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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


I appreciate this article, "Avant-Latino Poetry" on JACKET2 by David A. Colon.  What amused me about it is that if you take its first three paragraphs and just replace "Latino" with "Filipino" or "Pinoy," you'd have the beginnings of a legitimate "Avant-Pinoy Poetry" article.  Like so--if the writer doubles the referenced "seven or eight" years that begins the third paragraph on the Latino article:

When Vladimir Mayakovsky memorably proclaimed that “without revolutionary form, there is no revolutionary art,” and Renato Poggioli wrote that “the avant-garde image originally remained subordinate, even within the sphere of art, to the ideals of a radicalism which was not cultural but political,”[1] and Marjorie Perloff (now famously) asked “what if, despite the predominance of tepid and unambitious Establishment poetry, there were a powerful avant-garde that takes up, once again, the experimentation of the early twentieth century?,”[2] they weren’t talking about the current work of a new cohort of Filipino/a poets who transect extrusions of renegotiated identity consciousness within extremities of conceptual aesthetics. 
But, in retrospect, they kind of could have been. 
Developments within the past near two decades have vastly exceeded the extent of experimental inquiry that had ever existed before in US Filipino/a poetry. What by now can be legitimately regarded as an emergent generation of younger Filipino/a poets is taking to task the inheritance of academic Filipino/a identity and, by gaming its language, rendering this tensile form more pliant in order to better fit the identity of the layered, contested, and changing Filipino/a subject in the contemporary world. These poets, by exploring the limits of poetry as well as Filipino/a identity through a diversity of aesthetic and cultural incursions in their writing, articulate a new Filipino/a poetry that in turn proposes a new view of Filipino/a identity, one that grants more agency to diverse potentialities than to conformist restrictions imposed from the past: a condition I regard as the avant-Pinoy.

So seven to eight years later, a Latino writes about his community poetry in this way.  Nearly two decades later, where's the Pinoy writing about his/her/xir community's poetry in this manner?  I guess we too busy cooking, eating or, avant-wise, deconstructing that adobo?

Friday, August 29, 2014


That saying about judging a person by the company said person keeps?  Can’t say that about poetry books in a bookstore—not that I’m judging!  Am just happy my books made it into ANY bookstore!  Here’s a photo of some of my books and what surrounds them in a bookstore:

Speaking of books, here's the rest of my latest Relished W(h)ines update of recently imbibed books and wines.  As ever, please note that in the Publications section, if you see an asterisk before the title, that means a review copy is available for GalateaResurrects!  More info on that HERE

PORT LIGHT: A HAY(NA)KU COLLECTION, poems by William Allegrezza (read in manuscript as it’s the next book to be published by Meritage Press.  So, obviously: OUTSTANDING!)

THE HOAX OF CONTAGION, poems by Michael Leong (witty. LinkedIn Poetry Recommendation (LPR) #126)

RED BOX OF BLUES, poems by Ryan Gallagher (favorite poem among many enjoyed is probably “And the Gods Make Love.”  LPR #127)

I DIDN’T KNOW MANI WAS A CONCEPTUALIST, poems by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingde (smart and elegant. LPR #128)

INTERVAL, poems by Kaia Sand (luminous.  Fabulous.  LPR # 129)

#!, poetry by Nick Montfort (pleasingly thought-provoking. LPR #130)

THE OLD LIFE, poems by Donald Hall (wonderful mastery of the long poem. To be an LPR recommendation)

SMALL WORKS by Pam Rehm (thoughtful and delicate.  To be an LPR recommendation)

THE WHOLE MARIE, poems by Barbara Maloutas (lovely. To be an LPR recommendation)

OPEN NIGHT by Aaron Lowinger (ravishing. To be an LPR recommendation)

ON LIBERTY, REPRESSED, poems by Tom Jenks (thought-provoking such that it compelled me reviewing it for next GalateaResurrects)

PRELUDE TO BRUISE, poems by Saeed Jones (very strong)

THE LANDFILL DANCERS, poems by Mary Kasimor (liked “water for mrs lot” and “pray for the stone”)

AS WATER SOUNDS, poems by Sunnylynn Thibodeaux (steel with delicacy or delicate steel)

NOT FOR YOU ALONE, poems by Robert Murphy (lovely chap. Read chap and listened to CD – the auditory is as fine as the words)

*  TWO FAT BOYS, poems by James Davies (funny!)

