Sunday, February 27, 2005


Jukka, moithinks there's a typo in your latest wonderful.

Or did I blink as I winked?


Well, while I'm on the road this week to Florida and Texas (see prior post), some of you California peeps can still savor my presence. (I said, Savor!). Well, you peeps in the Bay area, that is. Coz poet and radio host Beau Beausoleil will be reading poems from moi Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole on his poetry/jazz show. The poems will be read to interact with a saxophone solo by Joshua Redman. Yadda! The program can be heard by residents of Sausalito and Tiburon, California at FM 100 on these times:

6 p.m., Tuesday, March 1
8 p.m., Saturday, March 5
8 p.m., Sunday, March 6

Friday, February 25, 2005


So, I finally got around to booking hotel rooms for the AWP -- just in time to be booked out of the official conference hotel. Whatever. But I'll still be there nattering...

So if you're going to AWP, stop by Table #29, the Marsh Hawk Press table. I'ma gonna be there nattering away as if I'm sipping from a bottle stashed beneath the skirted table (I said, as if, okay?).

I'll also be part of this event offsite from AWP, but held during that Friday, April 1, and open to all:

Asian American Poetry Reading
Sponsor: Asian Canadian Writers Workshop
Our Town Cafe
99 Kingsway, Vancouver,
Friday, April 1st

But until AWP, here are other venues for Moi blather:

Wednesday, March 2, 2005
7:00 - 8:45 p.m.
Reading with Sandy McIntosh
The auditorium of the John Germany Tampa Public Library
Downtown Tampa, Fla
Sponsor: Tampa Writers Alliance

March 4-6, 2005
Chris Murray's PoetryHeat reading series at University of Texas, Arlington, in conjunction with Skanky Possum Press, Austin's 12th Street Books, Firewheel Editions/Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics and Marsh Hawk Press, are pleased to present the following events for Spring 2005:

Eileen Tabios, Sandy McIntosh
Friday, Mar 4, 7:00 pm
Rady Room, 6th floor, Nedderman Hall
University of Texas, Arlington
Arlington, Texas
Reception to follow, TBA


Eileen Tabios, Sandy McIntosh
Saturday, Mar 5, 7:00 pm
12th Street Books
827 W. 12th St.
Austin, TX
Reception to follow, TBA


Eileen Tabios & Sandy McIntosh
Sunday, March 6, 5:30 pm
Paperbacks Plus
6115 La Vista Dr
Dallas, Texas 75214
Phone for Directions: 214 827 4860
Free Admission

Not mentioned in above is I think some sort of publishing event where Sandy and I also will discuss...publishing, in UTA.



An issue on one of moi Listserves reminds me to pass on Moi Mom's Message to Teachers. (This is undoubtedly a new low, to be citing my mother, in terms of moi self-promotion, but, really, Mom did say this!). So, Mom is a former English teacher who just read my brick, I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved.

Mom noted the 90 pages of almost blank pages, with the only text on them being "footnote poems" that comprise 1-2 lines at the bottom of each page. So, Mom suggests that this section would be great for teachers who can use an exercise along the lines of asking the question: "What is the story or issue that the poet is footnoting?"

That is, the students can be the ones to fill up the mostly blank pages with text...which is a notion that fits moi own poetics: the poet begins a poem but it's the listener/reader who completes it.

On that same Listserve, Prof. Leny mentioned how I read OUT LOUD a poem that is a blank page. I had just stood there silent...and the class listened to ambient noise...so that the "sound" of the poem read was given by others besides the author. I had fun doing it (just had to make sure my silence didn't last 4'33" as I wouldn't have wanted to be charged with plaigarizing from John Cage).

That Listserve, by the way, is one comprised of peeps interested in exploring decolonialism. So I did note that one relevance of moi "footnote poems" to pagbabalikloob was how the author gives up control over language vs the Philippine colonial history of English being used to control.

Anyhoooooooo....Exam copies, anyone?


And another reason I can only publish one poet's collection a year (except for special circumstances) is that once Meritage Press represents an author, we do what we can to promote that author besides just putting out the physical object of said author's book. Sean Finney will be our published poet this Fall 2005, and 2006's poet has been selected to be Bruna Mori. In line with such, here is an announcement of Bruna's reading this Monday -- check out why we love her!

St. Marks Poetry Project, New York City:

Monday, February 28, 8:00 pm
Christian Hawkey & Bruna Mori

Christian Hawkey¹s book of poems, The Book of Funnels, was published by Verse Press. His poems, art criticism, and non-fiction have appeared in such magazines as Frieze, Colorado Review, American Letters & Commentary, Volt, Denver Quarterly, American Poetry Review, Throat-to-Throat Surgery, and Paris Review. He lives in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. Bruna Mori's book of New York cityscape poems with paintings by Matthew Kinney is forthcoming from Meritage Press. Her recent work appears in Fence, 3rd bed, and ZYZZYVA. She is a member of the Humanities faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, where she teaches writing to architects.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Michael takes the never-ending book to Iowa.

Iowa rhymes with Yadda!

