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.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


I found myself, over two days, watching both volumes of George Quasha’s “poetry is (Speaking Portraits)”.  Here’s link to Volume 1 and here’s Volume 2. ’Twas fascinating—I kept wanting to stop (very busy over here) and/or waiting for the boredom to come.  But ultimately I found it difficult to avert my gaze. The series’  basis includes close-ups of the poets’ faces as they discuss what “poetry is” … and I was fascinated to see how, in trying to articulate poetry, many gave a sense of being overcome by “poetry” such that many faces lapsed to, as they say, the mile-yard stare … except it’s inward.  Is that why I try to be nice to poets? Because I feel sorry for them, for us, all?  P.S.  A pleasant surprise to hear Robert Kelly say, among other things, “All a poet ever has to do besides being a very good person and feed, as Olson said, a lot of sugar cubes to a lot of horses...is to let language happen.” Focused on the pre-punchline.  Less than a handful of poets, I think, discussed goodness … and yet perhaps that’s what’s found — what’s staring back — at the end of … that mile-yard stare:

“Have you been a good person?"

With what I've taken away from the series so far (Volume 3 is in the works), Volume 2 concludes synchronistically with a church hymn from my childhood, hummed by Torben Ulrich.  I would not have expected such ... but take me to church!

For me, there could not have been a better video ending to what "poetry is" -- that sounding from this Danish artist, then his beautiful smile, then "That's it!":

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