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, December 31, 2013


So honored to be in the current TALISMAN, with its section, “The Occupation: The First of Three Major Selections of Works by and about Women Writers Around the World” edited by Lisa Bourbeau.  I’m touched that Lisa sought me out – I’m not active on social media so I’ve never forgotten her email query to me calling me some sort of throwback for not being on Facebook (grin).  Anyway, it’s magnificent – look at the Table of Contents of this first Occupation below.

I’m also happy over the inclusion of my two poems (“(NOBILITY” and “How Cyberspace Lost Midnight”) because they are two of the poems in my forthcoming poetry collection, SUN STIGMATAS (Sculpture Poems) to be released in the Fall by Marsh HawkPress.  Last but not least, I believe this is the first time I’ll appear in the same literary issue as one of my top three poetic influences from my newbie poet stage: Mei-mei Berssenbrugge.  The other two, if you must know, are Arthur Sze and John Yau (do check out these poets’ works – their poems are worth pursuing).

Having said all that, it is certainly worth pausing to consider the implications of this Talisman issue.  Why are the women writers grouped into a section (“The Occupation”) and in all the other sections the writers are men?  One always hopes that the women writer need not be “ghettoized,” and can just be presented in the usual way as the men writer.  Susan Schultz writes intelligently on this issue HERE. Despite one’s hopes on the issues of women writers and inclusivity, I do appreciate, though, this treatment by Talisman.  Because numbers (and lists) do show that most literary journals’ offerings are still dominated by male writers.  Talisman’s in-your-face acknowledgment (and challenge) to this is highlighted by the use of “Occupation”—here is the Table of Contents:

 Essay: Alice Notley

Poetry in English:
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Laynie Browne, Maxine Chernoff, Adina Dajiba, Shira Dentz, Deborah Diemon, tSharon Dolin, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Denise Duhamel, Elaine Equi, Carmen Firan, Carol Frost, Joanna Fuhrman and Toni Simon, Barbara Henning, Fanny Howe, Laura Jaramillo, Ann Lauterbach, Camille Martin, Medbh McGuckian, Wanda Phipps, Patricia Pruitt, Tara Rebele, Judith Roitman, Susan M. Schultz, Suzanne Simmons, Laura Sims, Stephanie Strickland, Eileen Tabios, Anne Tardos 

 Fiction: Kate Farris, Andrea Clark Libin, Susan Nash Smith 

 Poetry in Translation:  Aase Berg (trans. Johannes Göransson)
Jeannette L. Clariond (trans. Keith Ekiss)
Zhang Er (trans. Martine Bellen)
Elke Erb (trans. Rosmarie Waldrop)
Galina Eroshima (trans. Gerald J. Janecek)
Xiao Hong (trans. Zhang Er and Martine Bellen)
Julia Kunina (trans. BetsyHulick and Richard Sieburth)
Marta López-Luaces (trans. Alexandra van de Kamp and Juan Manuel López Ramos)
Kristina Lugn (trans. Malena Mörling and Jonas Ellerström)
Gabriela Mistral (trans. Mariela Griffor)
Alicia García Núñez (Corrections: Ricardo Hernando Carratalá)
Helga Olshvang (trans. Alexandra Landauer)
Anzhelina Polonskaya (trans. Andrew Wachtel)
Sofía Rhei (trans. Lawrence Schimel)
Monika Rinck (trans. Rosmarie Waldrop)
Mercedes Roffé (trans. Judith Filc)
Gali-Dana Singer (trans. Lisa Katz)

Context aside, I hope you enjoy the content of the poems themselves.  They are some of the most marvelous I've seen from several of these talented writers.  Click HERE for the Occupation at Talisman!

Monday, December 30, 2013


Speaking of money and poetry, I buy poetry. I'm blessed to receive many complimentary copies and so my annual lists of "Bought Poetry" never reflect my reading habits. But I do want my role as as poet to include supporting others' books by purchasing them, to the extent one has the funds. I believe in putting my money where I wish my eyes to be. Still, I usually disappoint myself when I realize, at year's end, how many poetry books I bought (or did not buy). The list below features the 58 books of poetry or on poets/poetry I purchased in 2013. It's a drop from the prior year's buying record of 83 books. So: I must do better! Meanwhile, here was 2013's purchases:

 58 Books Bought in 2013
FRAGILE REPLACEMENTS by William Allegrezza

A CUP OF SUN: A BOOK OF POEMS by Joan Walsh Anglund

 THE GRAND PIANO: AN EXPERIMENT IN COLLECTIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHY, SAN FRANCISCO 1975-1980, Volumes 1-10, by Rae Armantrout, Steve Benson, Alan Bernheimer, Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian, Tom Mandel, Ted Pearson, Bob Perelman, Kit Robinson, Ron Silliman and Barrett Watten