GEMOLOGY by Megan Kaminski (wonderful)

STAINED GLASS WINDOWS OF CALIFORNIA, poems by Julien Poirier (excellent)

MAO’S PEARS, poems by by Kenny Tanemura (pleasingly fresh)

THE TRUE KEEPS CALM BIDING ITS STORY, poems by Rusty Morrison (stellar. Language matured like fine wine)

AFTER URGENCY, poems by Rusty Morrison (stellar. Language matured like fine wine)

BEYOND THE CHAINLINK, poems by Rusty Morrison (stellar. Language matured like fine wine)

A DISTURBANCE IN THE AIR, poems by Michele Poulos (a natural)

BIG MAMA SEZ: POEMS OLD & NEW by Babeth Lolarga (admirably brave and earned poetry)

*  THOUSAND TIMES BROKEN: THREE BOOKS by Henri Michaux, drawings and poems translated by Gillian Conoley

WEAR WHITE AND GRIEVE, poems by Jennifer Diskin

MIDWINTER DAY, poem by Bernadette Mayer

OF COLLOCATED RHYTHMS, poems by Felino A. Soriano

GREEN AND GRAY, poems by Geoffrey G. O’Brien

*  MUM IS DOWN, poems by Oscarine Bosquet


*  THE UNKNOWING MUSE, poems by Sarah White

*  AFTER LUNCH WITH FRANK O’HARA, poems by Craig Cotter

*  AGAINST CONCEPTUAL POETRY, conceptual poetry by Ron Silliman


VIDEO TAPE, poems by Andrew Zawacki

COMES UP TO FACE THE SKIES, poems by Steve Gilmartin

WATCHING THE WINDOWS SLEEP, stories, poems and art by Tantra Bensko

*  THE GREENHOUSE, poems by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet

*  LOVE, OF A KIND, poems by Felix Dennis

TREMENDUM, AUGUSTUM, poems by Leonore Wilson

SKY LANTERNS: NEW POETRY FROM CHINA, FORMOSA AND BEYOND, Edited by Frank Stewart and Fiona Sze-Lorrain

THE DIFFICULTIES, Vol. I, Nos. 1 and 2, edited by Tom Beckett (six numbers or Volumes of this magazine were published between 1980 and 1989.  They’re now available online at http://eclipsearchive.org/projects/DIFFICULTIES/difficulties.html to present a lovely recovery project.  I plan to read the entire series).

HOUSE ORGAN, No. 87, literary zine edited by Kenneth Warren

*  AUFGABE #13,  Edited by E. Tracy Grinnell, erica kaufman, Jen Hofer and Nathanaelm, Maryam Parhizkae, Jamie Townsend and Zandra Ruiz, including poetry from India and from the Moroccan journal Souffles


PICASSO BLACK AND WHITE edited by Carmen Gimenez


EVERYTHING TO LOSE, novel by Andrew Gross

2003 Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese
Pestoni Family “1892 Field Blend”
2003 Bert Simon Serrig Herrenberg Riesling Auslese
2012 Farmstead chardonnay
2003 Ch. Rauzan Despagne
Launois champagne Grand Cru
2002 R.B.J. theologicum
2011 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett Mosel
2012 Buehlers cabernet
2012 Black Stallion chardonnay NV
2010 Franciscan Estate  Winemaker’s Reserve cabernet NV

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I need to go grocery shopping; there are more books than food in the kitchen:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014



I am interested in collecting poets' and writers’ tales of mortification as have occurred in their literary lives. These can include but not be limited to bad reviews, poorly attended readings, rejections, being left out of group projects like anthologies, etc. Please email me if you have any such tales or have questions. While the tales can be written in any style -- rant, complaint, self-deprecation, humor etc. -- my (flexible) intent at the moment is that it be a funny project.

[UPDATE: Visual poet extraordinaire Marton Koppany is the first participant with his tale over HERE!]

My project is inspired by a 2003 book on the same theme, MORTIFICATION: WRITERS' STORIES OF THEIR PUBLIC SHAME (Ed. Robin Robertson) which I am relishing now. Here’s an excerpt from Simon Armitage’s contribution:
“It is three hours before the first train home. I breakfast with winos and junkies in McDonald’s. Killing time in the precinct, I find a copy of one of my early volumes in a dump bin on the pavement outside the charity shop. The price is ten pence. It is a signed copy. Under the signature, in my own handwriting, are the words, 'To Mum and Dad.'"


over where I APPEAR.

First appearance will be on behalf of Kids Exposed to Domestic Violence Program and Haiyan survivor relief.  See?  I APPEAR not (just) to let my poems preen but for a good reason if not a good cause!  Do join me!

Monday, August 25, 2014


I had an active August trading books through MOI COMMUNITY BOOKSHELF!  This is a project where I list spare copies of poetry books or other genre by poets.  I then will trade such books for other poetry books I don't have (you can check if I already have your would-be trade at my Poetry Library).  Poets, you can trade your own books or spare copies of others' works.