Anyway. Well! Wonder what mischief Moi shall do to Michael's dreams in Iowa!


I had a recent conversation with a long-time poet, editor and publisher. In the course of the conversation, she made dissing (so to speak) remarks on various sources of what she considers bad poetry, whether from would-be-Shakespeares to poets in prisons...

And, in part, her point of view (she said) can be explained by having had to read thousands and thousands of poems each year due to her roles as editor and publisher.

I was a tad taken aback by her attitude, and I thought to myself that I'm happy that when I'm not writing my own poems, I'm a farmer and am in other roles where none cause me to become jaded, cynical, et al as regards poetry. And I also began thinking of other poets whose careers or engagements (the former including teaching poetry and the latter including networking attempts in literary circles -- just to cite two examples that I've noticed can have a dispiriting attempt on certain poets) create this backlash of making them think worse about something that one would think they should love as proactively as anything: poetry.

And it occurs to me that, perhaps, poets (particularly those who are in it for the long haul, so to speak) should try to live their lives in a way where they retain the wonder of Poetry. In the case of the person I was chatting with, having consistently to wade through tons and tons of poems that fail to move her clearly affects her attitude, in a negative way. Of course, it may work the other way with others: that it's the going through mountains of dreck that make them appreciate the good poem (however they define such) when they stumble across it.

But my point is, look around Poet-Peeps. If you're engaged in activities that dim for you the lustre of Poetry, well, Moi dunno. Mayhap you want to think about that.


Perhaps relatedly, I just thought of Indran Amirthanayagam's "Advice to Young Poets" (from BLACK LIGHTNING): this MFA-schooled poet said, "Go out there and learn how to build roads." He was literally talking road, using concrete etc. He wasn't talking metaphor. (Though, of course, it's also a metaphor).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


In September 2000, I began a "Counting Journal" with the idea that counting would "be just another mechanism for me to understand my days." That journal lasted for only five months because I could maintain its underlying obsession, which was to count everything, for only that long. It was inspired, as this first entry explained on 9/20/2000, by:

Ianthe Brautigan's
You Can't Catch Death -- A Daughter's Memoir which noted the character Cameron in her father Richard Brautigan's The Hawkline Monster: "Cameron was a counter. He vomited nineteen times to San Francisco. He liked to count everything."
--from "The Official History of the Hay(na)ku

After delivering my poetry lecture at Sonoma State, I had lunch with Ianthe Brautigan (thanks, Leny!). I was glad, in part because the meeting allowed me to give Ianthe a copy of my ENGLISH brick, as said brick contains "The Official History of the Hay(na)ku" which talks, in part, about how Ianthe and Richard Brautigan facilitated my conceptualization of this poetic form. How the "counting" later led me to think of tercet with one-, two-, then three-word lines.

It's neat to see how one's legacy -- in this case Richard Brautigan's -- continues on, and in unexpected ways.


IS GALATEA'S MOUNTAIN -- see that whitish structure on said mountain, in right half of photo below? That's where the Chatelaine continues to welcome poetry books that otherwise might languish in their publisher's warehouses. The books continue to arrive as a result of my new conceptual project whose latest working title is "The Commerce of Poetry." So far, over 700 books have passed through the Iron Gate, and more are coming...

Croooon over you poems -- to be a poem is to be lovely in moi fallen angels' eyes:


Off to Sonoma to lecture on Poetry,
that is, deliver Moi latest blather

For real kinetic poetry, as Mark points out, read Jukka, the Master of the Universe! Jukka's latest is here -- refresh the page for a new poem each time!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005



thought I:
poetry is received:

is never
given away free.

Ernesto surprises -- therefore delights -- me. Thank you, Ernesto.

And that new moving hay(na)ku of yours also captures the fleetingness of .... words.



tilts Moi

sideways and back

A p.s. on the movie "Sideways" -- it shows how, paradoxically as the matter is alcoholic, wine can elicit the kind of passion that keeps you passionate about your life while you're sorting out ... your life (this was the case for many characters in the movie, not just the one played by Giamatti). Otherwise life would be pretty miserable, but wine kept life going with moments of joy that takes you out of yourself. (Of course, this is walking on a slippery sideway slope as you can fall into alcoholism or dreck vs poems: health usually requires discipline.) In both the passion it engenders and the paradox, wine, too, (for me) is like poetry in that way.

Meanwhile, Finnish poet Karri Kokko, who taught me how to do hay(na)ku sideways, offers the variation above, as well as below.

W       i       n  e

t   ilt         s              M     oi

sid       ewa         ys and          b       ack

Here is Karri's letter that both translates his own "hay(na)ku" on his blog, as well as gives instructions on how you, too, can write poems sideways!