POEMS’ PROGRESS by Wendy Barker



 I’LL DROWN MY BOOK: CONCEPTUAL WRITING BY WOMEN, Edited by Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody and Vanessa Place CAN IT, memoir by Edmund Berrigan 

HELLO, THE ROSES by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

 BOUGH BREAKS by Tamiko Beyer

 SONGS OF INNOCENCE (color facsimile of the First Edition with 31 Color Plates) by William Blake

FLUX, CLOTH & FROTH, Vol. 1 (text) by John Bloomberg-Rissman

 FLUX, CLOTH & FROTH, Vol. 2 (notes to poems) by John Bloomberg-Rissman

 ALL IS FORGOTTEN, NOTHING IS LOST, novel re poets and ars poetica by Lan Samantha Chang


AFTERNOONS WITH EMILY, a portrait of Emily Dickinson by Rose MacMurray

 POEMS AT WAR by Jose Ma. Espino


 CIRCLES WITH OPEN ENDS by Diana T. Gamalinda

 PEOPLE ARE STRANGE, short stories with much poetry by Eric Gamalinda




 THE NEXT ANCIENT WORLD by Jennifer Michael Hecht


THE ILIAD by Homer (Easton)




THE COLLECTED POEMS OF PHILIP LAMANTIA, eds Garrett Gaples, Andrew Joron and Nancy Joyce Peters

REALISM by Tom Mandel



THE COMEDIES by William Shakespeare (Easton)

THE TRAGEDIES by William Shakespeare

THE HISTORIES by William Shakespeare (Easton)

REVELATOR by Ron Silliman

THE VOICE AT 3:00 A.M. by Charles Simic


JUST KIDS, memoir of life with Robert Maplethorpe by Patti Smith

THE RESERVOIR by Donna Stonecipher

THE AWAKENING by Eileen R. Tabios


A BLADE OF FERNS by Edith Tiempo


FLYING OVER KANSAS by Rowena Tiempo Torrevilas



MANY WINTERS: PROSE AND POETRY OF THE PUEBLOS, by Nancy Wood with drawings and paintings by Frank Howell

THE CODICILS by Mark Young

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Poets who've visited me on the Galatea mountain are a special group, and few enough so I can list them:

Jane Augustine
Michelle Bautista
Catherine Daly
Michael Heller
Sandy McIntosh
Barbara Jane Reyes
Rena Rosenwasser
Leny M. Strobel
Arthur Sze
Jean Vengua
John Yau

Not even a dozen, right?  Which is why this evening was special as I was visited by TWO poets!  The father-daughter Thomas Fink and Maya Mason Fink (currently a junior at Brown University -- so proud of her!).  Here they are at Meadowood where we went for dinner:

Tom just released a new poetry book, JOYRIDE (Marsh Hawk Press) which I highly recommend! And of course I also recommend the father-daughter's collaboration, AUTOPSY TURVY (Meritage Press)! Actually, here are more recommended books by Galatea's prior visitors:

Jane Augustine, A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO MOUNTAIN CLIMBING (Marsh Hawk Press)

Michelle Bautista, KALI'S BLADE (Meritage Press)

Michael Heller, BECKMANN VARIATIONS & OTHER POEMS (Shearsman Books)


Barbara Jane Reyes, DIWATA (BOA Editions)


Arthur Sze, THE REDSHIFTING WEB: POEMS 1970-1998 (Copper Canyon Press)

Jean Vengua, PRAU (Meritage Press)

John Yau, 100 MORE JOKES FROM THE BOOK OF THE DEAD, collaboration with Archie Rand (Meritage Press)

Some of you are requesting I recommend poetry publications and other books. On this blog, you will see many posts recommending poetry in different ways. The above titles should be easy to find viz internet search, but I know most if not all are available through Small Press Distribution (Berkeley) and/or Amazon. Enjoy!

Friday, December 27, 2013

POETRY AND MONEY (#1): John Bloomberg-Rissman

[If you are a poet and would like to participate in this "Poetry and Money" Series, go HERE for information.]

A 3-Question Interview, A Sample Poem, and Book List Featuring

John Bloomberg-Rissman

1)  You are a poet.  How do you make money to survive?

