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, June 26, 2019


I'm grateful to Neil Leadbeater for reviewing ONE TWO THREE: Selected Hay(na)ku Poems in My Haiku Pond. You can see entire review HERE but here's an excerpt:
The longest poem in the hay(na)ku section, The Ineffability of Mushrooms, is described as a novella-in-verse. The first thing to notice about this is the title. The word “ineffability” stands out from all the other words and makes us stop in our tracks to consider its meaning before moving on to read the text. In its greater sense, ineffability is concerned with ideas that cannot or should not be expressed in spoken words (or language in general), often being in the form of a taboo or incomprehensible term. This property is commonly associated with philosophy, aspects of existence, and similar concepts that are inherently “too great”, complex or abstract to be communicated adequately but here, on a different level, it is also used in the sense of something that causes so much emotion, especially pleasure, that it cannot be described. Contrary to this notion, much is actually described about the actual art of foraging for mushrooms by man and beast, as well as their preparation and storage but, perhaps in keeping with the earlier definition of the word, the name of the speaker in the poem is not given, he is only referred to as “F”. Earlier and later references to “smoke” become ominous by the time we reach the final section of the poem:“…Later in / London, I / received //each Autumn one / precious single / bag // of dried mushrooms / and memories / then // lingering like smoke. / The last / arrived // in 1939, shortly / after the / outbreak // of war.”

Thursday, June 20, 2019


The long-awaited  “Extreme Texts” feature at Jacket2 edited by brilliant scholar-poet Divya Victor is out! And I’m pleased to be a part through MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION’s exploration of kapwa, transcolonialism, cubism/abstract expressionism, mathematics, subjectivity, weariness, a Pacita Abad painting, the illusion of the random, and, always-and-forever-for/from-me: Poetry. Here's my essay.

I heartily recommend reading through the entire issue as some of the most innovative work—innovative thinking—in contemporary poetry is presented here. Here’s link to the editor’s Preface with Table of Contents on the right side: http://jacket2.org/feature/extreme-texts

I am particularly heartened (I hadn’t expected it) that my work is presented in the same issue as a “Philippines Dossier”—as Angelo V. Suarez calls it with his intro, “Philippine literary production under fascism.” I am reminded of a leading Filipino poet who’d recently contacted me about publishing a book here in the U.S.—because while they normally would be able to publish it in the Philippines, it includes anti-Dut poems and that would make it difficult for such a publisher. (Relatedly, there are implications to how such a Dossier ends up being in Jacket2, a non-Filipino pub except for how cyberspace encompasses global of course)

Much to read. Much to consider. Do join me in perusing.

[Thanks to Carol Dorf and Leny Strobel and the Babaylan Files for their help with my essay. And Tom Beckett--I continue to give credit to the inspiration of your book DIPSTICK/DIPTYCH.]

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


As dubbed by the local post office, I'm the Media Mail Queen for Saint Helena. Media Mail is an inexpensive way to mail books and other select matter and as a publisher, writer, and critic, I beat out a local cookbook author for the title. But I guess certain folks try to take advantage of Media Mail for its lower-cost shipping rates and, today, I decided to open one of my packages and introduce them to the Miniature Book. Apparently, someone had been looking at my packages and doubting that a book really was inside. Well, they oohed and aaahed over the sample tiny book, a 1904 edition of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. "Learn something new everyday," Francisco (featured below) said. Indeed. And I retain my crown: Media Mail Queen.

Miniature Books are sized up to 3"x3" in the U.S.; internationally, the threshold can rise to 4". You are invited to visit what I call my "Tiny Book Library", as well as a Miniature Book exhibit I curated for North Fork Arts Projects.

