Wednesday, June 30, 2004

From the series "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

My Meritage Press Fiscal Year ends on June 30. So I spent the entire day -- excusez-Moi: make that, ENTIRE FRIGGIN' DAY! -- figuring out the tax form that would calculate the amount of Use Taxes (or sales taxes) I owe the city of San Francisco, the county of San Franciso and the state of California. The entire day -- so that I can determine that I owe said parties a total of....$2.00.


But of course Moi hadda be the one to spend all day figuring this all out. Because what would be the point of telling the accountant to be the one to do said figuring out when his rates probably would exceed TWO BUCKS by a factor of a hundred or so?

And don't even get me started on the implications of my $2.00 Use Tax Bill -- what that implies about my revenues as a poetry publisher. Granted, most of my sales taxes are paid by distributors like Small Press Distribution, or not yet charged on internet sellers like Amazon.com. But, still: I, as publisher, sell direct, too.

Just ... don't get Moi started.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Sex can be about land tenure, see
— that’s what makes the beach-front sexy,
--from "Staggered" by David Larsen

The Art of the Book inevitably -- or, certainly as explored by the artists at the New Langton Arts show tonight (curated by Summi Kaipa) -- addresses (critiques) the publishing infrastructure that, while seeking to widen distribution also reduces what it seeks to distribute. I'm looking over the gems I picked up at New Langton, including this one-page manifesto disseminated by David Larsen on "behalf of Dogma '01". It begins:

We in the last quarter of 2001 affirm the following guidelines for the production of literature, patterned upont he manifesto of the Dogme95 filmmakers. The Dogme95 Manifesto declared itself to be a "VOW OF CHASTITY" from the coercive representational techniques of mass-market cinema (sets, lighting, musical soundtracks, etc.); Dogma '01 goes even further, rejecting the no less coercive marketing and distribution apparatus which Dogme95 filmmakers seem content to have deployed on their behalf. Dogma '01 rejects the division of labor between writer and publisher that prevaisl int he literary market-place, and therefore its productions are unfit for all but the most informal modes of distribution (barter, give-aways, and low-volume sales). These rules are to ensure that they remain so:

1. Dogma '01 is unalienated labor. Author and publisher will ideally be the same person. If not, they are to share the labor and cost of printing. Dogma '01 productions are to be assembled and bound by hand. No sending books out to be Docu-teched, and no perfect binding....

And the manifesto goes on. And, really, we are talking about the kind of art that David suggests might burn ever-brighter away from the light of a publicity machine's glare....Yadda!

Anyway, got these gems tonight:

KEPT BACK, ATUM BOM, and FREAKY IF YOU GOT THIS FAR by David Larsen (proudly self-published);

NO GUNS, NO DURIAN by Susan Schultz (Tinfish Press, 2003);

ALL THIS WILL BECOME DUST IN JUST 3 MINUTES by Adam Degraff (We Have A Fax Machine, 2003 -- shades of David);

THE BOY WHO COULD FLY by Mary Burger (Second Story Books, 2002);

PHYSICS, with text by Lisa Asagi and art by Gaye Chan (Tinfish Press, 2001); and

CARVED WATER, poems by Zhang Er, trans. by Bob Holman (Tinfish Press, 2003).


ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Did you have mentors?
GERALD STERN: I had absolutely no mentors. I came from nowhere.

Moi publisher Marsh Hawk Press is experiencing what is known by other presses who've conducted poetry contests: there are so many more worthy than the one to be designated as "winner" (particularly when the designation is constrained by money -- the publisher's budget -- rather than the substance of what are submitted).

I wasn't involved in Marsh Hawk Press' contest but their latest blog post suggests that a decision will be announced soon. And don't forget about next year's contest to be judged by Gerald Stern.


Enchanting Stephanie offers a report of this past weekend's Bay Area Poetry Marathon, thereby offering me a link to Dodie Bellamy's report on poetry marathons and explaining why, despite moi best efforts, Moi totally sucks at being a poetry diva. Here's the illuminating (for moi anyway) excerpt:

Then there was the thorny question of the "afternoon poets" versus the "evening poets." In the evenings, de la Perriere and Lease programmed Rae Armantrout, Leslie Scalapino, Lyn Hejinian, Michael Palmer, Robert Hass—the heavyweights. Afternoon readers, with a few exceptions, tend to be younger poets. I heard more than one poet grumble, "I'm just an afternoon reader."

And to think your lovely (to quote Stephanie) Chatelaine had requested a late afternoon slot due to the commute time between Galatea's mountain and Oakland. But then again, this issue of diva-dom in poetry is puwetics*, not Poetry.

* puwet is Tagalog for ass...


at GLORIOUS BOOK ARTS CELEBRATION and benefit/fundraiser for the worthy New Langton Arts!

from the series "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

To interpose my flesh between
insensate rage &
               the trembling,         well-ordered spheres.

be the "skin of the world".
--from "The Loba in Brooklyn" by Diane di Prima

They're not just words, you see. Poems, that is. So the Chatelaine often finds herself rescuing them from various "recycling" bins. Like, there's a local coffeeshop that's assigned two of its shelves for books -- you can, as the sign says, "take as many as you wish, leave one." This past week, she took home from those shelves:

Loba by Diane di Prima (had read this before but didn't have my own copy)
The Norton Anthology Introduction to Poetry (shortly after college graduation, I gave my copy of this to a guy I briefly dated because he expressed an interest in Poetry -- in response to moi gift, he got this funny look on his face ... anyway ...)

So, Moi dunno: the Chatelaine just doesn't like the idea of poems languishing for a Home. Loba was an interesting find -- it was inscribed by di Prima "with blessings" to someone whose name I shall not diplomatically name. Do you ever wonder about the relationship between reader and author when you pick up inscribed books at, say, used bookstores? And this was left on the coffeeshop's shelves for no monetary return so it's not like the recipient of the book was deaccessioning the book to, say, raise some funds. Maybe she just didn't have room anymore for books of poetry? Eh ... poignant speculation...

Anyway, all this is also to say, the Chatelaine avoids reselling poetry books. So far, she's been lucky in not having to deaccession from her poetry library. And that is one advantage living on a mountain has over living in apartments as I did for nearly 20 years in Manhattan: storage. But of course, there's a long (and logical) history of poets being forced to sell their books. I'm currently reading I PROMISE TO BE GOOD: The Letters of Arthur Rimbaud (ed. Wyatt Mason); here's an excerpt from one letter to Georges Izambard (July 12, 1871):

Cher Monsieur,

I need to ask you something: an enormous debt -- to a bookstore -- has fallen upon me, and I don't have a dime to my name. I have to sell back my books. You must remember that in September of 1870, having come -- for me -- to try to soften my mother's hardened heart, you brought, upon my recommendation, [several books, five or six, that in August I had brought to you, for you.]

So: do you still have Banville's Florise and Exiles? Given I must sell back my books to the bookstore, it would help me to get these two back: I have some other books of his here; with yours, they would make up a small collection, and collections sell better than books by themselves.

Do you have Les Couleuvres? I would be able to sell this as new. -- Did you hold onto Nuits persanes? An appealing title even second-hand. Do you still have the Pontmartin? There are still people around here who would buy his prose. -- What about Les Glaneuses? Ardennais schoolchildren will spend three francs to fiddle in his blue skies. I would be able to convince my crocodile that the purchase of this collection would bring considerable benefits. I'd be able to put the best face on the least book. The audacity of all this second-hand shenanigans is wearying.

If you knew the extent to which my debt of 35 fr. 25 c. was driving my mother to her worst, you wouldn't hesitate to get those books to me. You would send the bundle care of M. Deverriere, 95 sous les Allees, which I would be waiting for. I will pay back your postage, and I would be overflowing with gratitude!

Were there any other volumes that would be out of place in the library of a professor with which you felt like parting, feel free. But hurry, please, I'm under the gun.

Cordially, and with thanks in advance.
A. Rimbaud

Monday, June 28, 2004


My Romance's collaging of poetry, historical data, symbolic analysis of art, and formal evaluation itself embodies a critique of reductiveness and a championing of pluralism with a critical edge.
--Thomas Fink on MY ROMANCE

After World War II , surplus American G.I. jeeps were converted into public utility vehicles to meet the need for more commuter transport in the Philippines....As one popular writer puts it: "The Jeepney is a mobile assemblage of signs, and symbols, decorative motifs and fetishes, rattling along the streets of Metro Manila and other towns throughout the archipelago with a 'Whoopie' that would astonish the designers of the Original Willys' Jeep." // Nowhere else in the World, except for the Philippines, can Jeepneys be found. It is uniquely Filipino in its approach to the mass transit problem. Nothing symbolizes Filipino ingenuity, innovativeness, adaptability, and grit more than this gutsy, cocky, colorful vehicle.
--from Gerard's Jeepney Collection

Grateful to see the current issue of MELUS, guest-edited by Rocio Davis. Here's an excerpt from Rocio's Introduction and, beneath said excerpt, Thomas Fink's review of my art essay/poetry book MY ROMANCE (particularly gratified at Tom's attention as he is, as Noah points out, a poet, painter and critic).