I became a poet at 17. Til I was in my mid-30s, I jumped from job to job in a kind of happenstance way. I worked in the LA fashion district for a year or two, in the circulation department of the west coast equivalent of Women’s Wear Daily. The fashion district is just blocks from skid row, so that was very eye-opening for a young guy from the burbs. Then I worked for Black Sparrow Press as “the office”. That was a great job for a young poet since I got to meet a number of established and well-known poets such as Charles Bukowski, Michael McClure, Clayton Eshleman … Later I worked in a minimum wage rubber stamp factory, as an architectural drafter, as a freelance writer. That gave me lots of time to write. Which was good, because I was and am a slow learner. By the time I was in my mid-30s I was sick of looking under “no experience necessary”, I had two kids, so I decided I needed something more steady and permanent. More “careerish.” So I went back to school and got a masters in librarianship. I was a librarian for the next 25 years. All those years were spent at UC Riverside, but not all of them were spent in the library. For the first 16 years I worked in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on a grant-funded research project called the English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC); when I burnt out on that I became a hard-money librarian, working in the library itself, with responsibility for building the collections in the arts and the humanities, and eventually also for the social sciences. It was a great career, but for about 10 years I stopped writing. I can’t exactly blame the job, tho at least the grant-funded work and raising the kids took pretty much all I had. I did start writing again while still doing the grant-funded work, tho, so I can say that working in the library facilitated my finding my way back to writing. One day, while walking past the new periodicals I picked up a copy of APR for some reason, read a few poems and said, “Is THAT all there is to it???” Anyway, now I’m retired. With a pension. So I can (and often do) work on various writing projects all day and all night if I want. 

2)  How did your money-making choices affect your process of making your poems?

When I started writing again I found that a library was a great place to be situated. First, because of the 10-year hiatus, I had to catch up on everything that had been happening. The collections librarians who preceded me at UC Riverside were really good. So I pretty much had the history of poetry up to the present within 50 feet of where I sat. And then when I began to do collections work, I could build on what they had done. For several years I spent every spare minute prowling the stacks. That in itself was a hell of an education. But I guess this doesn’t exactly describe process. My process evolved during the years I was a librarian. At first, it was pretty straight “I” lyric. Over time it became more collage-y til now it’s virtually entirely mashup. For most of the past decade I’ve been engaged in making a monster poem (if it’s a poem, I don’t really know what it is) called Zeitgeist Spam. The first two sections have been published: No Sounds of My Own Making (Leafe Press, 2007), and Flux Clot & Froth, Vol. I and Vol. II  (Meritage Press, 2010). You can watch the third part, In the House of the Hangman, unfold at my blog, Zeitgeist Spam. I think being a librarian exposed me to a myriad of poetics and possibilities. Additionally, since I was also responsible for collecting for the Philosophy Dept, and the English Dept (think Theory), I was able to develop some insight into all the discussions going on. Many concerned the nature of the subject position, and helped lead me to collage. Also, a library itself is a collage, in which virtually every text sits next to other texts, which sit next to other texts; all this textuality can lead in a multitude of directions and tie in to all sorts of other objects and texts. This helped me break down borders between various kinds of texts, and to see poetry in virtually every kind of writing. Finally, much library work is done in groups (task forces, committees, etc), not to mention that librarians are unionized (and that I was a union activist). This taught me that my own voice wasm’t “special; by that I mean I found listening to the collective more interesting than I found my own “me me me”, and that my “I” worked better as part of a chorus.

3)  What would you consider to be the pros and cons of how you have earned your income?

I really did like being a librarian. I felt useful. I felt “clean” – meaning that I wasn’t dealing arms, or suing farmers for using patented seeds, or anything like that. And, as mentioned above, working in a library means access access access, to countless texts, countless researchers, grad students, undergrads and all sorts of interesting people. The cons were, eventually pros for me as a poet. They included overwork because we were understaffed; relative low pay (because of two reasons: 1) librarianship is a women’s profession, as are, e.g., teaching and nursing, and women are traditionally paid less than men – other, “men’s”, professions such as law, engineering, architecture, doctoring, are much better compensated, and 2) the UCs, being a prestige university, pay less than Cal States and the California Community Colleges (as the TAs at Harvard put it once, during a strike, you can’t eat prestige – at least not for years); as well as constant underfunding (I was a librarian during the years neoliberalism was busily beginning to turn the university world into a poor clone of the corporate and into low-cost patent factories). But these were all good for me as a poet because they exposed me to the corrupt world we live in, which, if corrupt even in the privileged realm of the university, was almost certainly corrupt everywhere, and to the necessity (well, I see it as a necessity) for the poet to link arms with what has come to be called the 99%.

These cons bring me to questions you didn’t ask, but ones these suggest, and ones I’d really like to address. Or at least touch on. Or at least note that, for me, these are or have become the heart of something for me, some kind of obsession. In a way it’s a concatenation of questions, a knot of them, which I’ll simplify a bit here: Who is the poet in a society whose god is money? How does living in a world in which everyone has to make money and worry about money and etc etc or suffer the consequences (impoverished old age, no health care, etc etc) affect your view of yourself as a poet and how does it affect your poetry (and process) [I am thinking specifically of how recent years have seen both DianeDi Prima and Bernadette Mayer essentially begging]? What does it mean to be a poet in a world in which “more than 660 million people without sanitation live on less than $2 a day”? And so on. I can only really answer these questions via my poetic praxis, so my work is the best answer I can give. I do think collage/mashup is appropriate (“we are many”), I think other aspects of my process, which is a combination of the aleatory and a loose algorithm which determines what texts I use in which order ((“an openness to the possibility of the Event”) also honor the situation. But of course the situation is incredibly complex, these are just my choices how to handle it. I would like to point, tho, to two websites where relevant discussion has taken place. There are obviously, many more:

Militant Poetics http://militantpoetics.blogspot.com/, which was a conference that took place in London in May 2013, and

Revolution and/or Poetry http://revolutionandorpoetry.wordpress.com/, which was a conference that took place in Berkeley at the beginning of October 2013.