So far in August, I've traded 25 books!  I believe that's a monthly record.  If you'd like to participate, do go to what can be OUR COMMUNITY BOOKSHELF.  I believe poetry should be circulated!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014


There was an article recently about various “types” of poets.  I was happy to see that, initially, I couldn’t see myself in any of the stereotyped profiles (though I’ve always looked quite fetching in a beret).  Still, I’m about to take on Poet No. __ by announcing, I JUST WROTE A POEM!  In the article, what is implicit about poets announcing such is apparently the pushed implication: SO NOW, WORLD: AWAIT GREATNESS!

All very Friday cheerful.  So, I just wrote a new poem, and I’m announcing it because of the way the poem happened.  I was reading through Nick Montfort’s latest book, #! (yes, that’s the title, #!, pronounced fabulously as "shebang"!) just released by Counterpath Press.  Ever brilliant, Montfort (who I first came across whilst curating BIBLIOTHECA INVISIBILIS) uses creative computing — in the case of #!, conquers the programming language, “Python” — to make new poems.

The book has a wonderful presentation.  On black pages, it reprints the programs Montfort set forth for generating the poem.  Then the generated poem is presented next as the (usual) black text on white pages.  Here’s a photo of the program for the poem that helped inspire my own newest poem:

NOW, WORLD: AWAIT GREATNESS!  Here’s the photo of my notes, ahem, my program generated by Montfort’s program from which I then wrote a new poem.

It gets better.  While writing/typing my own poem, to be guided by my notes, I mean, program, I had to tape it against the lamp pole by my desk.

I love the contrast.  There’s Montfort and his ilk expanding the technological frontiers of poetry and then there’s me happily keeping company with scratch paper, handwriting and tape!  Oh, and lamp pole!

I love the 21st century!  I still have to figure out Skype but … with poetry, I’m ever happy to be able to fashion a home.  Thank you, Poetry!

And thank you, Nick Montfort.  Are those shutters behind you in this photo from BIBLIOTHECA INVISIBILIS?  Because they sure look programmed, too!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


And it's official!  SUN STIGMATA (due out in October/November) will be released first in hardback.  So, we had to prepare a dust jacket -- the paper cover that wraps around the hardbound book.  As we'd initially prepared the design for a paperback cover, we had to adjust the cover to incorporate side flaps (those pieces that fold over the covers).  Which meant we had to come up with text for said side flaps.

The front side flap was easy -- put on a sample poem.  I'd ran out of ideas by the time we got to the back side flap (the blurbs were used for back cover).  So I scratched my beleaguered head.  Then decided to reprint from a "previously said review" about moi.  I chose this because it had relevance to SUN STIGMATA and, more importantly, it amuses said moi:

Who is the author…? Is it Eileen R. Tabios, prolific Filipino-born poet, editor, blogger, Barnard graduate, California resident, and daughter of Filamore B. Tabios, Sr.? Or is it Eileen R. Tabios, the author-function (as Michel Foucault would have it), the “discursive set” revealed to the reader through cross-hatched trajectories of history, culture, ethnicity, gender, and the borrowed vocabulary of other writers similarly constructed? Or could it be—in a sense that Coleridge might have approved—the Eileen R. Tabios who is neither person nor socio-linguistic nexus, but the instrument of a “synthetic and magical power” that achieves its presence in the unique, transcendent moment of the poem itself? 
To answer “all of the above” would be equivocal, but not inaccurate, since The Light Sang engages the nature of authorship from multiple flanks. In his essay “From Work to Text,” Roland Barthes asserted that “the Text is always paradoxical,” so we might be prepared to find that Tabios has assembled here an omnibus of paradox and exploration, at once textual and visual; private meditation and public discourse; self-conscious to the precipice of solipsism yet inclusively polyphonic; postmodern in concept but Romantic in spirit. It is less a book of poetry than a complex: a virtual, almost accidental honeycomb where disparate forces converge and thrive without necessarily coalescing into a stable structure.
—Fred Muratori in American Book Review, reviewing THE LIGHT SANG AS IT LEFT YOUR EYES: OurAutobiography (Marsh Hawk Press)

But really.  I'm just a simple gal ... 

Next, to deal with Missy Scarlet who walked on me all night.  She wanted me to use this as my Author Photo. That's why, she mewled, she posed so prettily by books:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


And I not only love books but I love ... BOOKSTORES!!!!  And what a pleasure to discover a new fabulous bookstore--this morning, went to Napa Bookmine for the first time.  They're relatively new, though will soon celebrate their first-year anniversary.  Here's A WONDERFUL ARTICLE about them!  Wonderful but also educational about what it takes to create and sustain an indie bookstore nowadays... in this case, helps to get a 15,000-book donation from Dad-Another-Bookseller and an Indiegogo campaign...

And another great thing about them?  They'll soon stock my books!  And of course I took photos of my first visit there .... Heart those bookstores! Second photo down is of Elayna with my purchases; Elayna is one of the proprietors and very helpful!  And I really love their very inviting space!

