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, November 18, 2015


physically, though experienced several times as a metaphor...

I was blessed to wake up to this review by Joey Madia/New Mystics Reviews on INVENT(ST)ORY.  You can see entire review HERE but here's an excerpt:

...works from Tabios’s early years, beginning with 1996, where, in the very first poem, I read the line “your finger trailing the ragged seam of my stretchmark.” Having read Tabios’s more political work, stemming from issues of Filipino nationalism and diaspora, the condition of the orphan, and gender transformation, among other elevated topics, I found this line a reminder that all art, no matter its purpose, must be personal and evocative. It must paint with words—words chosen with the utmost care and discernment.  

An early experimentation of Tabios’s that defines her relationship to the reader that I found fascinating is from 2003, when she published There, Where the Pages Would End, which is a series of “footnote poems.”  The idea was to have one of the poems at the bottom of an otherwise blank page so that the reader could create the story that would generate the footnote. I encourage the reader to do so. For writing teachers, or writers looking for exercises to sharpen their skills, this is powerful practice. In general, there is a considerable portion of Invent[st]ory that could be used to structure a series of workshops or to engage a class of writers with the endless possibilities for our craft that are left beyond the margins when we teach a static poem on the page and ask them to merely imitate.

I'm also taken by how, if there was one poem Joey said he'd recommend to someone who's never read me, it'd be the same poem I read this weekend at Eastwind, "What Can A Daughter Say?"--a poem I wrote by my father's deathbed and which took me nine years to be able to read it for the first time in public. It's actually a poem my long-time editor Tom Fink said is the best I've ever written, but which never got much play because of its length and the circumstances in which it was writ. I was heartened to see Joey's acknowledgment of it.  (HERE is Part I of the six-part poem and John Bloomberg-Rissman's engagement with the poem.)  Thank you Universe.

No comments:

Post a Comment