Since it’s not quite fair to simply say, “my work is the best answer I can give”, here’s an example (and yes, I consider the notes an intrinsic part of the project):

In the House of the Hangman 1530

But now, from between the black & white spiders, a cloud and fire burst and rolled thro’ the deep black’ning all beneath, so that the nether deep grew black as a sea, & rolled with a terrible noise; beneath us was nothing now to be seen but a black tempest, till looking east between the clouds & the waves, we saw a cataract of blood mixed with fire, and not many stones’ throw from us appear’d and sunk again the scaly fold of a monstrous serpent; at last, to the east, distant about three degrees appear’d a fiery crest above the waves; slowly it reared like a ridge of golden rocks, till we discover’d two globes of crimson fire, from which the sea fled away in clouds of smoke; and now we saw, it was the head of Leviathan; his forehead was divided into streaks of green & purple like those on a tyger’s forehead: soon we saw his mouth & red gills hang just above the raging foam tinging the black deep with beams of blood, advancing toward us with all the fury of a spiritual existence. Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi-Bii-ih-flii-ih; Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi,- / Bii-ich zii-ich; Bi Bi Bi bi, Bii-ih iiih; Cha / Doch nit me, Hii-ih? Wii-ih;;;; Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi,- / Bii-ih Brii-ih; Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi, Bii-ih Dri-ih; / Wiiga, I giiga; D’r Britt het ja, n a Schiiiga;; / Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi,- Bii-ih nii-ih; Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi,- / Chlii-ih Chlii-ih; Bi Bi Bi Bi,- ii-ih bii-ih; / La doch nit me, Vii-ih. Rii-ih;;;; Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi,- / Bii-ih Brii-ih; Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi,- Hii-ih Hii-ih; / D’Schiiga, Sie Chriiga; The cuckoo is gone, anyway. So it is not the cuckoo saying Always falling into a hole, then saying “ok, this is not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of the hole which is not the grave, falling into a hole again, saying “ok, this is also not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of that hole, falling into another one; sometimes falling into a hole within a hole, or many holes within holes, getting out of them one after the other, then falling again, saying “this is not your grave, get out of the hole”; sometimes being pushed, saying “you can not push me into this hole, it is not my grave,” and getting out defiantly, then falling into a hole again without any pushing; sometimes falling into a set of holes whose structures are predictable, ideological, and long dug, often falling into this set of structural and impersonal holes; sometimes falling into holes with other people, with other people, saying “this is not our mass grave, get out of this hole,” all together getting out of the hole together, hands and legs and arms and human ladders of each other to get out of the hole that is not the mass grave but that will only be gotten out of together; this sentence is endless. It should be squeezed out in p-sized measures / was this splendid toccata opening placed by an urban mammal under the hood? First the apocalyptic herald of 1000 jacked dirtbikes in approach, then the muffled “get ready,” then “my name,” staggering between human and instrumental. It opens, like a lot of stuff, with a sustained, barbaric “kid.” We have seen the ghostly pyrotechnics, the spectral smoke machines. We have known what enters and exists with “rock.” Where does empire come from? Theft, transmutation, amnesia. The foundational chants of hip-hop filched, spliced, remarketed as neo-gregorian drone of white dialect interlarded with Whitmanic list. Kid is the interrogative dreamer here. He dedicates the song to “the questions which don’t have any answers.” These are outlaw: a grabbag of lumpen aspect, festering contradiction. Kid’s riddle is a population. “Thanks to Eggs we are able to harvest the air … at the ‘stiff peak’ stage … [egg] foam is approaching 90% air.” Egg foam’s a snapshot of the air quality in any location. Serve it to politicians or business owners. The tragedy of the commons never tasted so good! For a while I was convinced there was something deeply profound in the connection between Dennis Wilson and Charles Manson, and as a result purchased Wilson’s solo record and spent several weeks researching that element of the Manson ordeal. I came up with very little, but that isn’t really the point. Lately, a research obsession has been Theodore Kaczynski. I mean, when I was younger “Unabomber” was simply something people said when you wore a hoodie up and a pair of sunglasses, but since then I’ve realized that Kaczynski is easily one of the most striking and disconcerting figures America’s ever seen — akin to Howard Hughes, maybe, or the entire Kennedy family. He’s still alive, by the way, and I heard he recently wrote the Harvard Alumni Association with a list of accomplishments including his prison sentence. Today in #laborhistory — The Kansas National Guard is called out to subdue from 2,000 to 6,000 protesting women who were going from mine to mine attacking non-striking miners in the Pittsburgh coal fields. The women made headlines across the state and the nation: they were christened the “Amazon Army” by the New York Times — 1921. What would be less fantastic? Take you placidly stepping out on a black wood lotus; seems mediocre, not horrible, whimsical, maybe. Or we could say at first they were pieces of nonsense, their cities negated, their verbs rounded off randomly. Bad girl meets Santa. To understand this way amounts to ridiculing the state of flying birds. (I remember the salad shooter.) Vaccinated, merciless itch, what is the homeland we travel? Passing thought immortalizes the X+one “casting of cities” thinking past us. A true 2 years before messing with you. Why did we wait for the translators? There were many. The question is, why should one be interested in sophistics today? As occasional causes are by far the most significant and the most efficacious, I would like to explain first of all where my own interest in sophistics stems from. It arose from the encounter of two trajectories which were rivals in all senses of the word. The first phase of study, both jubilant and confused, took place under the sign of Martin Heidegger. Because everything possessed a renewed intelligibility, everything also fit neatly into the palm of one’s hand. In order to move out from this circumscribed territory, no less is required, doubtless, than (a) a redefinition of philosophy throughout its history, in such a way that this widening of the scope does not produce a mere analytic restriction or moral rigidity which can immediately be traced back historically to the technical and technological nature of our epoch, and (b) probably some new conceptual personae in the Deleuzian sense. But the most frequent approach, which Deleuze himself initiated or at least made use of contemporaneously (using the Stoics, Spinoza, and Bergson), is to draw attention to the readings Heidegger failed to perform, or did not perform, inasmuch as they are held to be strategically impossible. My own growing rigid, in this context, has to do with the determination of the origin and the dawn. The Greek morning which Heidegger arranged for us is monomaniacal and kleptomaniacal. It robs an entire array of texts and possibilities so that they may fit under the aegis of Parmenides’ poem. Heidegger’s Parmenides reads polis merely as pelein, the old Greek verb for einai: if the polis in itself is only the “pole of pelein,” then “it is only because the Greeks are an absolutely non-political people” that they could found the polis, and did. The first reading that I found impossible to perform using Heidegger alone, in the truly grandiose perspective of Parmenides’ unveiling, was Gorgias’ Treatise of Non-Being. Approximately a half-century after the dawn, this treatise provides a full-fledged demonstration of the mechanisms or strategies thanks to which Parmenides’ “Poem” conforms to Heidegger’s dream. It is a text which critically exceeds ontology in its nascent state. Thus there was a different way of being pre-Socratic. In order to confirm this diagnosis, it proved necessary for me to undertake the study of Greek, and ever more Greek, not so as to arrive at the bareness of meaning itself by digging through the thicket of semantics. It was a matter of acquiring the tools with which to respond in kind: amphibological appropriations of an emerging syntax and the extraordinarily imaginative rigidity of the various grammaticalizations. This was my counter-apprenticeship, then: philology, with its ceaseless equivocations between the rights of the text and the rights of the interpreters ...