(Jean and Leny -- check out this issue if you haven't already; you're both mentioned in moi essay.)

Excerpts from Rocio Davis INTRODUCTION relating to poetics:

"Notwithstanding the importance of the question of the Filipino/a American's ambivalence with regard to their position in the U.S., we need to consider that in their work these writers function as artists [here, Moi appreciates Davis' italicized emphasis] who also negotiate specific aesthetic, linguistic, generic, and formal codes that necessarily intersect with their thematic concerns....

"Eileen Tabios provides a poet's reflection on creative process and inspiration. She explains her writing strategy, an experience that is lyric -- and based on the subjective self -- which is similar to the Romantic process of a poem. Interestingly, though Tabios is conscious of her position as a Filipina American, and her work often engages aspects of Filipino/a history and culture, she argues that her poetry cannot, and should not, be bound or circumbscribed by any one national history or culture, that the act of poetic creation is somehow universal and all embracing. Recognizing that the question of poetics is an aesthetic concern, she nonetheless believes that Filipino/a American poets are currently rising to the challenge of addressing their culture as well as the inherent narrative in a manner that expands the ongoing development of new poetic forms.

"A specific example of a Filipina American response to this challenge is Catalina Cariaga's "poetics of collage," her innovative language-oriented poetry, which Zhou Xiaojing argues resists being defined only by ethnicity. Cariaga seeks political agency through her radically experiemental use of language and form. Reading Cariaga in the context of postmodernism and in conjunction with other language-oriented innovative Asian American writers such as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Myung Mi Kim, and John Yau, Zhou argues that the poet "insists on making language and the poetic form respond to the impetus of history and to the challenges of the present, while giving voice to what has been erased, repressed, or forgotten" by exploring various possibilities of language and developing a poetics of hybridity through collage juxtaposition. In so doing, her poetry not only calls into question claims of stable, pure, ethnic or cultural identities, but also contaminates the official language and conventional modes of narrative or contemplation. This revisionary poetics of collage necessarily opens up the space for multiple voices and language to enable disjunctive histories....

"The politicized nature of specific forms of language is made evident in Gladys Nubla's essay on Taglish and Pidgin in narratives by [Jessica] Hagedorn and R. Zamora Linmark. She argues that the contexts and identities represented in these texts are created specifically through the articulation of these creole languages which are intimately linked to marginalized identities, specifically sexualized and racialized identities. If, as Gonzalez and Campomanes posit, it is "the American legacy of English that figures, paradoxically as both the deterrent and the medium of a 'Filipino imagination' seeking to break out of colonial fetters", the highly imaginative and subversive use of these expressive but officially rejected forms of speech opens up a critical space for writers, as well as the different protagonists of hte texts. By allowing the speakers to liberate themselves from imposed narratives, and forms of narrative, they creatively challenge their historical and linguistic contexts....Using Lefebre's concept of the "third space" and Glissant's theory of Relation, Nubla elaborates on how both "substandard" languages effectively challenge the effects of neocolonialism and cultural hegemony, and argues that their use also contests the idea of "common culture" as articulated by discourses on American multiculturalism and nationalism....

"When Carlos Bulosan wrote in the poem 'All the Living Fear': 'You did not give America to me, and never will,' he symbolically deploys the Filipino/a American literary strategy: to claim its position in American letters because 'it is significant that I found you in America.' Filipino/a American writing has come a long way, a trajectory that has involved negotiating markers of subjectivity and creative production in order to forge a Janus-faced tradition that contemplates both the forms and stories of the past and new materializations of selfhood and representation. Noel Abubo Mateo wittily describes the process in these terms:

you go again
must be in the blood
turning anything on wheels into a jeepney
signifying through jeepneyfying
jeepneyfying to signify"


Eileen Tabios, My Romance. Giraffe Books, 160 pages
by Thomas Fink

In My Romance, which juxtaposes poetry and visual art writings, Eileen Tabios carefully addresses political ramifications of art-making/reception and aesthetic issues. For example, she praises political painter Susan Bee for incorporating "sometimes dysfunctional fragments" of "a troubled world" in order to unify them "through color as well as the surface and gesture of her brushstrokes."

Form has political relevance in Tabios's poetics. The poem "Babaylan" speaks of "Filipina poets colonizing English." Seeking "to avoid narrative because it had facilitated the use of English to consolidate American colonialism in the Philippines"-- her native land -- as "the language for education, commerce, and politics," she favors "abstract" collagistic construction "to subvert meaning." A powerful erotic charge, tinged with surrealism, pervades many poems: "I am swooning into you with eyes of open stones." Poems like "The Color of a Scratch on Metal" and "Perhaps This Second Drift" abound with plural meanings, juxtaposing erotic adventure, aesthetic speculation, and awareness of power relations. Perspective is ever questioned: "Who is subject and who is observer?/ . . . . What if the observer is the controlling agent?"

Amid varieties of "romance," the poet/critic is "learning not to yearn for amnesia." Thus, she foregrounds postcolonial emphases on the relation of language, economics, eros, and "othering":

I do know English and therefore, when hungry, can ask for more
than minimum wage, pointing repeatedly at my mouth and yours.

Such a gesture can only mean what it means: I do not want to
remain hungry and I am looking at your mouth.

I do know English and still will not ask permission. ("I Do")

Of the artists discussed in My Romance, almost a third are Filipino, including noted young artists Stephanie Syjuco and Paul Pfeiffer. Tabios concisely elucidates the history of Spanish and U.S. colonization of the Philippines, post-Marcos corruption, and the Filipino diaspora, and this strengthens her interpretations of symbolic aspects of color. In Carlos Villa's work, gray "references how Filipinos are often faced with the impossible task of choosing between . . . the Philippines or the U.S." "The sanded sections, grids, and grid-ruptures activate the work's flat plane to offer the impression of a multi-layered space," "an active field" in which "spiritual" "presence" moves between "layers." Within the gray, "sanded sections generate a paler version of . . . indigenous Filipino brown," a tan signifying "evolution of-- and dilution of indigenous Filipino culture as a result of immigration, intermarriage, cultural amnesia and/or" globalization. In analyzing Santiago Bose's "Mondrian Squared," Tabios indicates how the artist "snares the Mondrian colors (the colors of the U.S. flag) into gray baskets representing the indigenous or non-colonized Filipino."

Tabios writes compellingly, as well, on artists who explore perception, spirituality, and psychology. In "Teacher," My Romance's cover painting, Max Gimblett, achieves a fissure-spanning "wholeness" when "the circle on the right panel of the diptych extends into the left panel so that it includes within its span the crack between the diptych's two panels" and imitates natural and psychic "fractures." "The circle allows for the break even as it doesn't break," and, by "crowd[ing] the edge of the canvas," it even points "beyond the edges of the painting" to incorporate "the world within the painting." She affirms "the juxtaposition of motion (the moving circle) and stillness (the 'Z' mark)" as "acceptance" of possibilities without the necessity of a reductive "choice." Indeed, My Romance's collaging of poetry, historical data, symbolic analysis of art, and formal evaluation itself embodies a critique of reductiveness and a championing of pluralism with a critical edge.

Sunday, June 27, 2004


The light is plucked
the stone is crushed
the river begins to run through the shadow
alien suns ignite a lightness
and no one knows how you came to be there
but wherever you are
in whatever you've been tied
you know only this
you must
--from POKER by Tomaz Salamun (trans. Joshua Beckman and author)

This excerpt below from Kevin Brennan's Parts Unknown has been haunting me since I finished the novel a few weeks back; it's from the point of view of one of those left behind by the main protagonist, Bill, who abandoned his family and later became a famous photographer. Given Bill's abandonment, the relative wanted to detest Bill and, at the gallery where she stumbled across Bill's work, the relative thinks, "his name came out of the wall at me, and I had to sit for a while and justify hating the work." But, after looking closely at Bill's photographs, the relative is forced to concede:

"There was one shot that I kept letting my eyes go back to, of a tall, lonely palm tree gravid with dead fronds, rising out of what looked like nothing but a gray rock pile. It was surrounded by hostile mountain angles and natural debris, and it looked doomed. Whether there was anything intentional about the metaphor or not, I had no idea, but I kept staring and appending my own anxieties to it, and I came to the conclusion, by myself in that empty white room, that it was a blessing that this thing had come to exist." (148)

And I think that passage moves me because one reason the Chatelaine lives behind an Iron Gate is that...she's done a lot of shit in order to be able to write some poems. And she's often wondered about those experiences -- have the poems been worth it? And the passage reminds her that her answer to that question would be different from an answer by her poems' readers. When a reader responds positively to one of her poems, she momentarily thinks Yes, it was worth it. But it's only a moment, and then she reverts back to wondering whether the poems are worth certain aspects of her herstory.

