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, April 27, 2016


'Twas fun today judging the Teen Poetry Slam at Napa Public Library. I was going to post photos of the teen participants but they're minors. So here's a photo below of my fellow judges, Napa-based poets Jeremy Benson, Glynda Velasco and Kathleen Patterson. I highlight Jeremy because he did something really cool to kick off the proceedings. He read from three poets he said he was reading when he was the age of the Slam participants, with a brief but effective preface to each: Sylvia Plath's "Cut" for the physicality of its apt dashes and how it taught him about the sound and not just meaning of words; Robert Bly's "Two Ways to Write a Poem" for noting how "Toward the end / The poem is just beginning to be who it is"; and Mary Oliver's "Wild, Wild" whose passion would be echoed by many of the teen poets' words. I highlight Jeremy, too, because the pliers at his waist implies (though I don't know) that he went to the poetry reading from some day job that requires those tools -- and such reminded me of Indran Amirthanayagam's advice to me as a young poet (and any other receptive poet): "If you want to be a poet, build a road" and Indran wasn't talking metaphorically but literally a road, which is to say, do something beyond reading/writing the verse. Always glad to be reminded of Poetry as a way of life.

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