[Note: Sources: But now, from between … spiritual existence: William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; Bi-Bi-Bi-Bi / Bii-ich … cuckoo is gone, anyway: Adolf Wölfli, “It is a march, 32 beats”, from the Cradle to the Grave, Book No. 4, p. 416, in Adolf Wölfli Creator of the Universe; So it is not the cuckoo saying: JBR; Always falling into a hole … gotten out of together: Anne Boyer, “what resembles the grave but isn’t”, at http://anneboyer.tumblr.com/post/48690531600/what-resembles-the-grave-but-isnt *, 23 Apr 013, via Anne Boyer, “beware-beware …”, at http://anneboyer.tumblr.com/post/70202144342/beware-beware-quote-from-anne-boyers-what *, 16 Dec 013; this sentence is endless: JBR; It should be squeezed … p-sized measures and It should be squeezed … under the hood? and There were many: Tom Jones, “Poem Interpellated by Toothpaste”, “The K Numbers”, “Steal Us From Ourselves”, in Mealy Bloom; First the apocalyptic … population: Anne Boyer, “Song of the Week: ‘Bawitdaba’ by Kid Rock”, at http://coldfrontmag.com/news/song-of-the-week-bawitdaba-by-kid-rock coldfront, 16 Dec 013; “Thanks to Eggs … 90% air” and egg foam’s … owners and The tragedy … tasted so good!: On Food and Cooking, and The Center for Genomic Gastronomy, quoted in the Center’s “Smog Tasting”, at http://genomicgastronomy.com/work/projects/smog-tasting/ The Center for Genomic Gastronomy; For a while … Kennedy family and He’s still alive … prison sentence: Grant Maierhofer, “Some Recently Acquired Reading Materials”, at http://htmlgiant.com/random/some-recently-acquired-reading-materials/ HTMLGIANT, 16 Dec 013; I mean and by the way: JBR; Today in #laborhistory … 1921: Aindriu Macfehin, FB post, 16 Dec 013; What would be less fantastic? and Take you placidly … whimsical, maybe and Or we could say at first … rounded off randomly and Bad girl meets Santa and To understand this way … salad shooter) and Vaccinated … for the translators?: Jack Kimball, “Pretext takes over”, at http://pantaloons.blogspot.com/2013_12_01_archive.html#1577075015086291667 Pantaloons, 16 Dec 013; The question is … one’s hand and In order to move … grammaticalizations ...: Barbara Cassin, “Who’s Afraid of the Sophists? Against Ethical Correctness” (tr. Charles T Wolfe), at http://www.soundandsignifier.com/files/Barbara_Cassin_on_Sophists.pdf Sound and Signifier]



