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, September 7, 2015


Yesterday, I had a lunch meeting with my Black Radish Books editor Dana Teen Lomax!  Guess what we both shared (from the salad menu to your left) to start?

Anyway, Black Radish Books!  This wise collective will publish AMNESIA: Somebody's Memoir in Fall 2016 and, as part of their process,  one of their collective members -- poets who also are often editors, critics and scholars -- give close readings and editorial suggestions to their authors.  This may seem like it should be part of a  normal publishing process but it's not.  AMNESIA will be (if I've counted right) my 33rd poetry collection and will only be the 8th manuscript to benefit from the eyes of a third-party editor.  Poetry simply doesn't contain those types of resources. (Granted my experience is colored by preferring to be published by indie poetry presses but that's where I feel much of the interesting poetry developments occur.) So I'm very grateful to have an in-house editor and very grateful that it's Dana Teen Lomax.

Dana also was wise enough to couch her comments in the following way -- which I generally believe is how all editorial suggestions should be made in Poetry: "Here are all of my thoughts and you can use them or ignore them as you wish."

This point of view is critical because, sometimes, a typo is not a typo in poetry.  But what the smart author will do is pay attention to all of the editors' thoughts -- some can be ignored, some can be followed and some often (more often than not, in my experience) may actually surface a different thought that the author then may use to adjust hir text.  Again, thank you Dana!

I'm also happy to be published by Black Radish Books because it provides the ideal model for how I think a great indie press should operate. Here's an excerpt from their vision:

Our collective editorial focus is to publish and promote innovative books of poetry, prose, cross-genre and other hybrid writing. We strive to operate with a collective impetus, and all board members are encouraged to contribute various talents other than the literary to the publishing of the press. Our goal is to allow members, not the artistic conscience of a press, to dictate the aesthetic. As such, our bent is best described as eclectic with focus on the difficult and the surprising. 
We strongly support literary community collaboration and exchange, and we look for this spirit in our published and potential authors as well. All Black Radish Books authors are well-established creators of innovative writing and have been carefully selected based on quality, publication history, promotional/marketing ability (as established micro-presses, or as regular promoters of), and demonstrated commitment to actively supporting diverse aesthetics.

This hits much on the mark for me as a poet who looks for publishers: the aesthetic preference to poetry that expands poetry's landscape and the nerve to address/appreciate "the difficult," the social awareness to understand the importance of community (and politics therefrom), and, last but not least, the sophistication to appreciate the nutritional value of the black radish.  Truly, what's not to like?
And now that I'm hungry, I'm off to lunch.  Afterwards, an afternoon spent with my manuscript and my editor's very intelligent thoughts -- she goes from typos over double vs single spaces to the project's conceptual underpinnings. 

For this poet (and probably most poets), an editor is an all-too rare gift.  Thank you Dana and Black Radish Books which is helmed by equally fine poets Marthe Reed and Nicole Mauro! You can support their contributions to Poetry through SPD--they offer many fine reads!

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