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.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


In 2012, Meritage Press (MP) published its first and last children's book, BEAUTIFUL EYES by Gayle Romasanta, Ramon Abad and translators Carmen and Pat Romasanta. MP's forte isn't children's literature but I recall looking at the submission and thinking that someone needs to publish, not just this particular book but, books like this, by which I mean Filipino children's literature. So, I did it -- because poetry taught me cultural activism. This morning, I learned on Facebook that it apparently took 10 years for Gayle to find a publisher ... and I was struck again by how random or unintended was the path for BEAUTIFUL EYES to be published by MP (as I said, children's literature is not my forte). It just shows the dearth of publishing opportunities for such literature. I was glad with MP's publishing results and delighted by, to quote Gayle, "the love it received from that community," as displayed in this collage of some college students' reactions to the book:

Well, flash forward to today and Gayle has launched her own dream of a publishing house, bridge + delta! You can now get BEAUTIFUL EYES through her outfit, and hopefully do so as part of a fundraiser for her first project entitled JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE, the first children's book about Larry Itliong, a leader in the farm workers' movement who led the 1965 Delano Grape Strike and co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez.

While not a poetry collection, for which MP is more known, BEAUTIFUL EYES will be one of MP's key achievements. It relates back to my original vision for Meritage Press -- that it presents a generative space for poetry (in all of its multiplicitous manifestations besides verse) to unfold, albeit curatorially masked by seeming mostly to be a publisher.

May bridge + delta have a long, fruitful life. And CONGRATULATIONS as well as GOOD LUCK with its first project, the very worthwhile LIFE OF LARRY ITLIONG:

Again, here is link to this worthwhile fundraising campaign for JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE.

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