No Sounds of My Own Making (Leafe Press, 2007)

Flux Clot & Froth, Vol. I and Vol. II (Meritage Press, 2010)


As Co-Editor (with Jerome Rothenberg), BARBARIC VAST & WILD: A Gathering of Outside & Subterranean Poetry from Origins to Present (Black Widow Press, forthcoming 2014)

As Co-Editor/Curator (with Ivy Alvarez, Ernesto Priego and Eileen R. Tabios), THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU PROJECT (Meritage Press, 2010)

As Editor, 1,000 Views of Girl Singing (Leafe Press, 2009) 


I recently read a very interesting book, LIVING AND SUSTAINING A CREATIVE LIFE: ESSAYS BY 40 WORKING ARTISTS, edited by the brilliant artist and, based on my few interactions with her, lovely person Sharon Louden.  Her book basically interviews artists on how they support themselves -- which is to say, how they support themselves FINANCIALLY as well.

Art and money--specifically making art and making money--is a tricky topic for many reasons and so I was fascinated by, and grateful to, the artists who were willing to share this aspect of their lives.  And the topic, when addressed fully, became more than about money-making but also the implications for how one lives as an artist.

The book also made me think about doing a similar project for poets.  I don’t know if its manifestation would be an anthology like what Sharon edited.  But I thought I’d start by seeing the possibilities in it through a three-question interview that I plan to post intermittently on this blog.  I plan to send these questions to poets, encouraging them to answer in any way they choose:

1)  You are a poet.  How do you make money to survive?

2)  How does your choice affect your process of making your poems?

3)  What would you consider to be the pros and cons of how you have earned your income? 

If you are a poet interested in participating in this series, feel free to email Moi at that place whose library I'm attempting to resurrect:  Nalanda10@aol.com

I will present your answers with a sample poem and list of your books with links, if any.

Eileen Tabios


John Bloomberg-Rissman

Erin Virgil

Thursday, December 26, 2013


I expected to spend much of December working on a new book. But I didn't expect that book to be VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets, an anthology I conceptualized to raise funds for the survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines). I finalized the manuscript contents today -- whew! -- and now await word from the book designer's schedule. Meanwhile, here's a draft book description I recently wrote in anticipation of future press releases et al. Several details yet to come, but you'll at least get a gist of this very worthwhile project!

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets
Editor: Eileen R. Tabios
Meritage Press (San Francisco & St. Helena, 2014)
Book’s Retail Price: $To Come
Online Orders: Lulu____(To Come)
To order directly from publisher, contact MeritagePress@aol.com

Super Typhoon Haiyan—known as Yolanda in the Philippines—was the largest storm ever recorded on land, affecting over 11 million people who became homeless, widowed, orphaned or saw their beloveds die or themselves died in the onslaught of water and wind. Rebuilding efforts are estimated to require about three years with the Philippine government estimating that such efforts will cost about US$8.59 billion.

In response to Yolanda’s devastation, Filipino poets in the homeland and the diaspora rallied to create a fundraising anthology entitled VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets. Edited by poet and editor Eileen R. Tabios, the anthology of 132 poems is released by Meritage Press (San Francisco & St. Helena), and can be ordered online through the press’ Lulu account at ___[To Come]__. All of the book’s profits will be donated to those helping the survivors of Yolanda. Recipients will be listed on the book’s website as they are known—and already includes Shelter Box, a disaster relief charity that was on the ground in Yolanda’s immediate aftermath.

Book sales and, thus, fundraising proceeds, need not occur simply through online purchases. Meritage Press will work with fundraising organizations or individuals wishing to raise funds for Yolanda’s survivors. Specifically, Meritage Press is willing to send books at cost to fundraisers who then can sell the books at their individual retail price of [$20] each. The fundraisers then are free to donate the profits to organizations of their choice who are involved in aiding Yolanda’s survivors. For more information, contact Eileen R. Tabios at MeritagePress@aol.com

While the anthology was geared for fundraising, the result also showcases the wealth of talent in Filipino poetry, a category that has not received sufficient attention within the poetry world. While not created for this purpose, this book is a useful showcase of contemporary Filipino poetry. Most poems are written in English, but a few also present examples of some of the Philippines’ languages: Filipino, Cebuano or Bisaya, Waray, and  Hiligaynon (with excerpts from their English translations).

