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 31, 2020


Well, a book I released but deliberately didn't try to market, INCULPATORY EVIDENCE nonetheless receives attention--and I can only be grateful.

Deep gratitude to Neil Leadbeater for a review at North of Oxford. You can see review HERE but here's an excerpt:

The subject matter in this volume goes wider than Covid 19: ‘Regret’ focusses on the environment, ‘Triggered’ on hunger, ‘Not My First Mask’ on xenophobia and racism and ‘What I Normally Would Not Buy’ on panic buying, consumerism and survival. This is not just physical survival but also survival from domestic abuse. 

Tabios uses food in this collection as a metaphor for survival. Food, in its various forms, appears in at least seven of the ten poems. We cannot survive without it. Witness the panic buying that took place as soon as news of the outbreak spread. Maslow was right when he included it within his hierarchy of basic human needs (although he seems to have overlooked toilet paper altogether).

As well, I and Rosalinda Ruiz Scarfuto--who'd also come out with her own Covid-19-related book (she survived the coronavirus)--engage in a discussion about our projects which is featured at Otoliths. You can see our conversation, "Evidence and Survival," at the link but here's an excerpt:

Ecopoetics is useless unless one is actually doing something about it in addition (perhaps) to writing about it. One recycles, one minimizes one’s footprint on earth, one supports initiatives that diminish our (ab)use of natural resources, one educates, and so on. As regards the latter, my poem “Regret” is an example by raising how, out of concern of viral transmission, the use of plastic bags has risen during the coronavirus and “plastic bags// adrift in the ocean require/ up to 20 years to decompose.”

Friday, October 30, 2020


I used to know (or know of) everyone who wrote hay(na)ku. That's no longer the case, which I love. And I love continuing to discover people I don't know who take up the form. Here are two examples: Vex Kaztro whose hay(na)ku showed up in an online course taken/monitored by a friend, and 9th grader (!) Leana Gyle M. Leviste whose poem showed up in an anthology (Scentsibility) in which I also appear. I share them below (click on images to enlarge):



I'm grateful to see these.

Thursday, October 29, 2020


I recently read F LETTER: NEW RUSSIAN FEMINIST POETRY, Editors Galina Rymbu, Eugene Ostashevsky, and Ainsley Morse (Isolarii, 2020). Here's a response:

I don't often feel honored by receiving books out of the blue, but I am in receiving this important anthology, F LETTER: NEW RUSSIAN FEMINIST POETRY. The book assembles feminist poets who have "palpably changed the Russia language over the last decade. Against the backdrop of state violence and oppression, this is electric dissent in pursuit of a democratic, egalitarian future. A lexicon for revolution worldwide." Thank you editors for trusting I would be receptive to your work, and I am.

There's a Foreword by Eileen Myles that's available online: https://isolarii.com The book's Introduction by Galina Rymbu is not online but is educational and evokes, for me, the activities of the feminist Philippine press Gantala--I mention that here since it's sometimes important to know that as one pushes at the margins that define the literary (or any) landscape, one is not alone. I recommend you go to the link and order. This is a unique and valuable introduction.

Last but not least, I am appreciating the powerful and, logically if sadly, devastating poems. The Myles introduction also features examples of some gorgeous lines.

Btw, it behooves moi to note the almost miniature size of this book. It's 2.75 x 4.25 inches. I'm going to shelve it in the Miniature Book Library though it's 0.25 inches over--because how this book doesn't follow the (measurement) rule is just form fitting content, is appropriate for what it is: a revulsion and a revolt.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020


 Prior to my prior post, some of you apparently didn't know I evacuated from the recent Glass Fire. Here's an essay I wrote about that near-death experience--essay is presented by Zocalo Public Square. Scariest experience ever in my life...

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


As an evacuee from California's Glass Fire wildfires, which is to say, as an evacuee—a state of being I am forced to explore, and I do resent being forced even as I recognize its generosity as a fertilizer-Muse—I've not been reading much. But Ugly Duckling Presse lifts me out of that lethargy with its recent releases of essay collections. First to be read is Aditi Machado's The End. Brilliant. And a testament as to why UDP is at the top of my favorite poetry presse. From Machado:


"'No precision that isn't imprecision' haunts my practice. The whole thing drips with time."


There’s more meat than what I excerpt here (e.g. on-point comparison between Rilke and Wright re endings and more). I recommend you check it out!


Friday, October 9, 2020


Grateful to Denise Low for interviewing me about my new short story collection PAGPAG. In the same feature, Neil Leadbeater provides a review, for which I'm also thankful. Here are excerpts below, but you can see both interview and review HERE.

        These stories (except for one I added to cohere the collection) were published from 1995-2000; they represent me as a newbie creative writer, and I do not write the way I wrote back then. But I decided to re-issue them as a book in protest against the cruel policies of current Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte as well as his complicity in rehabilitating the reputation of the family of Martial Law dictator Ferdinand Marcos. I thought it important to remind people that Martial Law occurred, was damaging, and offers a legacy wherein junior-Marcos-type politicians undeservedly thrive to the detriment of the Filipino people they are supposed to serve.

from Interview with Denise Low 

Throughout this collection, poverty is described in all its forms and not just in terms of a lack of money. It is also seen with reference to a lack of opportunity and, more importantly, a lack of being able to make one’s voice heard and a lack of being able to do anything about it. There are old men and women sleeping on hard surfaces, small farmers forced out of business, companies stripped of their assets and a displaced population from Calauit who end up dying of starvation....

There is plenty of variety too, ranging from the politically charged “Force Majeure” and “Redeeming Memory” to the politically correct “Homeland” and the comic “Pork” and “Tapey.” Ghosts are present in at least three of these stories, but there is a sense in which they haunt every one of them as Tabios confronts her past.

from review by Neil Leadbeater