her new short story collection, PAGPAG. As indicated by its subtitle The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora, the collection presents stories from the points of view of children brought out of the Philippines by their parents (or other adults) in response to the Marcos dictatorship—children who grew up watching and listening to adults remember the homeland they left behind and who, as adults, can more fully articulate the effect of their histories. 


Advance Words
 “Pagpag” is a Tagalog word I used growing up to dust off a pillow or a blanket. Now it is used to refer to garbage food scavenged, recooked and resold to poor people. In her short story collection, Eileen Tabios uses both contexts to bridge her personal history with Martial Law and add texture to our already failed historical memory. These stories matter to us more than ever, as many Filipinos struggle under the tight grip of another populist, and as many more have forgotten that we have seen this before, and time is eating its own tail. Tabios begins her poignant collection with a “mamau” (ghost) and reminds us the historical past is not a ghost but a reality we carry with us if we can only see it as such. 
—Bino A. Realuyo, author of The Umbrella Country and The Gods We Worship Live Next Door

Pagpag is a provocation, connoting both debris and creative refashioning of memory fragments from the Marcos dictatorship—a legacy that, in the words of Philippine nationalist historian Renato Constantino, remains ruefully “a continuing past,” especially in today’s Duterteland. Here, the remains of the regime, like rescued reminiscences of an era preferred forgotten but not lost are gathered anew in a compelling telling, this time from the lens of a diasporic exile. In this volume, Eileen Tabios captures in scintillating prose the sights, smells, sounds, and ghostly hauntings of that era and offers back to the homeland, as in the gift of a proverbial balikbayan box, her reflections both heartfelt and wrenching. 
—S. Lily Mendoza, Executive Director, Center for Babaylan Studies, Associate Professor in Culture and Communication, Oakland University, and author of Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities 

In these stories Eileen Tabios explores the ways in which the collective experience of Filipinos echoes through generations, following us even if—or when—we drift worlds away from the archipelago. What is the legacy of government cruelty and greed, of poverty, struggle, unwanted uprooting? In the first story (“Negros”), the abject hunger of an ancestor reaches through time to shape the mind and body of a young boy. In the last story (“On Imitating a Rhinoceros”), a daughter watches helplessly as her old father clings to a wavering belief that leaving his homeland was the right thing to do. I recognize myself and my family in these pieces; I am seen and heard. Moving and necessary, this collection invites the reader to grapple with truths in all their difficult, complex beauty. 
—Veronica Montes, author of Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories and The Conquered Sits at the Bus Stop, Waiting 

In this collection of short fiction, author Eileen Tabios contemplates the terrible distances (emotional as well as physical) imposed on Philippine citizens by the country’s colonial governments and postcolonial dictators, abetted by global capitalism. In protest, the central metaphor of Pagpag, “scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempt to clean and re-cook for new meals,” speaks to various forms of hunger as well as desire for transformation. Brilliantly weaving comedy, satire and elegy, the stories echo tricksterish folk tales, but with a contemporary, introspective edge. Don’t be fooled by seemingly nostalgic peeks into the Philippines’ archipelagic culture: this book cuts deep into long-held illusions, exposing painful truth. 
—Jean Vengua, author of Prau and CORPOREAL, and editor of Local Nomad 

Monday, February 17, 2020


Deep gratitude to the professor-poet Rupert Loydell for using 1,000 Views of ‘Girl Singing’ as a writing prompt for his students at Falmouth University. 1,000 Views..., curated by John Bloomberg-Rissman presents as its core my poem "The Secret Life of an Angel" as well as Jose Garcia Villa's "Girl Singing." Rupert says:

“The work will be produced as part of our new WRITING AS A READER first year module on the Creative Writing degree at Falmouth University, which considers writing about, back to, from and responding to texts of all kinds (including written, spoken, the visual, aural, as well as poetry, fiction and non-fiction) including reversionary writing, collage, reviewing, adaptation, pastiche and parody, using texts as source material (literally and thematically), creative responses, as well as critical responses. It also considers genre, information content, point of view, tone and literary context.”

The poems are up at Zeitgeist Spam (thanks JBR for posting). These are always a lot of fun!  Go to link to see all poems but I feature below the three in non-English languages: Huttese (language of Jaba the Hutt from “Star Wars”), Klingon, and Afrikaans.