Fortunately for her peace of mind, an epiphany on this issue came out of reading this evening CP Cavafy's I've Gazed So Much (trans. George Economou, Stop Press, London) which she'd picked up partly because the poems are presented with illustrations through Dieter Hall's linoleum prints in a really fine poetry/art collaboration. And said epiphany comes from Cavafy's poem "Dangerous Matters" which includes the lines:

"Strengthened by meditation and study,
I will not fear my passions like a coward.
I will give over my body to pleasures,
to the delights of which I dream,
to the most daring of erotic desires,
to the lustful urgings of my blood, without
a single fear, because when I want --
and I'll have the will, strengthened
as I'll be by meditation and study --
in moments of crisis I will regain
my spirit as it was before, ascetic."


...and say this is full
let music happen for we shall
bring forward our impure love
--from "Variations On Half A Line By Mandelstam" by Richard Lopez

Oh yes yes yes! I so agree with Crag Hill's recommendation of Richard' Lopez's Grapevine -- a very enjoyable, winning read. Definitely second Crag's encouragement to order this chaplet:

24th street irregular press
1008 24th street
sacramento, CA 95816

And thanks, Tom, for sharing your memories of David Levi Strauss (see moi post below) -- talk about less than six degrees of separation. Interesting how the internet makes of us all a "global village" conversation...

As I assume Strauss' book with the penciled-in non-ISBN is no longer available, here's another lovely poem from it:


the Tune grinds itself
in measured indifference to all debts --
                                             that is, attachments.

a draft spun from the rarest metal
               sleek and smooth
passes freely through brittle skull bone.

the Woodcutter talks to himself
               after the trees are gone--
                                          and that is freedom to act.


It must be difficult to watch me
And I know you do (surreptitiously)

It must be difficult to witness
My happiness despite your bitter mouth

But then this isn't me talking
Just as it wasn't you writing out your enmity

Here on the other side of the Iron
Gate that protects me from you

The sun kisses me kissing the sun
For "the poet is really a thief of fire"

*Quote from Arthur Rimbaud's May 15, 1871 letter to Paul Demeny


See (pun intended), I know of David Levi Strauss as primarily an art critic. So when I stumbled across a book of poetry by him at a local bookstore, I picked it up with much curiosity.

And, oh, it was really moving for the Chatelaine to have this petite book cupped within her palms. The poems cried out -- yes, we've been fallow for so long! And the Chatelaine began crooning over:

Manoeuvres: Poems 1977-1979
by David Levi Strauss
Aleph Press/Eidolon Editions (San Francisco)
Year of Publication: 1980
Price: $3.25

The price itself made the cashier (a poetry lover, too) croon -- "Sometimes, you come across these books in the shelf that've been there for a while and we don't even know it!"

And, yes, the bookstore owners didn't know of this book because it's not in their computerized system (when the cashier looked it up) because there was no ISBN number. In fact, when you turn to the copyright page, there is a line written in pencil:


It was all so moving. The book was designed by Strauss and a Carl Grundberg. It was noted as the second book to come out of Aleph Press; there are too many references to Aleph Press via Google so I don't know anything about this press -- whether it still exists. I certainly have the idea that it was a teensy press, if only from the penciled reference to the ISBN. It's all so moving -- the kind of care that crafted this book (and it is, by the way, superbly designed) while yet disregarding the tedious mundane details of ISBN et al ... just get the poems out there via a book!

Anyway, the implications -- the kind of history that ended up with this book lying behind the more boldly- and glossily-produced books nowadays -- was moving, a shared moment between cashier and customer about the lives of poems.

It's all so moving now -- the little poems now yawning as they dust themselves off to nip at the Chatelaine's fingers as she croons at them....fingers that lovingly trace each poem through to the book's last poem, "As I Leave The Theater," which speaks for oh-so-many poems when it says:

must continue. reasons for
               itself must continue
               and let itself

want to fill a room.
want to be brilliant and dashing
                              fill a room
with light.

want to wear
                                             a rose
                                             on each ear
                                             in the dark.

Saturday, June 26, 2004


Fabulous time at the Bay Area Poetry Marathon today -- thanks to co-curators Joseph Lease and Donna de la Perriere for setting this up. In addition to poems, amongst other highlights (such as seeing/listening to Stephanie, sitting next to kari and discussing knitting with Juliana) was catching up with fellow reader Chris Nealon, whose collection The Joyous Age (Black Square Editions, 2004) was released just three weeks ago! Picked up a copy, of course, for gems like this:

Kept Boy
by Chris Nealon

I think a color photograph is one of the hardest things a man can submit to.

I think those two hearts were never so delicately rendered.

Considering the tumult in the streets, we'll be lucky if the flowers arrive by morning.

Sensation modified by higher harmony is always a grand idea, but no one has yet figured out the right proportions.

Stop me if I'm doing it too hard.

It's unclear how to measure non-revolutionary time, in pauses, divagations, or in retrospect.

My mother would have found this scene entirely charming.

Whatever successes painting and the plastic arts have had, there's nothing like a hot bath and shaving cream to bring your thinking round to better days.

Can I offer you another?

Never will such an evening of dance and cataclysm be so fondly recalled as tonight.

Like chess itself, the task of polishing the pawns is mysteriously boundless.

Several of our sharpest commentators have run aground on their own figuration, likening our champagne to the sound of gunshots.

This silk is dazzling.

Whatever you say, coach.


Now, all that made for a good day. But then I returned home to snailmail that includes an advance copy of Thomas Fink's new collection, AFTER TAXES (Marsh Hawk Press, Fall 2004). In it, a poem *for Eileen Tabios* -- a good day, indeed, with this:

by Thomas Fink

to climb typhoon shell humming

a genesis-flavored

purgative or honeymood immolation.
Flag rant, percussive against convex
glaucoma alibi. Charisma

Your sackful of magpie-
spangled chaos experiments intimately on
the aorta chariot.

scoliosis in palsied bloomers
may revolt, as bloodshot shortcuts
are coasting on
margarine to a queen-size
shortfall. Why not, then, block
grants of vicar

that apostatizes retired geometry
oozing sable? If a mahogany
titleholder releases one
of a buffet buffeting
the trepidation frontier's jigzag tendril
keyhole, we can
into a chandelier chameleon
hatching Jacuzzi pardon for insolvent
gargoyles, cufflink-anchored
saloon cherries.


your grapes
get noble rot
--Mark Young

Mark sends moi an amusing hay(na)ku; hope you don't mind I shared, Mark. "Noble rot" is a fungus (botrytis) that punctures grapes and causes them to become raisiny -- a key part, for instance, in the process of making d'Yquem, that vaunted "nectar of the gods." And this reminds me:

My primary wine strategist for Galatea's Charles d'Amboise's Wine Cellar sends me this Bordeaux Report below. Let Moi cut to chase and say: go after the 2001 Les Forts de Latour. This is wine from Latour that does not make Grand Vin. But I've had it and it is Latour. It smells like it. It tastes like it. It is only slightly less concentrated than the Grand Vin. It is $31.99 at Wine Exchange, last I checked. Also K&L wines at klwines.com, and Wine Club or Premier Cru. RUN, DO NOT WALK, TO GET IT.

The 2003 Bordeaux First Growths were released last week on futures. Because of their pricing due to world-wide demand, it triggers a revised buying strategy for all Bordeaux vintages since 1990. One of the most significant factors in the 2003 pricing is the fact that the dollar has declined in value about 40% since the 2000 Bordeauxs were sold. Another significant factor is the large disparity in pricing among the more significant sellers of Bordeaux futures. For example, different stores were selling First Growth Bordeaux at prices varying as much as $40 a bottle. What's more, unless you hit the bid on the low priced case of wine immediately, you can lose out on reserving that wine at the lowest possible cost.

2003 was a variable year for quality. The chateaux that did well made legendary wines. The chateaux that could not handle the heat well did not make great wine. This has compounded the problem because most Bordeaux enthusiasts are focused on buying only those wines that made legendary wines. This was the strategy we employed as well.

