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.

Friday, July 31, 2015


With much joy, I share that my manuscript AMNESIA: Somebody's Memoir has been accepted for publication by Black Radish Books for a 2016 release! I am delighted at joining the company of such fine innovative poets whose work I respect, love and enjoy!

For a sample poem along with responses to that poem by Marthe Reed, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Leny Strobel, Anne Gorrick, lars palm and Sheila Murphy, you can go to the lovely Otoliths journal edited by Mark Young for the following folio: "[6 x 1] + [1 x 6]."


I also thank Mark Young for accepting three of my "Mortality Asemics" to be part of the latest issue of Otoliths.  Go HERE to see fabulous work by Cecelia Chapman, Felino A. Soriano, Texas Fontanella, Heath Brougher, George McKim, Kyle Hemmings, Philip Byron Oakes, Jim Leftwich, Paul Summers, Annette Plasencia, Steve Dalachinsky, Karl Kempton, Vernon Frazer, Pete Spence, Eileen R. Tabios, Anna Ryan-Punch, Toby Fitch, Olivier Schopfer, Carlyle Baker, Lakey Comess, A. A. Kostas, John M. Bennett, Cheryl Penn, Joel Chace, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, Jack Galmitz, Ric Carfagna, Owen Vince, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Russell Bennetts & Rauan Klassnik, Marco Giovenale, David Greenslade, Chris Moran, Alyson Miller, Raymond Farr, John Pursch, Richard Kostelanetz, Michael Jacobson, hiromi suzuki, Tyler Pruett, Rosaire Appel, Lee Ballentine, Jessie Janeshek, Márton Koppány, Sal Randolph, Jim McCrary, John Lowther, Sabine Miller, Volodymyr Bilyk, Howie Good, John Martone, Tim Wright, Eric Hoffman, Bill Wolak, Jeff Harrison, David Adès, Kathup Tsering, Natsuko Hirata, Tim Gaze, Daniel Pilkington, sean burn, Patrick Williams, Rob Stuart, Amelia Dale, Spencer Selby, Tony Beyer, Cecelia Chapman & Jeff Crouch, Joseph Salvatore Aversano, Carol Stetser, Joe Balaz, Bobbi Lurie, Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, Ed Baker, Emma Corcoran, Sean Bolton, bruno neiva, Barnaby Smith, dan raphael, PT Davidson, Sheila E. Murphy, Cherie Hunter Day, A. Scott Britton, Marco Diotallevi, Willie Smith, Susan Connolly, SS Prasad, Michael Brandonisio, Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Mark Russell, Bob Heman, Ian Gibbins, J. D. Nelson, Lotto Thießen, Sam Langer, harry k stammer, & Katrinka Moore. 


For some reason, this was a particularly active week. Earlier in the week I finished and submitted a poetics essay. I edited a short-story collection and, this afternoon, submitted it to a publisher. I also worked hard on a new venture: a new journal that will present reviews and other engagements with works in all genres by Filipino authors. So, as they first said through disco, THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY!!

From Otoliths, here's some of my white hair, a cost of it all ... :

Thursday, July 30, 2015


So many review copies keep arriving for Galatea Resurrects. Here's a photo of just some of them -- and there's more at http://grarchives.blogspot.com . Please consider reviewing! Next deadline is Nov. 15. (And those of you with some review copies--please do try to make this next issue.)  Thanks!


The considerations over how to order a short story collection overlap with those over ordering a poetry collection. But one difference I’ve noticed is the tension between thematic content and literary quality.

Of course all of the stories are supposed to be good, otherwise they shouldn’t be part of the intended book. But in looking at a group of stories (or group of poems), one always feels that perhaps this particular one is better than another. And one always wants to lead with the best. ("Best", of course, is not just subjective but can be defined by other parameters besides quality, like its effectiveness as a manifestation of the book's overall theme...)

This morning, I moved a story that was originally fourth in my intended line-up to be the second story. I did so because I thought it offered a perspective on the theme (aftermath of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship) that contrasted more with the first story than did the story I originally intended to be second.

I also made the change because of length: the originally intended first and second short stories are both long; the new second story, by being short, inserts (I thought) some good breathing space. While this consideration may also rear itself up in ordering a poetry collection, there is a difference due to scale, thus, pace. Short stories are usually longer than poems—it seems to me that if a particular poem doesn’t work for a reader, the reader can move forward quickly to the next poem. For prose, if it doesn’t work, the reader might skip moving on to the next piece but instead just give up on the book or defer its reading to a later time (which has been my reading experience).