1000 Views of 'Girl, Singing' poem: "Doe secret life of an angel (--after jose garcia villa’s “girl singing…”)" by Kieran Blake

Doe secret life of an angel (--after jose garcia villa’s “girl singing…”) girl singing. Day. Doe old nek of winter reaches che immortality gee do lengthening shadow despite myo skipping neechu. Girl singing! Mee insist. Day! Mee chant like doe babaylan mee will become tah jeeska doe clouds tuta dimming doe sun, tuta milking doe sky of its cobalt gaze. He has worn many disguises, um mee have let him: doe original angel coo fell um fell. “it’s do grandio ride, ” he has whispered as part of his spell. “this sa do game of poker mee have lost, but noah longer waba tah play, ” mee reply. Girl singing. Day. Mee insist um proclaim: “u cannot scoff, myo secret demon. Che mee played gee high stakes while u only watched.” girl singing. Day. Mee risked everything while u hedged so mee could sing notes only virgin boys can muster, only fearlful dogs can hear. Mee lost magoosa noleeya doe ‘valley of evil’ but myo wings unfurled tah make je rise. Unlike do wings, mine did nopa betray— unfurling as mee changed myo mind che heaven nearer than do breath neechu.
[Note: in Huttese (language of Jabba the Hutt from “Star Wars”)--Kieran Blake] 

1000 Views of 'Girl, Singing' poem: boQqa'pu' yIn pegh (-qaSpu'DI' jose garcia villa "bom be'Hom …")" by Jake Leins

be'Hom bom. jaj. loD qan.

SIch winter immortality
lengthen QIb
lubotbe' skipping Ha'.

be'Hom bom! qap. jaj!
bom jIH rur babaylan
moj chen pol

vo' pemHov, HuvHa' vo'
chal cobalt nIm
gaze. law' 'uj

ghaH yInISQo' jech, je.
original boQqa'pu' pum 'Iv
'ej pum. "pujbe' lIgh."

tlhup, 'ej ghaH je 'ay' qabDaj
spell. "ghotvam'e' poker Qujmey
lujta' jIH, 'ach qawlu' vIneH

QujmeH, "jang jIH. be'Hom bom.
jaj. SoHvaD qap 'ej maq.
"pegh pagh scoff, SoH

veqlargh. chu' jIH jenwI'
stakes poStaHvIS neH legh tlhIH. "
be'Hom bom. jaj. bISuDqu' 'e' jIH

Hoch poStaHvIS hedged SoH
vaj notes laH bom jIH
laH muster neH virgin loDHom.

laH Qoy neH yoHbogh vay' choqlu' Ha'DIbaH.
jIH neH luj jIH ngech
mIgh 'ach tel unfurled

jIHvaD Hu'DI' loD DavoqmoHDI'. unlike
tel, wej magh vIghaj —
unfurl Hoch yab choH jIH

'u' latlhmey paQDI'norgh luchenmoHmeH puS tlhuH Ha'.

[Note: "my version of "secret life of an angel" in "Klingon" from “Star Trek"--Jake Leins]

Meisie sing. Dag. Die
ou man

van die winter bereik
met 'n verlengde
ten spyte daarvan dat
ek weggespring het.

Meisie sing! Ek dring
daarop aan. Dag!
Ek sing soos die
Babaylan wat ek sal
word om die wolke te

van die son verdof,
die lug van sy kobalt
staar. Hy het baie

vermom, en ek het
hom laat staan:
die oorspronklike
engel wat geval het
en geval het. 'Dit is 'n
heerlike rit,'

het hy
gefluister as
deel van syne
spel. 'Dit is 'n spel
Ek het verloor, maar
wil nie meer nie

om te speel,
”antwoord ek. Meisie
Dag. Ek dring aan en
'Jy kan nie spot nie,
my geheim

demoon. Want ek het
met hoog gespeel
terwyl jy net gekyk
het. ” Meisie sing. Dag. Ek
het gewaag

alles terwyl jy
verskans het
sodat ek note kon sing
slegs maagde seuns
kan saamspeel,

net angswekkende
honde kan hoor.
Ek het myself verloor
in die 'vallei
van die kwaad ', maar
my vlerke het

om my te laat
opstaan. Anders as u
vleuels, myne het nie
verraai nie—
terwyl ek van plan

vir die hemel nader as
'n asem weg.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


I'm grateful to Neil Leadbeater who reviews my latest Marsh Hawk Press book, The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku for The FilAm. As The FilAm prints an abbreviated version of his review Neil's original review is also up at the Marsh Hawk Press Blog.