We already bought and recommended last time what seems to be the best value wine of the vintage, the Rauzan Despagne. As for super seconds, we purchased Calon Segur (Parker 94-97), Cos D'Estournel (95-98), Pavie (96-100) and Les Forts de Latour (91-93). Parker said the Les Forts de Latour is the best since 1982. On First Growths we bought Lafite (98-100), Latour (98-100), Haut Brion (95-98), Mouton (95-98) and Margaux (96-100). We have not bought Ausone as it may be about $500 a bottle and Cheval Blanc because it was not highly rated.

So how does this affect the other vintages? Here's how. 2000 was a uniformly great vintage and the dollar was 40% higher. Many stores still have 2000s in stock at prices based on the higher dollar. These wines are much better values than the 2003s and in most cases may be better wines. Rather than buy many 2003 super seconds we instead bought many 2000 super seconds at low prices. These would include Montrose, Pape Clement, Pavie Macquin, Clos St. Martin and Leoville Las Cases (all 96 and above).

More importantly, 2001, a generally very good vintage has been overlooked in all the hubbub surrounding the 2000 and 2003. Not any more. Parker just upgraded yesterday the 2001s and the buying frenzy has now started. The reason is that they are really very reasonable priced. We bought last week and the week before that in anticipation of upgrades 2001 Haut Brion (94), Lafite (94) and Latour (95+). The Latour was $130 a bottle compared with $340 a bottle for 2003 and $450 bottle for 2000. If you can afford $130 for a bottle of wine and you always wanted a first growth buy the Latour at Wine Exchange before it is sold out. Next price on rebuys is $175+. The real steal in all this is the 2001 Les Forts de Latour. This is wine from Latour that does not make it into the Grand Vin. It is Latour. It smells like it. It tastes like it. It is only slightly less concentrated than the Grand Vin. It is $31.99 at Wine Exchange. RUN, do not walk, to buy it. We don't have to rely on Parker for this one. We had it. It was excellent. We bought a case.

As for the 1990 vintage the 2000 and 2003 vintages have had the following effect. 1990 is a great year. There is some wine from 1990 still available in local stores. 1990 is priced about the same now as 2000 but has 10 years of additional bottle age, a big deal for Bordeaux that requires bottle age. If 2003 Ausone is $500 and 2000 Cheval Blanc is $600 or $700, then buying first growth Bordeaux from 1990 that is equally highly rated at $500 makes sense. What is true for the First Growths is true for the lesser wines. Many great 1990s are priced less than their 2000 and 2003 counterparts.

Friday, June 25, 2004


Oh, Honey: Pleeze. Not jogging. Not even walking! But perhaps dancing!! Coz Moi is preening here tomorrow and I hope to see you there!

Saturday June 26
Bay Area Poetry Marathon
@ 21 Grand
449 23rd St, Oakland
Public Transportation:
19th Street BART
then four blocks up Broadway
left onto 23rd

12:30 - 2:20
Julie Carr, Rob Halpern, Bill Luoma, James Meetze & Chris Nealon

2:20 –3:40
Eleni Stecopoulos, Hugh Steinberg, Eileen Tabios & Stephanie Young

6:30 - 8:20
Rae Armantrout, Maxine Chernoff, Paul Hoover & Laura Moriarity

Denise Newman, Elizabeth Robinson & Kit Robinson


Hmmmm. You know what I like about Jordan Davis' recently-released review of Jenny Browne's At Once (over at Constant Critic)? It's the sense that Jordan reaaaally reaaaally likes what he read in Jenny Browne's poems....without him having to go all hyperbolic and all (though hyperbolic is good, too -- Moi specializes in such). I mean, what I see in this review is not so much a "review" as the kind of personal engagement that I think many if not all poets wish to see their poems, uh, engage in. Really. The affection is nice to witness -- it's not just a credit to Jenny Browne, but to Jordan as reader.

Criticism on Poetry? Eh.

But Reading -- that's something else, including the reading of someone else's Reading. In this "review," Jordan (without diluting rigor) is a reader loosening up to read the poem by sharing a nice cuppa with said poem at a cozy cafe. The result is a rare one (or, rare for me): I am won over by the critic as much as the poet under review.

Thursday, June 24, 2004


"Early in Sarah Gambito’s book, we learn that 'You cannot be in two places at once.' In fact, the personality presented in these poems (they are personal poems; that is to say, they have their own unique and consistent personality) seems to have come from Elsewhere, on the way to Everywhere."
—Keith Waldrop

This vivid, incisive, feminist debut skewers Filipina American gender roles with its delightful sense of humor. With seriocomic tone, these elliptical lyrics reveal illusions and exclusions at the heart of America’s global narrative of economic “progress,” and the attendant loss of cultural identity and memory. At the same time,Matadora challenges traditional Filipina gender norms, beginning with the title which feminizes a word and profession traditionally masculine.
--Book Description of Sarah Gambito's

I'm grateful to John Marshall for requesting then publishing five poems from my series "Lucifer's Attempts At Narrative" in Ravens Three. The poems are part of what will appear in my 2005 book, I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press, 2005)

I Take Thee, English...will also include the series of footnote poems to the moi-called "Definitive History of Fallen Angels" that I exhaled out through my Gasps Poem Blog, except that the book version recontextualizes the poem within a new novel. The novel is an "experimental novel" (as the saying goes) with some of the chapters consisting of one word each. I just finished copy-editing it this morning -- and realized from Chapter 37 that one of the poems had been written partly as inspired by Sarah Gambito and artist Edward del Rosario. Sarah's forthcoming poetry collection is entitled "Matadora" and her title poem, along with one of Edward's images entitled "Matadora" had helped inspire Footnote 37 poem (click on this link to see Edward's image). (You can find out more about Edward, too, through the article I wrote last year on him and his poignant works; it appears in Sidereality.)

I can't wait to see Sarah's book as watching her poetic development over the past couple of years has been a real delight (she's also one of the poets in Pinoy Poetics). Sarah's book is due out this December from winning the Alice James Competition; until then, here's moi Chapter 37:

The prose is one word:


Then there's Footnote #37 Poem:

Footnote *

Dyed my hair a cobalt blue
for that's their color

in my dreams. Now
men begin to "look at me

by not looking at me."
Of course. I am a creature

for which prudency dictates
the most furtive of manners:

the glance cutting
for slanting sideways.

Let me sample niceness
with a warning:

Beware your mustachioes!
I have bitten with my tiny

teeth. My tiny teeth have
bitten. When said teeth chatter

the sound released is
from a rattlesnake, not a baby's

rattle. Not sound and fury
signifying nothing. Look at Moi!

Matadora lips form the fury of sound.
Whoooosh. Whoooosh. Whooooosh!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

from the series "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

To be an angel is to be alone in a smudged gown, fingers poking through holes burnt by epistemology. I drink from ancient goblets whose cracked rims snag my lips into a burning bleeding: I know my skin as rust. (I know my skin as ruin.) I wonder what you tasted after I bit your lip, thus coaxing out your reluctant tongue. Did you see the garish orange evaporate from the quilted bedspread trapping us? Once, you said, we should only lie on beds of grass. Undoubtedly, this must be attributed to the scent of honeysuckle and how, beyond such meadow, the only sound heard from children is laughter.
--from "Falling Up," a poem in
I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press, 2005)

Effin' angels. They tried to piss on me and failed.


Suddenly, the Chatelaine feels 10,000,017 pairs of eyes riveted on her .... while 10,000,017 pairs of hands mush at ringing ears.

Ooops. Sorry, said Chatelaine whispers to her peeps. Was Moi too loud?

WHADJA SAY? one wise-ass peep cracked.

Okay, the Chatelaine concedes. Let Moi explain, please, why Moi was screaming at the ceiling.

First, lookit moi ceiling. Peeps lookit. They see angels looking down grumpily as they've temporarily cease their perpetual poker game.

So, if you read moi blog, you know that I complain over the cost of publishing bricks. Well, today, I got back the proofs for said brick. AND THERE WAS ONE TYPO!!!!



Ooops. Sorry, I didn't mean to yell.

But, you know, so there was that typo -- perhaps minor in many people's eyes. Except that said typo was in a poem!!! So Moi had to fix it because, dangit dangit, the most infinitesimal punctuation, like a comma or period, is significant in a poem!!!!


What does that have to do with youse angels, one peep asks.

COZ MOI KNOWS HOW THOSE EFFIN....sorry, didn't mean to yell again....Inhale/Exhale. Chatelaine continues: Because I know how those angels work -- they were testing me....

And she can't help herself....offa she goes again:

THEY WERE EFFIN' TESTING ME!!!! ME!!! AS IN EFFIN' MOI!!! HAVE MOI NOT RIPPED APART MOI VERY FLESH FOR YOU! AM MOI NOT A WALKIN' STIGMATA OR WHAAAAAAAT???!!!! She screams again (though enchantingly so) towards the winged ones.