Here's what the dining table looked like this morning as I muttered these thoughts over the manuscript... each individual story was stapled together; for me, it helped to physically move the stories about as I considered their order for the book ... 

... as I turned my attention away from poetry to fiction…

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I'm looking for quotes that reveal the Filipin@ writer's relationship with English.  If you have any such sayings, whether by yourself or another Filipin@ writer, please share with me at galateaten at gmail dot com

Please also share where the saying comes from, e.g. a book.  Here are some examples of what I'm looking for:


If you're a Filipino writer and you're writing in English, you have to have a clear reason for the language that you're using ... I'm going to write in English: why? ... It really has to do with class ... For me to be part of the world of the enemy and yet to be attached to that world ... For the Filipino, English is a very literary language. The writers in English are always working with or working against the language we are given, the colonizer's language. People who live in a colonized world recognize you are living in a world of translation...

Ricardo M. de Ungria in “An English Apart” ...claim[es] that “[w]riting well in English is [his] best revenge against English,” De Ungria searches the various polemics that surround the English debate: 

But why do I want to take revenge at the English language? … Because it taught me, among other things, to think poorly of my native language and exclude this from the discourse of my deepest needs and joys and aspirations? … Because it foisted upon me a rich heritage of writing that I could never be a part of nor even closely relate to…? Because it left me inside a wonderful labyrinth of a symbolic world whose exquisite emblems and implements only heighten my sense of helplessness and futility at being understood…? Because it has opened me up to a fascinating world where I am condemned forever to live as a stranger? 

In 1898, the United States claimed it owned the Philippines after buying it for $20 million from Spain through the Treaty of Paris. The Filipinos—who had won and declared their independence from Spain—protested, and thus commenced the Philippine-American War, a war that has been called the United States’ “First Vietnam.” With their prowess on the military terrain, the U.S. defeated the Philippines. The U.S. solidified its colonial domination through the cultural and linguistic terrain with the popularization of English as the preferred language for education, administration, commerce and daily living. Thus, English is sometimes called by Filipinos to be “the borrowed tongue,” though enforced tongue would be more accurate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Another request regarding English-language Filipino literature in all genres.  If you are an author and/or reviewer who has a review of work published in print but not yet online, and you would like to have the review reprinted on line, please contact me and/or send me the review at galateaten at gmail dot com

It might also be a review that once was printed online but now that online publisher is defunct.

I'd like to include such reviews in a new journal I'm creating.

Eileen Tabios

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I'm looking for various Introductions, Prefaces and Afterwords to Filipino English-language works.  For example, a poetry collection with a prefatory essay by someone other than the author that discusses the work.  I'm interested in such Introductions to work in all genres, as long as its in English and by a Filipino author.

If you have such information, whether as an author or reader, please email me at galateaten at gmail dot com

I am interested in reprinting such Introductions in a new journal I'm concocting.  Thanks!

Eileen Tabios


Reading Michelle Tea's memoir, HOW TO GROW UP (PLUME / Penguin, 2015) is making me remember some of the things I did in my early 20s to survive.  Like, I graduated into the early '80s in New York City where, among other things, apartment rentals were (still are) scarce and expensive. My first post-college income was (if I recall correctly) about $8,400 a year. So, how to live?  I started getting the leases to apartments.  I would sign a lease for, say, a three-bedroom and then rent out the other two bedrooms at a price that would cover or nearly cover my one-third share of the rent. It could have been dangerous as I lived with the strangers who would come to share my abode but, thankfully, nothing along those lines happened ...

Like Michelle Tea, I loved the very first apartment I had that I didn't have to share with anyone.  And loathed having to give it up to go back to a rental share ...

I'm sometimes surprised I survived my early twenties.


I'm glad Michelle Tea survived to write this memoir.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Apparently, I’m “inconvenient” for not writing like a person of color should write. 

—a loaded statement that I won’t bother unpacking. I’m not here to accommodate the willful ignorance of one who would say that, and one who would not know what that means.  Do your own googling …

This incident, though, reminds me of a recent essay I wrote.  Here’s an excerpt:

I remember once spending a summer, shortly after moving from New York to San Francisco, with the wonderful Philip Lamantia. One of the (many) topics we discussed was the importance of “place”— Philip encouraged me to understand the place from where I’ve been positioned, whether by circumstance or by choice. This great poet said, “It’s important.”

