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.

Sunday, September 9, 2018


We actually sang "Happy Birthday" to the hay(na)ku! This was not your typical poetry reading or book launch but a literary quinceanera!

Thank you. I am so grateful to those who helped plan and formed the Hay(na)ku Birthday Celebration Sept. 8 at the San Francisco Public Library – from the crowd of attendees to those who helped bring the food and books because I live out of town, the dancers, the sponsors, the readers…Salamat Abraham Ignacio, Edwin Lozada, emcee Abigail Licad, baker and mom-to-dancers Melinda Luisa de Jesus, dancers Malaya and Stinson, and readers listed below.

There were also special features to the event: Abe Ignacio’s bibingka (to die for!); Melinda Luisa de Jesus’ mirror hay(na)ku sculpture which intrigued the crowd; celebratory champagne Jacquesson & Fils Cuvee Perfection released in 1998 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Philippines’ Independence (it was still good! Thanks Tom!). Anyway, I have no words to articulate the fullness of my heart. Here were the readers – special thanks to the readers who came in for this event from Toronto, Colorado, and San Diego:

Stewart Shaw
Gabby Bautista and Michelle Bautista
Melinda Luisa de Jesus and Malaya Lanikai de Jesús-Tinsman 
Aileen Cassinetto and Paul Cassinetto
Jean Vengua 
Tess Crescini
deb y felio 
Cesar Polvorosa
Carol Dorf
Amy Pabalan
John Bloomberg-Rissman
Sheila Bare 
Glynda Velasco
Sean Labrador y Manzano

Photos below are of the event and two associated exhibitions at the San Francisco Library: a permanent installation of five framed hay(na)ku posters and a 19-Poem exhibition of hay(na)ku, both on the library's third floor. It was fun to see event participants and attendees do "Kodakan" (Filipino slang for taking photos) in front of exhibits, especially the five-year-old Gabby Bautista who is the youngest poet in the HAY(NA)KU 15 anthology.  To Kodakan then! Click on images to enlarge:

 Eileen Tabios gratefully greeting the crowd (grateful for turnout despite huge traffic
constraints due to the Climate Change protest march).

Abraham "Abe" Ignacio, Jr.,  Librarian for the SFPL Filipino-American Center

Eileen and Abe in front of the 19-Poem Hay(na)ku Exhibit

  Edwin Lozada, founder of the Philippine American Writers Association

Michelle Bautista reading the poem of 5-year-old Gabby Bautista, the youngest 
poet in HAY(NA)KU 15 anthology. Gabby is behind the podium as she decided 
she didn't like the poem she published in the anthology, but wrote a new one
for her mom to read as well. 

Gabby's newer and preferred hay(na)ku poem.

Scholar-Poet-Soprano-Baker Melinda Luisa de Jesus sports hair matching her cake.

 Sheila Bare

 Abigail Licad

 Edwin Lozada mans the book table, and sells books!

A marvelous surprise: Abe Ignacio's bibingka--yummy! 

Melinda Luisa de Jesus with her hay(na)ku mirror sculpture. 

The crowd engaging with Melinda's sculpture, including John Bloomberg-Rissman 
who traveled from San Diego to do reading. 

deb y felio traveled from Colorado to read at the event. 

Amy Pabalan doing her first San Francisco reading through the hay(na)ku! 

Stewart Shaw 

Sean Labrador y Manzano 

John Bloomberg-Rissman who traveled from San Diego to do reading

Stinson and Malaya by Abe Ignacio's bibingka (as soon as we finished 
the photograph, we all leapt for a piece!)

 Jacquesson & Fils Perfection Cuvee Special Edition for "Independance Des Philippines"

 Melinda Luisa de Jesus reads the mermaid poem written by 8-year-old Malaya, 
while Malaya holds up her drawing of a mermaid.

 Cesar Polvorosa, Jr. brought his family from Toronto to read at the event.

Carol Dorf

Michelle and Gabby Bautista in front of Melinda's hay(na)ku mirror sculpture.

Glynda Velasco

 Melinda Luisa de Jesus counsels her kids Stinson and Malaya 
who performed the "Binasuan" folk dance to open up the proceedings.

 5-year-old Gabby signs her first book!

9-year-old Malaya signs her first book ... with a cat!

Glynda Velasco by her exhibited poem.


Five Framed Hay(na)ku Posters
--poems by Eileen Tabios, Vince Gotera, Jean Vengua, Abigail Licad, and Aileen Ibardaloza-Cassinetto:

Jean Vengua

Eileen and Abe


Kodakan with Gabby:

5-year-old Gabby gazes at her exhibited poem.

Rhett Pascual "Kodakan" his daughter Gabby.

Thanks again to everyone. If you're interested in seeing more, do check HAY(NA)KU 15 anthology (there currently is a September pre-release Special with discounted price) -- info HERE!

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