Said winged ones merely ... sniff.

Chatelaine turns her lovely face back onto her peeps. Yah -- Moi could have ignored the typo. But I didn't. Call me Poetry Angel, sure. After all, Moi had better be able to fly. Moi .... here she turns back to the sniffy Fallen Ones .... CAN NO LONGER AFFORD SHOES!!!!

Pause. Sip. A Behrens & Hitchcock merlot. Sip again. Turns back to Peeps. And the moral of the story, Dear Peeps, is ... is ... gimmoi a moment to make something up .... is -- and her long-lashed eyes light up the night sky --



Eh. As Moi said earlier, when it comes to poetics, I make it all up ... on the fly


Summi Kaipa, who sends out this announcement below, was kind enough to include my paper bag poems in this exhibit. These are chaps whose covers are recycled paper bags, which is to say, you can tote a poem around with you -- the idea being to feel the body of the poem, to make it part of your body, and not just text you read because what you read must be at *a distance* from your eyes, your body...Eh, something like that -- Moi makes up all this poetics stuff you know. I mean, there really is no such thing as poetics...okay, getting distracted now from the story of this post which is Summi's announcement below -- hope to see you there!

And moi first book as publisher, 100 More Jokes From the Book of the Dead, by John Yau and Archie Rand is also featured! Here's the link to the official New Langton Arts announcement, as augmented by Summi.


Howdy folks! Just wanted to send an email to let you know that I have organized an event that explores book arts and features work by local and national practitioners of this nebulous (but satisfying) artform.

In the gallery, we will have work for sale by over forty artists, including:
Jo Jackson, Jen Bervin, Will Yackulic, Nikki Thompson, Marcia Weisbrot, Pang Hui Lim, Hannah Cox, Amanda Davidson, Marisa Jahn, Kirthi Nath, Jody Alexander, Patricia Wakida & Garret Izumi, Darrin Klein, Mary Burger, David Larsen, Jennie Hincliff, Tauba Auerbach, Sara Jaffe, Liz Worthy, Micah Ballard, Keith Shein, Emily Abendroth, Kristin Palm, Eileen Tabios, John Yau & Archie Rand, Tinfish Press, Angry Dog Midget Press, Tim Yu & Cassie Lewis, Rachel Daley, and Etherdome Press.

There will also be performances by local literary legends:
Amanda Davidson, Mary Burger, and David Larsen

Musical performances by
Sara Jaffe and Sort of Invisible

Tuesday, June 29, 8pm
New Langton Arts
1246 Folsom St
San Francisco
5-10 sliding scale

Your attendance is much appreciated and necessary! Please spread the word . . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Just got back to San Francisco -- trawling blogs to relax. First and first from kari:

Governor Schwarzenegger is conducting a phone poll on same-sex marriage. Predictably, right-wingers are flooding the office with calls. Since we are trying to pass a slew of marriage and domestic partner bills here in California, it's a good time to show support on the issue. This will only take a few seconds. Please make the call and forward this email to all your lists.

Call 916.445.2841

Press in order...

Press 5 for Hot Issues
Press 1 for Same Sex Marriage
Press 1 to support marriage for same sex couples in


What's great about Everybody Writing are the multiplicity of approaches -- just check out the three interviews done to date and who's forthcoming. I never tire of hearing others' thoughts on the impossible -- that is, others' attempts to articulate what is impossible to articulate: Poetry.


Thanks to backchannels -- and front -- on my Dad. He's still in hospital; I'll be returning to Los Angeles soon....Two stories keep repeating themselves in my memory. The first relates to how my Dad is like many who loves to give kids "candy money" -- the thing is, even with me at age 43, Dad still likes to slip me money whenever we part from each other. Of course it's not for candy (or not just candy) anymore -- when I first graduated, it was to help out with the utility bills; more recently, just to "get myself something nice." The hubby once saw such a bill exchange and sort of hinted that I was a bit too old to be accepting bills from Dad -- and I had to explain that the exchange was as much for Dad's pleasure....that it was a metaphor for his love that, paradoxically, became more meaningful as he understood that I no longer needed his financial aid. To accept something we don't need to accept is also a form of love....if only by its affirmation of a relationship, in this case of something that will not change: He is my Father and I am his Daughter...forever.

The second story that keeps coming to mind is his favorite childhood tale involving me as an infant or toddler. Apparently, back in the Philippines, he used to like to sit with me on his lap beneath the shade of a large tree. And he would chew little snacks and after said snacks became mush, he then would feed such to me. I'm not sure if that's true -- but he loves to talk about it. My reaction is consistent and predictable: a big Eeeeeeeuuuuuuuuw: Yuck! He loves that. And because he loves my professed disgust so much, I of course exagerrate the yucks....


Last but not least: Mark declares, "I will gladly forgive the omissions & commissions of anyone who so openly declares their admiration for Eileen Tabios."

Which leads me to moi latest link: the return of Joseph's hay(na)ku...

Ergo -- and it's always nice to end on this note -- Preeeeen....


I spent the last few days with family settling my father into hospital-based treatment. It's really the first time I've been forced to face up to my parents' mortality. Difficult, of course. And particularly difficult when Kaiser, the largest HMO serving the state of California, lives up to its reputation as a stinker with faulty patient service -- nurses leaving my father lying in urine or failing to provide the correct diet (of particular concern when my dad is a diabetic) and then responding with rudeness or contempt when my family complained. I've already sent a lawyer to meet with one of the doctors -- such seems to be the only language heard by too many today. (And, can a class action suit be filed on behalf of thousands who don't have the recourse I do to pull in lawyers? But for what? For seeking more ... humane-ity?)

What was most helpful during the intermittent hours of waiting through various hospital procedures or just sitting by my dad's bedside was reading a book that was on my To-Read-Stack for years: Kathleen Norris' THE CLOISTER WALK. It resonated given the search for some sense of stability amidst chaos -- a chaos that included the question of how "care-givers" can behave with such insensitivity -- and given how my last writer's silence (not "writer's block") was broken recently when I kept writing poems in response to the lovely writing found in Siri Hustvedt's novel WHAT I LOVED. Here's the first poem I wrote as a result of reading Hustvedt's novel -- also the first of a series of "semi-colon poems" entitled "; SONG IS SUBJECTIVE":

               ; To Study Art Is To Become Thin

               ; despite Cezanne's desire, the world is never unclad

               ; to peruse a painting (intently) and see only one's uncertainty over where to look

               ; mistaking science for "bathroom graffiti"

               ; why flinch when penetration results from the swish of a kilt

               ; figuration, not abstraction, the synonym for ambiguity

               ; white velvet ribbon become bookmark

               ; lace

Related to poems I write as a result of reading, here's a (poetics) excerpt from THE CLOISTER WALK about Norris' experience doing a poetry reading at a Trappist monastery -- I don't believe Norris' way of poetry is a definitive one, but I do find empathy in much of what she says as it relates to, yes, *Lucidity Poetics*:

"I told the monks that I had come to see both writing and monasticism as vocations that require periods of apprenticeship and formation. Prodigies are common in mathematics, but extremely rare in literature, and, I added, 'As far as I know, there are no prodigies in monastic life.' The monks nodded, obviously amused. (The formal process of entering a monastery takes at least five years, and usually longer, and even after monks have made final vows, they often defer to the older members of the community as more 'fully formed' in monastic life.)

"Related to this, I said, was recognizing the dynamic nature of both disciplines; they are not so much subjects to be mastered as ways of life that require continual conversion. For example, no matter how much I've written or published, I always return to the blank page; and even more important from a monastic point of view, I return to the blankness within, the fears, laziness and cowardice that, without fail, will mess up whatever I'm currently writing and, in turn, require me to revise it. The spiritual dimension of this process is humility, not a quality often associated with writers, but lurking there, in our nagging sense of the need to revise, to weed out the lies you've told yourself and get real. As I put it to the monks, when you realize that anything good you write comes despite your weaknesses, writing becomes a profoundly humbling activity. At this point, one of the monks spoke up. 'I find that there's a redemptive quality,' he said, 'just in sitting in front of that blank piece of paper.'

"This comment reflects an important aspect of monastic life, which has been described as 'attentive waiting.' I think it's also a fair description of the writing process. Once, when I was asked, 'What is the main thing a poet does?' I was inspired to answer, 'We wait.' A spark is struck; an event inscribed with a message -- this is important, pay attention -- and a poet scatters a few words like seeds in a notebook. Months or even years later, those words bear fruit. The process requires both discipline and commitment, and its gifts come from both preparedness and grace, or what writers have traditionally called inspiration....