Additionally, while each individual poem may be powerful, the poems together create a sum-effect greater than its parts. What results is both novelistic in scope and urgent in communicating the news. For the news continue beyond the actual incident and aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. The news continue about how our actions degrade the environment and each other, making likely the return of Yolanda’s brethren…unless we amend our actions. The sum of these poem-stories also reflect a different reality from what’s mostly been presented in the media, attesting once again to the importance of Filipinos speaking up on their own behalf.

A Foreword is provided by poet-scholar Leny Mendoza Strobel, whose presence is appropriate due to her ground-breaking studies into the decolonized Filipino self and how pakikipag-kapwa/building-a-beloved-community is an indigenous part of Filipino identity. For the eagerness with which Filipino poets embraced this project manifests the indigenous Filipino trait of Kapwa.

Meritage Press and the poets in VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA appreciate your support. We look forward to engaging with you … including having our poems being read by you.

CONTACT: MeritagePress@aol.com

The anthology will take a couple of months to put together. We hope to have your support when it is released as, unfortunately, it's almost guaranteed that Typhoon Yolanda's survivors will still require support several months or years from the time of the devastation.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Our family celebrates Christmas. We were blessed to see many presents under the trees this year, but about 90% of the presents are ... books! I love lists and here below are the books I gave and received as presents for the 2013 Holidays.

I’ve also worked a lot with lists as scaffoldings for projects involving poetry and (auto)biography (for instance, THIS BOOK that contains a list of my daily trash over a certain period). Relatedly, a list such as this below may offer clues about the “I” writing the posts on this blog – she who is verbing books:

(Most given by my loving husband based on his perceptions/knowledge of my interests as well as a few hints by Moi):

CHASING CHAOS: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid by Jessica Alexander

FERRAN: The Inside Story of El Bulli and The Man Who Reinvented Food by Colman Andrews

I’LL DROWN MY BOOK: Conceptual Writing by Women, Eds. Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody and Vanessa Place

The Hemingway Play by Frederic Hunter

BACK FROM THE CROCODILE'S BELLY: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory, Eds. S. Lily Mendoza and Leny Mendoza Strobel

Club Without Walls: Selections From the Journals of Philip Pavia, Ed. Natalie Edgar

Revelator by Ron Silliman

Another Path by Gladys Tabor

Stillmeadow Seasons by Gladys Tabor

The Stillmeadow Road by Gladys Tabor

To My 17-Year-Old Son:

PANORAMIC COLOMBIA, photographs by Miguel Salazar Aparicio and text by Enrique Pulecio Marino

BOLIVAR: American Liberator by Marie Arana

AFRICA UNITED: Soccer, Passion, Politics and the First World Cup in Africa by Steve Bloomfield

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (Easton Press. Books from Easton and Loeb are primarily to encourage a collector's library)

THE HOUSE OF HADES by Rick Riordan

THE COMEDIES by William Shakespeare (Easton)

THE TRAGEDIES by William Shakespeare (Easton)

THE HISTORIES by William Shakespeare (Easton)

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (9th printing, Sept. 1939)

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951 Book of the Month Club printing)

Mastering the Fundamentals of Mathematics, Prof. James A. Sellers

To My Brother and His Family:

To Guest Pastor at UMC Family Celebration, Santo Tomas, Philippines:
THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New 1998-2010 by Eileen R. Tabios

To a Family Friend:

The Perils of Peace: America’s Struggle for Survival After Yorktown By Thomas Fleming

To My Husband:
The Official Record of the WAR OF THE REBELLION

AESOP’S Fables (Easton)

St. Agustine Confessions, Trans. by William Watts (Loeb Classical Library)

St. Agustine Confessions, II, Trans. by William Watts (Loeb)

The Confessions of St. Augustine, Trans. J.G. Pilkington (Easton)

THE DIVINE COMEDY OF DANTE ALIGHIERI, Trans. Arthur Livingston, with drawings by William Blake (Easton)

BOLIVAR: American Liberator by Marie Arana

The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

OVER THE EDGE OF THE WORLD: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigating of the Globe by Laurence Bergreen

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Easton)

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte (Easton)

THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler (Easton)

CICERO on The Republic of the Laws, Trans. Clinton W. Kayes (Loeb)

CICERO ORATIONS, Philippics 1-6, Ed. & Trans. D.R. Shackleton Bailey, Revised by John T. Ramsey & Gesine Manuwald (Loeb)

CICERO ORATIONS, Pro Caelio De Provincii’s Consularibus Pro Balbo, Trans. R. Gardner (Loeb)