But as a Filipino poet in the diaspora, place is an ideal and mostly has not been a concern or reference or consciousness in my poetry. My birth land, which I left when I was ten years old, is no longer the Philippines I remember. In the U.S., I first lived in Los Angeles where my status as an immigrant was consistently reflected back to me (ironically) by growing up in a mostly Japanese-American enclave; I then moved to New York for nearly 20 years, which is to say, I lived in both a melting pot and a suburban canyon where I felt my status keenly as an outsider; and I now live in Saint Helena, a picturesque town in Napa Valley where it’s usually tourist season. If I have a “place,” it seems to be cyberspace for transcending the limits of physical geography as well as the feelings of not belonging. Cyberspace, to me, is the biggest “book” that currently exists—and like most books it allows its reader to travel to far-off places. (It’s also why so many of my projects have occurred and occur in cyberspace.)

And what is cyberspace but a place of ideas? The realm of ideas—until recently, that’s been my “place.”

The punchline is missing from that excerpt, though hearkened by “until recently, that’s been my ‘place’.”  A hint, though, can be found in the title of this poetics essay:

“No Ideas But in Actions”


And now, may I present a photo of some of my books in a place of high concern to poets of color: Sweden. At bookshop in Smockadoll Förlag helmed by poet lars palm, far left corner of image ... 

Friday, July 24, 2015


There are so much wonder and wonderful insights in Allen Bramhall's latest over at Mandala Web (a project that's developing so beautifully): "Proust and James, Mindfully."

One of my first reactions was that it's what can emanate from deep reading, and that's joyful to behold.

In fact, I found in there the key to unlocking how I might develop the needed last story for The Dictator's Aftermath -- thank you, mindful Allen!

Anyway, do your day and yourself a favor and GO READ THIS.  Mindfulness--a ravishing, albeit at times ravished, thing ...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Prose and Poetry -- such different worlds. I've been working on essays and short stories lately -- such a different (for me, much slower) pace...  

The Dictator's Aftermath is a short story manuscript-in-progress. Did some editing tonight. 'Twas a collection of 14 stories. Eliminated four. Reorganized structure to include Afterword that would include a flawed story that I’d otherwise eliminate. Realized from new structure the need for one new short story. As recently as a year ago, I would have found this process painful. But, no, it’s just the territory…

One story was written “after" Plato’s “The Symposium." My story was written last century and I insert the link so I can return to Plato's tale which I've forgotten. I'm curious now as to what it has to do with my story about a protagonist's mother forever drunk on tapey (Filipino rice wine) to alleviate the boredom of counting dust motes in a sleepy village where nothing much happens except tsismis...

Some stories begin with epigraphs (which I may or may not keep).  Here are all of the epigraphs—whether they're retained or not, they reveal something about the nature of the collection:

 "It takes tenderness to perceive"
from Poem No. 37 by Jose Garcia Villa

"Who knows what happens to the prayers we so fervently believed in as children?"
from "PLANET WAVES" by Eric Gamalinda

"This is the moment in which I am living now  teleology more than denouement, neither exorcisms nor culmination."
from "IDENTIFICATIONS" by Clinton Palanca

The recitation of retreats
is written in the wagon ruts
that disappear into the brush toward the Salton Sea.
An ellipsis follows
where the nodding skald has lost the threat
in his tale of endless brutality.
The army regrouped. It was not a defeat.

The prisoners were led away.
The wind set up a howl of mourning.
On the stark blue slate of sky
frail cirrus inscribe
all history,
all old lies.
—from "West of Brawley" by Douglas Spangle

". . . Exile from the land of one's childhood can sometimes prove the most certain way home. . . . Lost . . . is the tactile immediacy of the past, the physical evidence of experience.  Gained is the costly freedom to remember, to turn place and time over and over in the imagination, all the while knowing that no one story can explain the past."
—John Burnham Schwartz

"our youth is where the only gods we ever created live"
Jonathan Carroll


Work. That's how I roll: work.  And so, onward...

Monday, July 20, 2015


(Achilles also enjoys libraries!)

Looking to randomize, um, spice up my poetry reading.  So would you like to trade poetry books?

If you go HERE to my poetry library and don't see your poetry book in the shelves, and would like to trade with one of mine, I'm happy to do so!  Just email me at galateaten at gmail dot com  

Any poetry collection in English (original or translated) is eligible!