"Anyone who listens to the world, anyone who seeks the sacred in the ordinary events of life, has 'problems about how to believe.' Paradoxically, it helps that both prayer and poetry begin deep within a person, beyond the reach of language. The fourth-century desert monk St. Anthony said that perfect prayer is one you don't understand. Poets are used to discovering, years after a poem is written, what it's really about. And it's in the respect for the mystery and power of words that I find the most profound connections between the practice of writing and monastic life.

"'Listen' is the first word of St. Benedict's Rule for monasteries, and listening for the eruptions of grace injto one's life -- often from unlikely sources is a 'quality of attention' that both monastic living and the practice of writing tend to cultivate. I'm trained to listen when words and images begin to converge. When I wake up at 3 a.m., suddenly convinced that I had better look into an old notebook, or get to work ona poem I'd abandoned years before, I do not turn over and go back to sleep. I obey, which is an active form of listening (the two words are etymologically related).

"In fact, I tell the monks, when I first encountered the ancient desert story about obedience -- a monastic disciple is ordered by his abba to water a dead stick -- I laughed out loud. I know that abba's voice from those 3 a.m. encounters; I know the sinking, hopeless feeling that nothing could possibly come out of this writing I feel compelled to do. I also know that good things often come when I persevered. But it took me a long time to recognize that my discipline as a writer, some of it at least, could translate into the monastic realm.

"The monastic practice of lectio divina -- which literally means holy reading -- seemed hopelessly esoteric to me for a long time. When I read descriptions of it, I'd figure that my mind was too restless, too impatient, too flighty to do it well. But then the monk who was my oblate director said, 'What do you mean? You're doing it!' He explained that the poems I was writing in response to the scripture I'd encounter at the Divine Office with the monks, or in my private reading, were a form of lectio. He termed this writing active lectio, at least more active than the usual form of meditating on scripture. I had thought that because I was writing, because I was doing something, it couldn't be lectio. But writing was not what I'd set out to do; words came as if organically, often simply from hearing scripture read aloud. I was learning the truth of what the Orthodox monk Kallistos Ware has said about the monastic environment; that in itself it can be a guide, offering a kind of spiritual formation. Not all my poems are lectio -- to believe that would be too easy, a form of self-indulgence -- but the practice of lectio does strike me as similar to the practice of writing poetry, in that it is not an intellectual procedure so much as an existential one. Grounded in a meditative reading of scriptures, it soon becomes much more; a way of reading the world and one's place in it. To quote a fourth-century monk, it is a way of reading that works the earth of the heart'."

Monday, June 21, 2004


YaY! NEWSGRIST: where spin is art focuses on Meritage Press' latest release:

[Ways] by Barry Schwabsky and Hong Seung-Hye!

NEWSgrist is an e-zine devoted to the politics of art and culture in the digital age; dedicated to bridging gaps between the digital and the non-technical, art and activism, the diverse blog and non-blog worlds of readers and subscribers. Founded in 2000 in New York City and edited by Joy Garnett.

Needless to say, the Chatelaine appreciates the art of the spin....check out NEWSgrist whose entry also features a pre-release special...!

NEWSgrist editor Joy Garnett, by the way, is a talented painter -- click on her own link for some fascinating work that, among other things, extends the history of painting (definitely "not dead") via incorporation of elements from the digital age.

Sunday, June 20, 2004


on the mountain can be ... tricky when one lives in mountain lion country. Sightings of said lions have been on the rise in the area and, I believe, throughout California. I'm still in Los Angeles but I just got off the phone with Tom who was on Galatea's mountain this weekend. Last night, as Tom took Achilles out at about 11 p.m. for moi puppy's bedtime walk, they heard a sound just outside the backyard fence where the mountain drops. It sounded like a woman in distress!!!! Like someone terribly hurt but unable to articulate words...

So Tom called 9-1-1. Police came. No woman (or other person with a medium/high voice). But the police said that sound is exactly like what a mountain lion sounds like -- a conclusion subsequently affirmed today by a neighbor.

So, now, we're exploring putting barbed wire atop the deer fence to disincentivize mountain lions from thinking about leaping over said deer fence.

If anyone has any advice for us city slickers, do tell. Anything to protect moi puppy Achilles....who is, as you Peeps would not be surprised to know, Moi Achilles Heel....


A special pleasure was provided moi by Chris Murray's Texfiles' Poet of the Week Marcus Slease when, in his poem, "Of Our Cranial Love for the Lion" (great title), he writes the line:

We were reading toward Bethlehem as part of a seminar on special problems for honest mystics.

"....honest mystics" -- that is just dang witty

and when it becomes

"....seminar on special problems for honest mystics," I'ma just hooo-haaaaing here with delight....!

Thanks Chris and Marcus -- nice way to spend a morning when the background is one of those Sunday religious sermons that moi Mom insists on putting on television....(and now I remember why I don't watch TV, but thassa nother story....)

Good morning Sunday!

Saturday, June 19, 2004


I'm in Los Angeles this weekend visiting my parents. Dad just underwent surgery ...

My copy of this book (book launch today in Manila), is for my Dad -- for every day of the year that is, for him, Father's Day:

from Philippine Inquirer, Manila:

A book for Dads
by Alfred A. Yuson

To be launched on Fathers Day this Sunday, June 20, appropriately enough,is an anthology simply titled Father Poems -- at 3 p.m. at PowerBooks in Greenbelt, Makati. Published by Anvil, the collection is edited by Gemino H. Abad and yours truly.

The book assembles 85 poems on fathers written by 60 Filipino poets, including quite a number who have grown up or who happen to be currently residing abroad. With regards the contributors, here's quoting from the Intro:

"Twenty-seven are Philippine-based. Twenty-five are either Filipino Americans or Filipinos presently based in the United States. Three are living in London, one in Dublin, one in the Netherlands, and one in Bangkok, while a couple are currently engaged in academic effort in Singapore."

Those last two are Danton Remoto and Dinah Roma, who are among our finest poets. Wilfredo O. Pascual, Jr. works in Bangkok. London-based are Ed Maranan, Gene Alcantara and Rene Navarro. Joel H. Vega writes from The Netherlands, while Ivy Alvarez submitted her poem from Ireland.

The 25 Filipino poets in the U.S. are Teena Apeles, Lilledeshan Bose, Luis Cabalquinto, Sofiya Cabalquinto, Marlon Unas Esguerra, Rona Fernandez,Felix Fojas, Vince Gotera, Luisa A. Igloria, Antonio L. Jocson, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Melissa Nolledo-Christoffels, Oscar Penaranda, Jon Pineda, Bino Realuyo, Barbara J. Pulmano Reyes, Jose Edmundo Ocampo Reyes,Tony Robles, Patrick Rosal, Joseph Sabado, Irene Suico Soriano, Eileen Tabios, Joel Barraquiel Tan, Angela Narciso Torres and Rowena T. Torrevillas.

The 27 poets still based in the homeland are Abad, Alma Anonas, Juaniyo Arcellana, Ime Morales Aznar, Ian Rosales Casocot, Marjorie Evasco, Israfel Fagela, EJ C. Galang, Felino S. Garcia, Jr., J. Neil C. Garcia, Sid Gomez Hildawa, Jose F. Lacaba, Kris Lanot Lacaba, Francis C. Macansantos, Arvin Abejo Mangohig, Bj A. Patino, Madeline Rae, Sandra Nicole Roldan, Angelo V. Suarez, Alice M. Sun-Cua, Ramon C. Sunico, Anthony L. Tan, Ricardo M. de Ungria, Niccolo Rocamora Vitug, Ernesto Superal Yee, Lawrence Lacambra Ypil, and Yuson.

Here's more from the Intro:

"The numbers cannot betray us -- 40 sons and 20 daughters -- as we may have once felt betrayed by the randomness of parentage.

"We have kept the faith, however, and have remarked no end on the men who sired us, and loved us, and whom we loved back, whether in gratitude or terror, once upon a time, and perhaps still do.

"In this collection we have a father and a son (the Lacabas), and a father and a daughter (the Cabalquintoses), still bound together as coevals in the fellowship of poets.

"Here are poems that honor fathers, as well as poems that tweak early omens of conflict, trumpet the first signals of defiance. Here are poems that recollect fathers in their prime as well as on sickbeds, and poems that grieve over their loss. And here too are poems that revisit joyful moment or ineradicable image, and poems that may still suffer from the way a father’s torch was passed.

"It is the passion of recall that binds this collection together. Our memories of our fathers provided the first lodestone for our poetry. The editors’ thesis that every poet must at one time or another have written a poem on, of, or for a father cannot be affirmed without doubt. What is doubtless is that as a source of primal love and fundamental memory, the father remains a mighty provender in our pursuit of fine poetry.

