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.

Monday, January 4, 2021


is also an exercise in poeticizing autofiction. Autofiction is much on my mind because of forthcoming novel DOVELION (AC Books, New York, March-April 2021). Anyway, here's my first poem at Moss Trill:

"HOPE: First 2021 Poem"

I dedicate it to those who, as the poem cites, "still believe in ethics."

Friday, January 1, 2021


Remember my 2020 Anti-Tsundoku Project to read through and cut down on the To-Read piles stacked all over the house? Well, the wildfire did a better job of eliminating those piles than my reading efforts. As you can see by list below, the Glass Fire, which began in September, drastically reduced my reading:


January 2020 (65 books)

February 2020 (71 books)
March 2020 (32 books)
April 2020 (48 books)
May 2020 (59 books)
June 2020 (56 books)
August 2020 (26 books)

September 2020 (10 books)

October 2020 (10 books)

November 2020 (13 books)

December 2020 (13 books)


Total books read in 2020: a paltry (for me) 403 books. Not all books were “read” from beginning to end. The intent of Anti-Tsundoku was to go through the To-Read piles and either read or conclude not worth reading, in which case the latter were donated. Still, it wasn’t my reading that shortened those stacks—it was the wildfire which decimated them.


That’s okay. New beginnings, new year, etc. But I can mark today, January 1, with the shortest ever To-Read pile in my house. Three books—ta da!  But you know me, I shall have to ramp up the book acquisitions and readings again as 2021 ends my book-buying constraints. Here is the shortest To-Read Stack I've had in my life:

Thursday, December 24, 2020


 Continuing her wonderful annual tradition, I'm pleased to share Sheila E. Murphy's holiday poem, "Winter Pantoum for 2021"!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


I just received a copy of a new anthology featuring my works. It's a project that shows indie publishing at its best--you can see by the first 2 pages of its Introduction that I share, and from which I share this powerful excerpt below. PA-LIWANAG is published by the Philippines' Gantala Press and picked up for further publishing support by the U.K.'s Tilted Axis Press. I share my 2 poems ("Scumble-d" and "The First Face Transplant") since I shouldn't share others without their permission--though I will note that I am blessed to discover new poems and poets (I adore "Puki" by Elizabeth Ruth Deyro, a poet from the province of Laguna). Gantala asks:

"When a government wages war against its people -- surely a woman's press can and should do more than just publish books?"

Thus Gantala publishes "the works of women farmers, plantation workers, nurses and migrant workers, and regularly contributes to fundraising efforts in support of factory workers on strike as well as urban poor communities." This book is one of them and I'm honored to be in their company.

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.”