(Local postman Francisco!)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Killian’s synesthetic insertion of a scent into several photographs is also genius; it moves from the on-point evocativeness of the referenced scent viz

       “Low cloud of violet fog blurring the bed’s four corners, almost like patchouli,” 

to (oh such a brilliant leap)

       “and underneath the heavy scent, the deeper scent of a woman thinking.”
--from review of EKSTASIS by Kevin Killian and Peter Valente

Of course Kevin Killian’s brilliant output also moved me to write reviews on his works. I emphasize that I don’t assign myself reviews—and no one else does. I simply try to read widely and whatever moves me to write a review ends up being what I review from the books of both friends and strangers. Kevin’s work moved me more than the two times I was able to (find the time to) review him:

EKSTASIS by Kevin Killian and Peter Valente

Kevin also was generous enough to review me on Amazon—he reviewed AMNESIA—it's heartbreaking to read his words now as it reminds of his generosity. I’d actually told him he didn’t have to review my work as I’d just wanted to support Belladonna who’d auctioned off a Kevin Killian review for one of their fundraisers. But of course Kevin went ahead with the review…

I notice that my review of his Amazon collection ends up with the words, “Stay healthy, Kevin Killian! We want more books from you!” Ach.


Alice Brody is a New York City-based artist and she just created an artist's book based on my poem "Kintsukuroi." I'm always so grateful to see a visual manifestation of one of my poems, especially as it's a "miniature book" sized at 2.5" x 3.5".

Here's poem from WITNESS IN THE CONVEX MIRROR (TinFish, 2019), and the book it inspired from Alice below.

What's not known about this poem--well, until you read about it here--is that it's a poem that surfaced when I was proofreading an earlier poetry book, MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION (MDR). In fact, I'm so grateful to its publisher Dos Madres Press for allowing me to insert it in the back of the book at the very last minute. I wanted it in MDR because the poem wouldn't exist without MDR. Afterwards, it slipped itself into WITNESS IN THE CONVEX MIRROR by donning the beret of a couple of lines from John Ashbery's "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror." So it's got a past, this poem. But don't all poems?

from KINTSUKUROI by Eileen R. Tabios
Designed and Created by Alice Brody

What also is interesting is that when Alice gave me the book, it came with a card featuring a Tiffany vase in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY)'s collection -- look at the colors!

And here's the book shelved! On a bench within my Tiny Book Library:

Sunday, June 16, 2019


I’ve been starting, then deleting, then starting all night. The sorrow over Kevin Killian’s passing goes deep. When I moved from NY to San Francisco, he introduced himself and then so swiftly brought me into the Bay Area poetry community. My debt is immense. My gratitude is immense. My sorrow is immense. Perhaps a regret is how I never told him just how meaningful a role he played in encouraging me to continue with this poetry life. Because it’s hard. But when you find light like his only in (or through) such an arduous landscape, you don’t depart the landscape. In progress: an encyclopedia-length list poem (or list) entitled “Dear Kevin, Thank You For Not Laughing”—here’s one line:
“Thank you for not laughing when I thought bringing a naked poet onstage must require dimming the lights."
I can only return to the poem where I have a chance of being articulate. Outside the poem, my sorrow mostly makes me speechless. For now, R.I.P. and “Thank you for…”, Kevin Killian. Love is a source of difficulty

Wednesday, June 5, 2019


I'm pleased to share my first poem translated into French. Fanny Garin's translation of "PilipinZ" is featured in On peut se permettre put out in Belgium.  I'm grateful, and here it is:

Here's the poem's lovely company:

“PilipinZ" seems to be a popular poem—it’s the first one of my poems to be quoted in a novel, Reine Arcache Melvin’s wonderful The Betrayed which I recommend.

You can see the English poem online (earlier version) as the last poem in the Moria Locofo chap Pilipinx accessible through HERE


I love when my projects have a long finish. Texas-based artist Matt Manalo has created a fabulous painting after one of the lines in my "MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION" project:

Acrylic paint, spray paint, duct tape, rice bags
60 x 54 inches

There's also a book coming out by Leny Strobel emanating from other lines.  If you'd care to look at the project's inventory of 1,167 lines, they're available in its official monograph, MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION: A Poetry Generator (Dos Madres Press, 2018).

Saturday, June 1, 2019


I'm moved and blessed to receive from g emil reutter a review of WITNESS IN THE CONVEX MIRROR. You can see entire review at North of Oxford; here's excerpt below:
The use of two of Ashbery’s lines to begin new poems is bold and courageous. Tabios has never been a poet to conform, she shatters the mirror. Its shards of images and words, both beautiful and harsh, of the comfortable and uncomfortable glitter like diamonds spilled out upon the floor.

Unfortunate typo in last excerpted poem. Last two lines should be:

read you, and you professed your entire life

that you are a poet. Damnation: I am a poet!