Monday, January 27, 2020


World-traveler hay(na)ku thrives in Scotland. Neil Leadbeater becomes the second writer (after Stephen Nelson) to write hay(na)ku in that United Kingdom nation. I'm delighted to present some of them with this trio on the theme of sea shells!

A hay(na)ku of Sea Shells

Who can resist
a cache

shells washed up
on the

Single valves of
Senilia Senilis

Fadiouth in Senegal,
Turitella gastropods

a cove in
Costa Rica

limpets and clams
punctured with

nearer to home
on Chesil

Who can resist
a gift 

brought by waves
from the

Second hay(na)ku of Sea Shells

Who can resist
a hoard

shells: rayed mactra
and slipper

rose petal tellins
strewn with

out of a 
parting wave?

tulips on island
shores, sand

exposed to the
sun, olives

a glossy finish,
red calico 

with carrot cones 
and zebra 

species of wentletraps
the ultimate

Third hay(na)ku of Sea Shells

Beauty aside, they
are the

of invertebrates, animals
without backbones,

came from the
sea: marine

whose soft parts
have decomposed,

moulted shells of
crabs and

animals who had
a history,

life, and were
unafraid to


Neil Leadbeater is an author, essayist, poet and critic living in Edinburgh, Scotland. His short stories, articles and poems have been published widely in anthologies and journals both at home and abroad. His publications include Librettos for the Black Madonna (White Adder Press, 2011); The Worcester Fragments (Original Plus, 2013); The Loveliest Vein of Our Lives (Poetry Space, 2014), Finding the River Horse (Littoral Press, 2017) and Punching Cork Stoppers (Original Plus, 2018). His work has been translated into several languages.

Friday, January 17, 2020


One of my favorite books is THE WRITER'S DESK edited by Jill Krementz which offers pictures of nearly 60 writers' desks.

However, not a single Filipino writer is included in the book, a flaw that inspired me to create this new project featuring writers' desks:

If you are a Filipino-Pilipinz writer who would like to participate by sharing photos of your desk, contact Eileen at nalandaten at gmail dot com

This is your rare chance to be (e-)anthologized with Jose Rizal!

Thursday, January 16, 2020


And here we go with my first 2020 poetry collection, an e-chap that I wish did not exist: WE ARE IT. I wish it did not exist as I would rather have Marthe Reed back in this life ... even as she lives forever in poetry. WE ARE IT is part of a moving collective homage put together by one of today's smartest and most effective poetry presses, Dusie. Mine takes off (as many of the others do) from one of Marthe's wise statements. For WE ARE IT:
In her essay “somewhere inbetween: Speaking-Through Contiguity”, Marthe Reed (1959-2018) directs us to Timothy Morton’s reframing of human/other-than- human relationships as “drastically collective”—“All kinds of beings, from toxic waste to sea snails, are clamoring for our scientific, political, and artistic attention.” 
“Escape from this truth lies through no doorway, no slippery construct of language or argument: ‘we’ are ‘it,’ inextricable from our circumstances. The point on which all else turns: within this ‘drastically collective’ condition, how, then...live? Indeed, how write?” —Marthe Reed, Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing Within the Anthropocene

We miss you, Marthe...


