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, January 22, 2014


[Poets are invited to participate in this series of snapshots of poets’ reading habits. For information, go HERE.] 

Marton Koppany on Reading

Marton’s living room (he has books in his study and bedroom as well)

I'm reading now or just read or going to read soon these things:

David Berridge: Bring The Thing ( if p then q, 2013) 
David Berridge: The Grimace (The Red Ceilings Press, 2013)

Very witty small (I mean: minimalistic) (that's for my taste -- and my English! :-) constructions, and I laughed aloud more than once (much more), but sometimes I realized that my tears were there for crying and not for laughing (or for both, in synchrony). The Grimace is about a dying relative -- and about the “wriggling” of the lines of the poems as they try to find their right (less painful) position. The small pieces contextualize each other, and then we get surprised. I wonder why something like "you'll feel better / if you sit up" hits so strong. It has to do with the previous pages (preparation), the placement of the sentence in the middle of the page or so in two lines (there's no "better" place than the middle of the page), and the message itself.

The Grimace


Fluxus, and the Essential Questions of Life (edited by Jacquelynn Baas, Hood Museum of Art and The University of Chicago Press, 2011).

I got interested in Fluxus more than three decades ago because of George Brecht, and in George Brecht because of his “Six Doors”: how it doesn’t discriminate between visible and invisible; how two invisible things can be as different from each other as two visible ones, and how this can be shown. I’ve translated into Hungarian loads of fluxus stuff since then for an archive in Budapest but this exhibition catalogue, containing superb illustrations and well-written essays is fresh and charming: it is one of the best documentations in the field I’ve ever seen.


I always have some poetry in Hungarian at reach, to console myself for the double effort that reading poetry etc. in English demands. Now it is Cavafy’s turn again. His selected poetry brought out in 1975 in the excellent translation of two Hungarian poets is a reliable, old companion.


To read:

Ronald Johnson: ARK (Flood Editions, 2013). My biggest challenge for the next couple of months.

Tamarin Norwood: olololo

I'm spending more and more time reading digital stuff (like most of us, I guess) and more things written in English than in Hungarian. I’m very interested in visual writing (actually that is my main interest) and the internet is a gold mine for that kind of literature. One of the best books I’ve just discovered is a work by Tamarin Norwood. I like now her other works as well but I was meant to choose a book for this list. Ok, olololo is certainly a book, or more exactly, a video on the way it was read -- and also created by the reading. It brings to my mind the Rube Goldberg machines but it has an (almost mathematical -- or rather "Eastern") beauty. It is very humorous too. But in this case (like in Berridge’s) weeping and smiling belong together. Olololo starts at the end, with the ending, with the small dot, but we're not conscious of it -- and we don't expect that the pencil in the hand is the hinge on which the story turns. 

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