"Would that this collection approximate the standard of excellence our fathers spoke of at one time or another -- lovingly, wistfully, forcefully -- as to make us remember their hand, gentle or firm, in the crafting of our own worth as sons, daughters, Filipinos, poets."

Needless to say, this poetry book should make a fine gift for any father,or any lover of poetry for that matter.

from the ever-beloved and ever-popular "Achilles Series"

The managing editor of my publisher writes:

BTW: Hope your little dog is fine, too. If you're going to continue writing about his you-know-what you might want to put it on a new blog:

(Jeez.....I crack me up.)

Sigh...what one must swallow if one is interested in having said one's poetry book published...

Friday, June 18, 2004


As a result of the following below, I was recently addressed -- for the first time -- as "Professor." Well, Dang! and giggle. Then the Chatelaine looks out the window at where she's attempting to be a farmer....

From University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain, a real professor -- Rocio Davis -- writes to proclaim:

The MELUS special issue on Filipino American Literature has just come out. Here's some content and ordering information:

Table of Contents

Articles (authors in italics):

Introduction: Have Come, Are Here: Reading Filipino American Literature
Rocio G. Davis

Moments in the Wilderness: Becoming a Filipino American Writer
Vince Gotera

"The Hand of a Chinese Master": Jose Garcia Villa and Modernist Orientalism
Timothy Yu

Up from Benevolent Assimilation: At Home with the Manongs of Bienvenido Santos
Victor Bascara

Payback Time: Neocolonial Discourses in the Filipino American Narrative of Peter Bacho's Cebu
Elizabeth H. Pisares

Decolonizing the Body and the Soul: Reinscribing Sexualities and Spiritualities in the Fiction of Ninotchka Rosca and Linda Ty-Casper
Dolores de Manuel

Abjection, Masculinity, and Violence in Brian Roley's American Son and Han Ong's Fixer Chao
Eleanor Ty

MAGANDA: Thoughts on Poetic Form (A Hermetic Perspective)

Language and a Poetics of Collage: Catalina Cariaga's Cultural Evidence
Zhou Xiaojing

Artistic Creativity and Wild American Selves: Form and Fictional Experimentation in Filipina American Fiction
Helena Grice

Creole Languages of the Filipino (American) Diaspora: Racial, Sexual, and Class Relations in Dogeaters and Rolling the R's
Gladys Nubla

Liminality and Mestiza Consciousness in Lynda Barry's One Hundred Demons
Melinda L. de Jesœs

A Hunger for History: A Study of Ma-Yi Theater Company's Project: Balangiga
Joi Barrios

"The Struggle for Form": A Conversation between Nick Carbo and M. Evelina Galang

Books reviewed:
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, ed. Growing Up Filipino: Stories for Young Adults.
Teresa Urriza Holthe, When the Elephants Dance.
Sabina Murray, The Caprices.
Luisa Igloria, ed. Not Home, But Here: Writing from the Filipino Diaspora.
Luis Cabalquinto. Bridgeable Shores: Selected Poems (1969-2001).
Marianne Villanueva and Virginia Cerenio, eds. Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas.
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard. Magdalena.
Barbara J. Pulmano Reyes, Gravities of Center.
Eileen Tabios, My Romance.
Helen C. Toribio, ed. Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild: An Anthology of Filipino American Writers.

Ordering information: Copies of the journal at $15 may be ordered from the MELUS Office, Dept. of English, U-4025, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-4025.

Thursday, June 17, 2004


I'm sharing this press release below involving one of moi favorite poets. For those interested in poetry/art collaborations and the ways that long-time collaborators John Yau and Archie Rand have approached such, their book 100 More Jokes From the Book of the Dead includes an essay on this topic by John.

I remember seeing the exhibition of Robert Creeley's collaborations with various artists at the New York Public Library (for which John had written the catalogue essay). I think a comprehensive exhibition featuring John's numerous and varied collaborations with artists (of which Galatea is blessed to have some fine samples) is just a matter of time, though it's certainly nice to get this appetizer now. You lucky New Yorkers -- check it out!

VOLUME Gallery
530 West 24th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenue)
NY, NY 10011


John Yau + 3
Ilse Murdock, Archie Rand, Alison Taylor

June 21-July 13, 2004
Opening Reception: Friday, June 25

John Yau + 3 explores the nature of collaborations as it pairs poet, writer and critic John Yau with three artist collaborators: Ilse Murdock, Archie Rand, and Alison Taylor. Yau is no stranger to collaborations. In 1987, he and Rand began working together, and since then he has collaborated with an extensive and wide range of European and American artists. In all of these projects, it is the direct dialogue between text and image that Yau finds so appealing, “Can words and pictures meet and make something fresh?”

For longtime collaborators Yau and Rand, the process of collaborating has become fluid; sometimes a project is initiated by an image that Rand gives to Yau and sometimes Yau’s words come first [their etching "Cold Water Flat" is a fine as well as humorous example]. For Murdock, Taylor, and Yau, the collaborative process served as an introduction. Upon seeing their work, Yau responded with words which the artists then integrated into their images. The results are compelling pieces which richly illuminate the creative potential inherent in collaborations.

John Yau has published more than two dozen books, as well as essays for numerous museum catalogs and monographs. Since 1978, he has written for many American and European magazines Artforum, Art in America, Art News, El Pais, Interview, Tema Celeste and Vogue) and has received abundant fellowships, honors, and awards. A project with James Brown will be published by Carpe Diem Press, and Movies As a Form of Reincarnation, a book with Archie Rand, is forthcoming from Granary Press.

For three decades Archie Rand has been considered one of America's foremost painters. Once a teenage prodigy, Rand has had over 80 solo and 200 group exhibitions and is represented in both national and international collections. He often writes for international art journals, and in 2002 Rand was given the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching at Columbia University where he is the Senior Professor of Visual Arts.

Ilse Murdock is a painter whose work explores the themes of eating and waste in contemporary culture. She received her BFA from Parsons School of Design and also studied at the New York Studio School. Last summer her cereal box collages were included in Feigen Contemporary’s 2003 exhibition “OnLine”.

Alison Taylor received her BFA from Art Center College of Design and is currently an MFA student in Columbia University’s Visual Arts Department. Her work has been shown at Baltimore’s American Museum of Visionary Art and at Los Angeles galleries like New Image Art, ACME and Track 16. Taylor’s paintings include a distinctive narrative quality that deconstructs many of the myths surrounding American society.


Two of moi favorite poetry presses feature prominently in the current issue of Sidereality! Meritage Press' Barry Schwabsky and Marsh Hawkers Moi, Stephen Paul Miller and Madeline Tiger.

Thank you, Chris, for calling the Chatelaine's work "exquisite"! Preen. And, yes, Michelle Bautista's "excellent" interview of Barry Schwabsky is, indeed, muy fabuloso! Not to mention that Sidereality has two new poems by Barry and, again, just a nice read!

Reading this issue of Sidereality just makes me pause to cheerfully proclaim the obvious: Poetry is just ... nifty! Thanks to Clayton Couch and the other editors for this wonderful project!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Not so terrible Tim Allen's recommendations of U.S. titles includes Barry Schwabsky's OPERA on Terrible Work, a site of reviews, discussion, and commentary on contemporary poetry, mostly British. Here is Tim's note (which, whether or not it is funny, struck me as funny):

"'Imagine poems written by Sir Walter Raleigh after he has read Wittgenstein & Lorine Neidecker', says John Yau. Is that a good description of Opera? To a degree, it certainly points to the post-language excess of these poems (there is something of a post-mod baroque style currently fashionable in some N. American poetry), but then, what about Neidecker, spare objectivist grounding is not something Schwabsky shares. I need to read this again."

Other books reviewed recently include Removed For Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth, Barbara Guest's Forces of the Imagination, Douglas Oliver's Arrondissements, Simon Smith's Reverdy Road, among many others.


Throughout the month, I'm copyediting the manuscript for my 2005 book, I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press). One of the poems in it also appears in my 2004 collection, Menage A Trois With the 21st Century (xPress(ed)); I had thought to include this one poem in both books because it fits both....

During this morning's copyediting phase, I decided to delete the poem from I Take Thee, English..., but left a reference on its page as its title, and then the text:

"For the rest of the poem,
please go to Page 8 of
Menage A Trois With the 21st Century
by Eileen R. Tabios"

I did that, as another way to manifest one of the overall themes in I Take Thee, English...: moving the poem off the page into the world, even if that "world" is another book.