I am grateful to India’s New Poetry for this engagement with and translations of my poems from an older but favorite book Menage a Trois With the 21st Century and an essay which first appeared in Entropy (thanks Janice Lee!). Runa Bandyopadhyay’s “reviews” have always been unique and daring and the Love overcomes my lack of fluency in (is it?) Bengali. Salamat!
I'm filing here what they posted on Facebook as it appears in print and in a language in which I'm not fluent -- such lovely Bengali script here followed by an English translation:
নতুন কবিতা – পঞ্চদশ বর্ষ (২০১৯)(New Poetry)-Issue-15th Year, Edited by Ranjan Moitra
প্রচ্ছদ – অরুণকুমার দত্ত (Cover Design – ArunKumar Dutta)
Caption of the Magazine - যদি (IF)
সম্পাদকের কলম লিখছে বিজনের আলোবাতাস,
ইচ্ছে আর অনিচ্ছে, স্বপ্ন আর স্বপ্নশূন্যতায় দুলতে থাকা জীবনে, ছিটকে পড়াগুলোই মনে থাকবে কেবল। মনে পড়ে। আর উঠে দাঁড়ানোর তীব্র সব রূপকথা, যা হয়ে ওঠে না সর্বদা। ঘন মেঘের আবছায়ায় সেই সব আচমকা রামধনু, যা মাটিতে নামে না। কেবল ভেতর হু হু করা দুপুরে এক মনচাহা গীতমালা আপনিই বেজে যায়। ‘শুনতে কি পাও গো’ বলে ডাক দিয়ে দিগন্তে মিলিয়ে যায় চেতনার হরকরা। তুমি তখন মাত্রাবৃত্তে। তখন তুমি ব্যায়ামাগারে, আখড়ায়। ভীড় আছে, হাততালি আছে তোমার পেশীনাচের তালে তালে এবং সম্ভবপর মুকুটও। সরলরেখায় গাঁথা সেই নির্ধারিত এবং নিয়ন্ত্রিত পথে কোনো যদি নেই কোথাও। যদির আকাঙ্খা এবং আশংকা নেই কোথাও। দরজা হাট করে খুলে দেওয়ার বাতাসকে আমরা এসো বলেছি, খুব ভিতর থেকে। চেতনপথের অজানায় পা ফেলবার ঊষায় কাকে যেন বড় আনন্দে বলেছি, শুনতে কি পাও গো।......ঝড় চলে যায়, ঝড় আসে। ঝাঁপিয়ে পড়ে ভরা কোটাল। কেবল দীর্ঘ এক যদির মাথার তীব্র আলো ঘুরে ঘুরে পথ দেখায় চিরকালের ঢেউ ভাঙানিয়া সেই সব অভিযাত্রীদের যারা নির্মিত জনপদটিকেও তার অণু পরমাণু ফিউসন ও ইনফিউসনে খুঁজে দেখতে চেয়েছিল......বিজন আছে তো। বেলা পড়ে এল। তবু, আছে তো আমাদের স্বপ্নসফরের পথে পথে। শূন্য চেয়ার ভরে রেখেছে আলোবাতাস। বিজন, তোমার প্রবাহে আজও নতুন নবীন তরী পাল মেলে দিচ্ছে। বইমেলার তুলকালাম ভিড়ে, আছো তো তুমি, আমাদের প্রিয় বিজন...
‘IF’ your way is straight, ‘IF’ your way is rigid and constrained, ‘IF’ will be nowhere. No longing no conflict for ‘IF’ in that way. Come my dear- this is the way we are calling the wind from bottom of our heart to open the door. We were delighted to say to move on the way, to break open the barriers of the consciousness to step out into an unknown darkness, the quark area of life and being…Could you hear us?....... 
We could hear  Eileen Tabios
Perhaps I hold the potential
for a poem keening
for the sun
to irradiate the sky
until we all inhabit
the same room
অনেকেই লিখেছেন এই সংখ্যায়। কবিতা লিখেছেন ধীমান চক্রবর্তী, স্বপন রায়, রঞ্জন মৈত্র, সৌমিত্র সেনগুপ্ত, যাদব দত্ত, অতনু বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়, সব্যসাচী হাজরা, ভাস্বতী গোষ্বামী, অরবিন্দ চক্রবর্তী, শমীক ষন্নিগ্রাহী, রাজেশ চট্টোপাধ্যায়, নীলিমা দেব, বিজয় দে, অয়ন্ত ইমরুল, প্রদীপ চক্রবর্তী, দুর্বাদল মজুমদার, তপোন দাশ, সৌমনা দাশগুপ্ত, রথীন বণিক, তপেশ দাশগুপ্ত, মারজুক রাসেল, সমীরণ ঘোষ, রত্নদীপ দে ঘোষ, তন্ময় কুমার মণ্ডল, নীতা বিশ্বাস, রাহেবুল, শম্পা মাহাতো, উমাপদ কর, ফারহানা রহমান, শুভ আঢ্য, দেবরাজ চ্যাটার্জী, অভিষেক রায়, ব্রতী মুখোপাধ্যায়, পিয়াল রায়, পলাশ দে, অনিন্দিতা গুপ্ত রায়, অমলেন্দু চক্রবর্তী।
গদ্য লিখেছেন ইন্দ্রনীল ঘোষ, অনিন্দ্য রায়, তুষ্টি ভট্টাচার্য, অর্ক চট্টোপাধ্যায়, ইশরাত তানিয়া, মধুছন্দা মিত্র ঘোষ।
অনুবাদ কবিতা- আর্যনীল মুখোপাধ্যায়
আর এই অধম - (“Post Mano A Birdo” and “Poetic Legacy” by Eileen R Tabios) 
“নতুন কোথায় থাকে, নতুনের কোনো দুঃখ নেই”- আসুন পাঠক, সেই নতুনকে খুঁজি, স্নান করি ধারামুক্তির জলে, ভিজে উঠি অতিচেতনার আলোয়, গায়ে লাগুক বিজনের বাতাস। হাতে তুলে নিন নতুন কবিতা – পঞ্চদশ বর্ষ সংখ্যা