Friday, July 17, 2015


It's a moment that never gets old--the first time you see your book come out. INVENT(ST)ORY is not officially released until Sept. 1 but I got some early releases. And it's a beautiful baby!  Big and bouncing at 8X10 dimensions!

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Andrew Brenza created a lovely poetry book, GOSSAMER LID, soon to be released!  Here's my (first draft) blurb for it!

Fragments, deliberate incompletions, abstract spaces, sound-based meanings, vizpo—such are not uncommon in contemporary poetry.  But Andrew Brenza brings something fresh to the terrain, and it is up in the air and even outer space.  “Scutum” sums up the strengths of this collection with radiance—“the light here / is a fine dizziness / to semblance a self on / to a towards of / another(’s) knowing” —and an attached visual element of literally connecting dots. With all of its poetic strengths, these poems also wax philosophically to show the richness of light and the various lifescapes desirous of illumination.

Meanwhile, I love indie bookstores for many reasons, but here's a favorite reason: for carrying my books!

Here's a photo taken by Leny Strobel when she visited Main Street Books in St. Helena:

(You can just see the spines of SUN STIGMATA and AGAINST MISANTHROPY)

And here's a photo I took when I visited Napa Bookmine in Napa!


Speaking of books, here's 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 Galatea Resurrects!  More info on that HERE

GOSSAMER LID, poems by Andrew Brenza (FABULOUS! in manuscript form; see above blurb)

URSULA OR UNIVERSITY, poetic memoir/meditation by Stephanie Young (coming late to this but glad I made it.  Outstanding. LinkedIn Poetry Recommentation #190) 

LEAVING LEAVING BEHIND BEHIND, poems/fictions by Inger Wold Lund (admirably deft)

*  NECROPOLI, poem by Nicholas Manning in VERSE, Edited by Brian Henry and Andrew Zawacki (stunning. moving. evocative)

*  BOUNTIFUL INSTRUCTIONS FOR ENLIGHTENMENT, poems and plays by Minal Hajratwala (a lush riot of language)

COOL DON’T LIVE HERE NO MORE: A LETTER TO SAN FRANCISCO, poems and vignettes by Tony Robles (evocative, moving, powerful)


MANDARIN PRIMER, poems by Rosmarie Waldrop

BAN EN BANLIEUE, hybrid poetry by Bhanu Kapil

SCHIZOPHRENE, poetry by Bhanu Kapil

*  SENTENCES AND RAIN, poems by Elaine Equi

*  ALKALI, poems by Craig Dworkin

*  SHADOW SHARP MARSH GRASS, poems by Helen Tartar

*  EARLY LINOLEUM, poems by Brenda Iijima

*   EUNUCHS, poems by Michael Thomas Taren


*  GEOGRAPHY OF TONGUES, poems by Shikha Malaviya

*  QUIET CITY, poems by Susa Alzenberg

*  GARMENTS AGAINST WOMEN, poems by Anne Boyer

*  THIS IS THE HOMELAND, poems by Mary Hickman

*  TRAFFICKE, poems by Susan Tichy

*  ACCORDING TO DISCRETION, collaborative poems by Allen Jih and Adam Vines

*  PIGEONS AND PEACE DOVES, poems by Matthew J. Hall

LOVE AFTER THE RIOTS, poems by Juan Felipe Herrera

TWO POEMS by Hugo Garcia Manriquez


*  BONE BOUQUET, Spring 2015, literary journal edited by Krystal Languell, Trina Burke, Amy MacLennan and Allison Layfield



E.E. CUMMINGS: A LIFE, biography by Susan Cheever

LIT: A MEMOIR by Mary Karr



FOR YOU MOM, FINALLY, memoir by Ruth Reichl

GOOD DOG. STAY, memoir by Anna Quindlen

MONSTRESS, short stories by Lysley Tenorio

CITY OF WOMEN, novel by David R. Gilham

SEA GLASS WINTER, novel by Joann Ross

A MOST INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE, novel by Rebecca Jennings

2013 Olema pinot noir Sonoma Coast
Pellet Estate Pinot Grigio
2007 Ebenezer shiraz
2013 Quail’s Gate “Optima” Okanagan, BC
2014 Inniskillin Ice Wine Okanagan, BC
2010 Tres Picos Borsao Garnacha