Elayna is shown with the books I bought today, not likely to be my last purchase there (they have an affordable book trade/used books/frequent buyer program!).  I might as well provide my latest update on my Recently Bought Poetry Books or Books by Poets; the first five listed were purchased from Napa Bookmine:

NOTEBOOK OF A RETURN TO THE NATIVE LAND by Aime Cesaire, Translated and Edited by Clayton Eshleman and Annette Smith

INTERVAL by Kaia Sand

GREEN AND GRAY by Geoffrey G. O’Brien

THE OLD LIFE by Donald Hall

THE COMPLETE POEMS by Randall Jarrell

WEAR WHITE AND GRIEVE by Jennifer Diskin

MIDWINTER DAY by Bernadette Mayer

PORT LIGHT: A HAY(NA)KU COLLECTION by William Allegrezza (this book is forthcoming from Meritage Press; had to purchase an advance copy for review)

BOUGH BREAKS by Tamiko Beyer

147 MILLION ORPHANS (MMXI-MML) by Eileen R. Tabios (if I buy my own books I include on this list)

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A STORM OF FILIPINO POETS (edited by yours truly; if I buy my own books I include on this list)

Monday, August 18, 2014


The U.S., the U.K., Singapore.  Sze, Silliman, Montfort, Zhicheng-Minde (yep: all males. Wassup with dat?).  These are among those represented in this morning's additions to Galatea Resurrects' List of Available Review Copies.  Said list is getting long -- I hope you check it out and engage with some -- a poetry book languishing on a shelf is a pitiable sight indeed.

As for me, I do what I can -- here's a list (I had to prepare for another project) on Publications I've reviewed to date for Galatea Resurrects  As you can see, I have no taste.  I mean, no discernible taste in poetry preferences ...  When I've read every single poem ever writ, then and only then will I solidify my preferences ...

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I received a gift from a poet in Ohio, Robert Murphy.  Reading through I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH.... he shares:

I opened I Take Thee, English for My Beloved, my fingers first arriving, serendipitously, (out of the immigrant shipwreck of his many lives), to "In The Empty Throne Room" -- and later dipped here, there and elsewhere, and will continue to do so like a bee pausing at each flower as the bee's want, in the gathering of pollen and nectar, as if laying down kisses on newly found love -- not knowing what he might bring back to his hermit's hive, solitary worker that he has become, caring for the invisible queen -- so now in prepare of winter's sustain, alongside the clover, honeylocust, and buckwheat flowers; the lavender and thyme of his garden, your own heady honey now thickens and distills, not to say ferments in him -- rich and dark and of the herb and spice of heretofore unvisited lands, and of how in compare he feels pale and bodiless, but having tasted such and refreshed, suddenly feels that he might actually want to live again.

What an ideal response to a poet’s words, and it makes sense the source is a poet, too! And what I appreciate about Robert's response is how, among other things, it gives me a reason to pay attention to an individual poem.  In being so prolific over the years, the emphasis on individual poems is not something I’ve had a chance to relish much.  I went back to read “In The Empty Throne Room” because of his response.  I hadn’t read it since the book came out NINE years ago!  Thank you, Robert, for making me rediscover my own poem:

In The Empty Throne Room
after Day of the Bees by Thomas Sanchez

The bee keeper cannot speak
“but he is not crippled”

He bears the nose of a "lucky boxer"
who deflected major blows
so the nose is imprinted
but not broken
by the brief, devastating lives
of swung fists

My thighs open to unleash
the honey of the sea—
salty froth before the heated sky of your gaze

Don’t break me, please

The bee keeper cannot speak
but knows to bring the Queen home
Scraps of paper bear his scrawl:
Honey of Lavender, Honey of the Roses
of Abbe Senanque, Honey
of Mont Ventoux, Honey
of Wild Rosemary

We are always surrounded
by the centuries-old musk
of misspent passion from fervent pilgrims

Another man’s gold loops around
my neck whose terrain you have memorized
with bared teeth
You ripped off another man’s gold
to etch your brand around my wrists,
blue veins distended,               throbbing

“People cry at weddings
because they are jealous”

Christ wept when he washed the feet
of Mary Magdalene
for he knew the only parts of her body
he could touch, he could hold,
were Mary’s two feet
already like fishes swimming away,
borne in the river rushing from him
towards a fate of more salt—

“Always, there is the heaven before the hell”

My Love, be a bee keeper
and I shall be your most fertile Queen
At the end of the rain-slick streets of Paris
awaits a honeycomb exuding
a dusty scent of pollen, the sweet
smell of lavender, the pungent
crush of wild thyme                              rising
towards the dawning sky over Cathedral Sainte-Chapelle


Tyrone Williams has a lovely interesting essay on the "Oracular Redux" of Robert Murphy (and Ralph La Charity) over at the Poetry Foundation.  Check it out HERE!