New Poem-15th year (2019)-15th year (2019)-15th year, edited by Ranjan Moitra
Cover - Arun Kumar Dutta (Cover Design - Arunkumar Dutta)

Caption of the Magazine - যদি (IF)

The Editor's pen is writing the light wind of Bihar,

I love you, dreams and dreams remain in life. I remember it. And there are many things that do not happen. In the clouds of thick clouds they are the shining rainbow that is not called on the ground. You are the only one who wants to be a favorite song in the afternoon. "what do you get to hear" what do you get to hear You are the only one who is the one who is the one who is Then you are in the gym. There is a crowd, your hand is clapping and it is possible. There is no one in the straight line. If there is no desire and fear. We have told the wind to open the door, from very inside. I have told someone in the heat of getting into the unknown path, what do you get to hear...... the storm goes away, the storm comes. It's a good day. Only a long if the intense light of the head of the head led to the end of the forever waves of the passengers who wanted to find out the mass of its nuclear fusion and inaphi'usanē...... there is a reason. It's time. However, our dream is on the way to the journey. The light wind has filled the empty chair. In your flow, the new young tari is still running. In the book fair, you are there, you are, our beloved brother...

‘IF’ your way is straight, ‘IF’ your way is rigid and constrained, ‘IF’ will be nowhere. No longing no conflict for ‘IF’ in that way. Come my dear- this is the way we are calling the wind from bottom of our heart to open the door. We were delighted to say to move on the way, to break open the barriers of the consciousness to step out into an unknown darkness, the quark area of life and being…Could you hear us?.......

We could hear  Eileen Tabios

Perhaps I hold the potential
for a poem keening
for the sun
to irradiate the sky
until we all inhabit
the same room

Many many happy returns of the day. Poems written by Iman Chakraborty, swapan Roy, Ranjan Chattopadhyay, Soumitra Sengupta, Yadav Dutta, Atanu Bandyopadhyay, Sabyasachi Hazare, Sneha Chakraborty, Arshad Chakraborty, Rajesh Chatterjee, Rajesh Chatterjee, Neel Dev, Vijay Dev, Vijay Dev, Vijay Dev, Vijay Dev, Vijay Dev, Vijay Dev, Ajay Imrul, Pradeep Chakraborty, Durga Majumdar, tapōna das, saumanā das, Amit Merchant, Amit Russell, Gane Ghosh, Rat Ghosh, Tanmoy Kumar Mandal, Neeta Biswas, Neeta Biswas, Neeta Biswas, Neeta Biswas, Many many happy returns of the day, happy birthday to you, Farhana Rahman, Abhishek Roy, Abhishek Roy, Abhishek Roy, Abhishek Roy, Palash Roy, Palash Roy, Gita Chakraborty, Gita Chakraborty.

Prose written by Indra Neel Ghosh, non Roy, it bhattacharya, Arka Chatterjee, aish Tanya, madhusudan mitra ghosh.

Translation poem - arya neel mukhopadhyay
আর এই অধম - (“Post Mano A Birdo” and “Poetic Legacy” by Eileen R Tabios)

"where is the new one, there is no sorrow"- let's find the reader, let's find that new one, bathe in the water of release, get wet in the light of consciousness. Pick up a new poem in hand - the number of five years