CICERO: Tusculan Disputations, Trans. JE King (Loeb)

CICERO: IX Orations, Trans. H. Grose Hodge (Loeb)



CICERO: ON THE ORATOR, trans. by E.W. Sutton and H. Rackham (Loeb)

CICERO: LETTERS TO ATTICUS, Vol. II, Ed. & Trans. D.R. Shackleton Bailey (Loeb)

CICERO: Letters to Quintus and Brutus to Octavian / Inventions Handbook of Electioneering, Ed. & Trans. by D.R. Shackleton Bailey (Loeb)

CICERO: Orations Philippics 7-14, Ed & Trans. by D.R. Shackleton Bailey, Revised by John T. Ramsey & Gesine Manuwald (Loeb)

CICERO: Letters to Atticus, Vol. I, Ed & Trans by D.R. Shackleton Bailey (Loeb)

CICERO: Orations in Catilinam I-IV, Pro Murena – Pro Sulla – Pro Flacco, Trans. C. MacDonald (Loeb)

CICERO: Orations Pro Quinctio Pro Roscio Amerino Pro Roscio Comoedo On the Agrarian Law (Loeb)

CICERO Orations Pro Archia Post Reditum In Senatu Post Reditum Ad Quirites De Domo Sua De Haruspicum Responsis Pro Planco, trans. by MH Watts (Loeb)

CICERO XXI, Ed. Jeffrey Haderson (Loeb)

CICERO IV De Oratore, Book III De Facto Paradoxa Stoicorum Partitiones Oratoriae, Trans. H. Rackham (Loeb)

CICERO Orations Pro Milone – In Pisonem – Pro Scauno – Pro Fonteio – Pro Rabirio Postumo – Pro Marcello – Pro Ligario – Pro Rege Deiotaro, Trans. N.H. Watta (Loeb)

[CICERO] Rhetorica Ad Herennum, Trans. Harry Caplan (Loeb)

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (Easton)

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper (Easton)

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (Easton)

How The Crusades Changed History, Prof. Philip Daileader (Great Courses)

The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin (Easton)

GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens (Easton)

The Short Stories by Charles Dickens (Easton)

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco

THE MILL ON THE FLOSS by George Eliot with illustrations by Wray Manning (Easton)

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

In Flagrante Collecto (caught in the art of collecting) by Marilyn Gelfman Karp

FAUST by Goethe (Easton)

THE MAPS OF ANTIETAM by Bradley M. Gottfried


THE MAPS OF FIRST BULL RUN by Bradley M. Gottfried

THE MAPS OF GETTYSBURG: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign June 3-July 13, 1863 by Bradley M. Gottfried

Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Easton)

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Easton)

HESIOD The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, trans H.G. Evelyn-White

THE ILIAD by Homer (Easton)


PASSIONS: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson

A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce (Easton)

SHERMAN: A Soldier’s Life by Lee Kennett

HOW MUSIC AND MATHEMATICS RELATE, Prof. David Kung (Great Courses)

The Prince by Machiavelli (Easton)

Caesar’s Women by Colleen McCullough

ANCIENT SHORES by Jack McDevitt (Easton)

LANGUAGES A to Z, Prof. John McWhorter (Great Courses)

Moby Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville (Easton)

WIRED FOR WAR: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P.W. Singer

IVANHOE by Walter Scott (Easton)

The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott (Easton)

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (8th printing but replica cover)

CALIFORNIA: A History by Kevin Starr

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (Easton)

The Alhambra by Desmond Stewart and the Editors of the Newsweek Book Editions

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (Easton)

TACITUS Annals, Books XIII-XVI, trans. by John Jackson

TACITUS Agricola Germania Dialogue, Trans. M. Hutton, W. Peterson; Revised by RM Ogilvie, EH Warmington, and M Winterbottom

TACITUS, Histories IV-V, Annals I-III, Trans. by CH Moore and J. Jackson

TACITUS The Histories, Books I-III, Trans. by CH Moore

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Easton)


REASON AND FAITH: Philosophy in the Middle Ages by Thomas Williams


I had a lot of fun with my prior blog, THE BLIND CHATELAINE'S KEYS.  But it's time for a change and, this time, I am choosing a blog with a constraint: a focus on books.  However, my definition of  "book" is not conventional; for example, here is a book I made last year -- an unreadable book entitled THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS:

Why is the book unreadable? Perhaps because I can't help myself at times from concocting ... mischief! Anyway, you can read about my making an unreadable book in my post (http://sitwithmoi.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-secret-by-er-tabios-unreadable-book.html) at my SitWithMoi Blog on  mini books on mini chairs.  The point is, I hope, to surprise the reader, and moiself, in exploring the world of books.  Since each book can be its own world, to explore the world of books is of course to explore many worlds.  Let's have fun!