Words lie on the page, or are contained by books. But Poetry is not words.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

from the much-loved "Achilles Series"

Moi is quivering ...

Things are getting all conflated in her tipsy mind, you see (as I said in my last wine-related post, the 2002 Mason Sauvignon Blanc is a good summer white) ...

You see, Achilles is in the emergency room .... and I just found out he has to stay at the pet hospital overnight because he's too drugged from the anesthetics to walk and Moi can hardly drag a 75-pound dog about the now dark mountain ...

He's in the emergency room because at about 6:30 p.m., I noticed his cheek bleeding. I immediately called the vet; said vet immediately responded as so much of his mortage for his brand new medical facility depends on Achilles' repeat visits ...

Upon bringing him to the vet's, the vet checked Achilles cheek and pronounced it a puncture wound ...

After I woke up from the smelling salts to Achilles giving me that look that pronounced "Will you please remember this story is about moi pain, not yours?!", the vet said that it's just a slight wound and Moi puppy certainly can recover with no treatment as the scar can heal on its own ...

On the other hand, the vet (remembering his mortgage) swiftly added some hokum about having seen a dog about for ten years with an "unnecessary scar" on its face. Said Moi bought said hokum and, yes, approved the necessary stitches to help the wound heal better and with the least amount of aesthetic injury to Achilles' beauty ...

But now, Moi is quivering because she hadn't anticipated Achilles would have to spend the night at the hospital and she didn't bring Achilles' own furry blanket (fake sheepskin, to be exact) or a favored toy (a mini rubber tire tied to a rope). She knows that Achilles tonight is just sleeping on a thin white towel laid over a concrete floor, toyless ...

Sip. Mason sauvignon blanc. But misery doesn't ease ...

But since misery loves company, the Chatelaine decides to share her travails with one of her peeps. Unfortunately, she chose wrongly as said peep writes back in response, "What's a macho man without a scar or two -- makes him sexy. And makes for great pick-up lines at the old chow bowl!"

And, that, dear Ones, is the definition of not-funny!! Moi puppy is not a man, let alone a boor of a man! He's moi BABY!!!!


Okay! It's official! The variation of hay(na)ku created by Maya Mason Fink, the 11-year-old daughter of Thomas Fink, is hereby called

The Mayan Hay(na)ku

For those of you who thought the hay(na)ku a challenge in terms of constraints, try Maya's version, which is that the first line has one word of one letter, the second line two words of two letters each, the third line three words of three letters each, and so on -- if one wishes. Maya and Tom's example is:

am an
old, fat dog
[with many blue furs].

To which Moi cheerfully responds with an Ode to Puppy Achilles:

be my
hip hop tot
true love ours!

To which at least five million peeps roll their eyes, to which the Chatelaine sniffs and challenges: You think it easy? Go ahead! Show me!


Here's a reprint of a readings coverage from Listen & Be Heard, a weekly arts/poetry newsletter based in Vallejo (thanks Annabelle):

Filipina Authors Transcend Nostalgia
Mother's Day event brings poetry to another dimension

by Annabelle A. Udo

San Francisco -- Addressing a variety of perspectives on "Transcending Nostalgia: Filipino Writings in Diaspora," six noted Filipina authors and poets challenged the issue of defining their insights and participations as artists straddling the Filipino and the American experience.

This Mother's Day event presented by the Filipino American Center of the San Francisco Public Library offered a dynamic panel celebrating the Bay Area book launch of Behind the Blue Canvas (Giraffe Books) by Eileen Tabios; "Not There But Here" (Anvil Publications, Inc.) edited by Luisa Igloria; and "Our Own Voice" (The Philippine Women's University Center for Culture, Arts, and Music/HZB Development Center) edited by Remé Grefalda.

Also featured in the line-up who all provided previously-released copies of their books and essays were Barbara Jane Reyes (Gravities of Center/Arkipelago Books Publishing); Leny Mendoza Strobel (Coming Full Circle: The Process of Decolonization Among Post-1965 Filipino Americans/Giraffe Books); and Jean V. Gier (featured in various anthologies including Returning A Borrowed Tongue/Coffee House Press and Babaylan/Aunt Lute Press.

The Greek word "diaspora" which was first applied to the dispersion of the Jews among the Gentiles after the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC, has become a worldwide phenomenon amongst a myriad of ethnic groups who have spread throughout the world for various reasons. Regarding the Filipino experience, however, the relationship of the culture of the diaspora and the culture of the Motherland, has been an issue grappled by scholars, poets, and authors in trying to understand what the Filipino identity of the diaspora means.

Taking an academic approach, these Filipina authors, who appropriately enough all came from various corners of the Philippines and the United States, shared how they have come face to face with their personal devils and angels in the process of this self-discovery.

In addition to selected poems read by each of the panelists, what came out of this discussion was an arena of comments. Strobel stated that "transcending nostalgia is a process of engagement. . .The diaspora of the Filipino people is about making a profound attachment." Gier, a Santa Cruz-based artist, relayed her experience of nostalgia as her first visitation to the Serramonte Shopping Center, a strip mall in Daly City comprised of a mostly Filipino demographic. Meanwhile, Tabios, a self-described poet and cultural activist, found that it was about resetting her memory of her homeland and reflected on her process of rediscovering herself by becoming a poet and writing Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole. [Her first poetry collection Beyond Life Sentences] received the Philippines' National Book Award for Poetry.

In final observation, it seems that nostalgia is a human impulse that defrosts a point in time in everyone's lives where a certain emotional loyalty has the ability to resuscitate a multitude of experiences. This event which appropriately took place on Mother's Day was perhaps to symbolize that just as the Mother who has borne her children into the world only to have them scatter the earth to follow their journey, she will always be there to welcome her children back home.


is not
what they think

is just
seen, not felt]

--from "UNREAL CITY" by Ernesto Priego

Now that is intriguing! 'Twould have made Moi pause even if the poem were not for me....

For me!! Thank you Ernesto!!!! A really evocative hay(na)ku!

Could you e-mail me your addy, Ernesto? I need to ask you a favor as regards this poem....I didn't see an e-mail addy linked to your blog (though, if I missed it, that would not be surprising as Moi am luddite)

Monday, June 14, 2004


Yes, yes: I didn't mention in my post on the movie "Troy" (scroll below) that Agamemnon originally fought Troy for HONOR, not for the movie-attributed incentive of POWER. That's because, when it comes to war, the line between honor and power often turns out to have been drawn in the sand when the wind is blowing blowing blowing ....

Sunday, June 13, 2004


has no
equivalent, no
--from "Sunday Number Theory"

Kirsten Kaschock
pens quite an elegant hay(na)ku!

Don't forget, Peeps, about the Hay(na)ku Anthology Submission Call!


I almost don't know where to start ....

Well, like Ajax got a raw deal .... and which is also to say, Hector's armor really should have been better-looking than Achilles'....

The gods were excised -- though, I actually found that okay ....

The passing reference to Aeneas was cute ....

There was no sword of Troy (though I did like that as a Hollywood-ish effect) ... .

Agamemnon did return to Greece, which is to say: Clytemnestra! Wherefore art thou...another woman erased!

I could go on and on and on and my point is not really to say a movie needs to adhere 100% to the book. But, suffice it to say, particularly in these times that makes moments like Odysseus saying (paraphrased) "when it comes to war old men do the talking while young men do the dying" resonate in ways unanticipated by the producers, it's unfortunate that this was Greek Lite ....

Too bad: had they made the movie darker (teetered slightly on the edge with the character "Helen" there), 'twould have been more effective ....

[P.S. UPDATE: How could I have forgotten -- Patroclus was also Achilles' lover, which no doubt was why Achilles was so pissed off when said Patroclus was killed by Hector. Now, for Hollywood to forego the homosexual reference reeks of many, and tired, implications...]

I think the most disturbing was that as I filed out the movie theater, I overheard a teen say to someone else, "Well now I don't have to read the book; I saw the movie...."

Nuh uh, Baby. Not even close. Moi tells you: such sanitation is enough to drive me to drink, which is to say, here's Galatea's House Wine Update:

2002 Mason Sauvignon Blanc (@ $13.99, a good summer white)
1998 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir
1999 Turley Howell Mountain zinfandle Pringle Family Vineyard
1995 Pride Reserve cabernet
1995 Lafite
(bit reticent, that one)
1997 Turley Lodi zinfandel Spenker Ranch
1999 Turley Napa Valley zinfandel Moore "Earthquake" Vineyard
1997 Behrens & Hitchcock zinfandel Napa Valley
2000 Behrens & Hitchcock Petite Sirah Napa Valley

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go make one of my world-renowned meals for Achilles' reincarnation. He's currently in the kitchen wagging his tail ...

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