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, April 3, 2017

ARS POETICA (Version # 6,031,031)

A single-sitting poem--imperfect but a token for National Poetry Month:


suggested I publish no more
than one poetry book
every five years—

something about limited

something about how
each book can cannibal
-ize another book’s

My mother never ceased
relishing how I
as a two-year-old
refused dolls
to fold and Crayola
(in Philippine English
brand names become verbs)
so many pieces of paper—

I was meant to make books!
Mama said, clapping her hands
from sheer pleasure
with her daughter, ink
smudges on her cheeks
and yellow, polka-dotted
dress fringed with lace

2017 brings offers from
five different publishers
in three countries

I clap my hands from
sheer pleasure, rubbing
them greedily over
the possibilities

before foregoing two
to give time instead
to other authors
by publishing them

To “make” books
is not synonymous
with to “write” books

To be a reader
is to understand
Literature benefits
from more writers
as much as more


When I look at
darkened fingertips
it is difficult
to determine
the source of ink:

something I wrote?
something I read?

My former mentor
got it wrong:

Poetry is an ours, not my—

Never hold back

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