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, July 27, 2020


I was blessed this weekend to be a guest poet on a webinar series put together by Dr. Jeannie Celestial and sponsored by Balay Kreative. The above image is from the lovely maganda magazine who generously hailed my presence on Instagram. At the webinar, I presented and encouraged the writing of hay(na)ku. I was so pleased--and awed--at how everyone seemed a natural in the form! Many in the audience apparently were teachers and so I don't know how much related to how they easily took up the form (certainly, it was a means for me, too, to encourage hay(na)ku as a teaching tool, having been used in classes and workshops from the elementary to the college levels).

Anyway, I wanted to share some of the hay(na)ku written during the series. The first is a "haybun" (combination of prose and a hay(na)ku) that I wrote on their prompt "My mountain is ___." I then transformed the meditation into a single hay(na)ku tercet:


My mountain may be where I’ve built a house: Galatea in St. Helena, California. “Galatea,” “St. Helena,” “California”—none of these names are accurate, for my mountain is really the land of its original people, the Wappo. And what the Wappo may have called my mountain that is not mine is unknown. But I find comfort in this not-knowing. Because my true mountain comes from the time when we humans form our gods—that time known as childhood. As a child, I grew up on a mountain in Baguio City, Philippines. I know that mountain no longer exists as it was snuffed out of its existence by pollution and overpopulation. Where once stood pine trees are now houses on top of each other to cover every inch of its once natural slope. Galatea, California, Baguio—it’s irrelevant now. All of my mountains share the same crumbling profile of Loss.

I turned my prose meditation into this hay(na)ku:

Become valleys
Lost in memory

I was not privy to the participants' meditations but I did see some of their mountain-related hay(na)ku and want to share this written by Vex Kaztro as it so pleased me:

My mountain does
not climb

Vex Kaztro is a natural at the form! Here's another one she wrote:

make me
a hardened vessel 

Another participant, Camille Santana, also wrote a mountain-related hay(na)ku:

Bare feet—
I am here 

I think they're all fabulous. May the hay(na)ku come to be as natural to them and their communities as breath itself.

It is a delight to share with all of them a copy of my bilingual (English/Spanish) hay(na)ku collection with translator Rebeka Lembo: ONE, TWO, THREE!

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