Thanks for the Wow! The literal translation would be ”Tonight your name was sucked up (or absorbed) by snow” but I dare not try to work that into a hay(na)ku because so much would be missing. For one, in the Finnish original, the first two lines could also be understood as “Tonight I’m yours.” And the last line is pure sound play: nimesi = your name, imi = sucked up (by), lumi = snow. The nominative, not the genitive, form of “name” would be even better: nimi. Think about it: nimi imi lumi (with all the i’s pronounced as very short e’s). The whole thing started the other night when I was staring at the snow outside my window. There were no sounds because the snow works as a muffler. It’s very eerie, and soothing. (There, we already got two words – snow and soothing.) In the morning, my daughter, Josefin, who is nine, was surfing the internet and found the code for moving text across the screen – you just put the text inside [a code that inserts the word "marquee" into html's sideway-triangle marks (I had to transcribe Karri's instructions as the instruction itself doesn't show up on blogger, just the result)].

Anyway, how did you end up with the name, hay(na)ku? The reason I’m asking is that when pronounced it means “July” (heinäkuu) in Finnish.


Thanks, Karri. The hay(na)ku, of course, was named as a word pun off of the Filipino expression "Hay. Naku" which doesn't have an exact translation into English. It's like an affirming expression, like "Wow" or "Is that so?" or, in the words of Patrick Rosal's mother when addressing Patrick as a young boy getting into mischief: "Motherfucker!"

Sip. Morning coffee, that is.


tilts Moi
sideways and back

Well, I finally did it. Missy WinePoetics here finally saw the movie "Sideways."

Now, many of youse have asked me about the movie. And I was dying to finally offer up moi dos centavos. After all, I AM MISSY WINEPOETICS! I drink wine like there's no tomorrow! I am married to -- and drink cheerfully from the cellar of -- a man who began collecting wine as a teen (yep, he skipped coins and stamps, though enjoyed wine for the same reason young uns collect said coins and stamps: a means of learning history, culture and geography in a fun way). Matter of fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the hubby financed his first 1961 Cheval Blanc by mowing lawns in his Lexington, Mass neighborhood.

Anyway. So what is my reaction to "Sideways"? Believe it or not, nothing to do with the wine. What I's got to say has to do with that scene when the lady asks to read the novel written by Giamatti's movie character. And he reaches into the back of his car for a manuscript box, and gives it to her. Just as she's about to say thank you, he says, "Wait a minute" (or something like that) and reaches back again into the back of the car for a second manuscript box. Dude was going Russian with that novel.

With that scene, I and many in the audience chuckled over the length of his unpublished novel. But with that same scene, the hubby leaned over to me and whispered, "This reminds me of ____ [NAME OF A BIG-TIME POET WHOSE NAME I WON'T MENTION TO PROTECT HIS PRIVACY]."

"Huh?" I succinctly replied.

"It's when that poet was nice enough to ask to read some of your poems and instead of giving him the two or three samples he was asking for, you delivered to him a THICK manuscript."

THICK manuscript -- Moi am the author of bricks, after all.

Gads. I grunted at the hubby, Thanks for reminding Moi. Then I promptly sharpened my elbow before giving it to his side. But it took me a while to get back to the movie's narrative. Said BIG-TIME POET never did respond to that, cough, poetry manuscript.

The memory of idiotic things I used to do in moi earlier days at this whole Poetry bidness is enough -- has been enough -- to drive Moi to drink.


Monday, February 21, 2005


Link courtesy of Mark, Karri Kokko posts a moving hay(na)ku!

(Mark, can you get a translation? Wanna update The Official History of Hay(na)ku to incorporate this!)


Poet-editor-critic-malt drinker Alfred Yuson of the Philippine Star provides my first review in the Philippines of I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved. It's very synchronistic to me, too, that he reviews my book within a column that was intended to focus on various books that sought to "enhance our [Filipinos'] current drive toward regaining excellence in the English language."

And then there's this excerpt:

Yet indeed, spectacularly over the top is the direction Eileen Tabios seems to have always gravitated towards; she is a Baz Luhrman of an entrancing, entranced poet-aesthete. And her Moulin Rouge of exultant literary treats is run as by a first-class Madame, graciously, elegantly, exquisitely at all hours.

But this is not to say that Tabios’s fundamental verse belongs to the province of frippery. Space considerations dictate that I offer but one quote; for this I select the first few lines of the emblematic, native hark-back that is “Season of Durian,” which starts with epigraphs from Joey Ayala (“Durian defies categories.”) and Jacques Derrida (too long to be quoted here): “Somewhere/ a crop/ teases a wet opening/ to soften bones// Nipples nail a man/ into silence. So loud the stars,/ for once, are audible…”

Chuckle -- whatever.

The review is available at The Philippine Star's website here. If the link is not working, it's also been reprinted at the Marsh Hawk Press blog here.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Poet-painter Thomas Fink makes the first of a series of Hay(na)ku paintings! If I can post a visual in the near future, Moi will! Thanks Tom!


A pearl necklace that's wrapped in bubble wrap so that it can't manifest its nature and drape around a neck,

a tiny pin of a red dress with a heart etched over the sleeve, the icon for breast cancer by the American Red Cross,

a pretty assortment of ribbons from unwrapped presents,

and a sports bra overlaid by a silk and lace version meant for other sports --

these are elements from the latest vizpo collaboration I'm engaged in with Nick Carbo. So, Yo Nico: Moi just sent you, not one but two,bras!! Tell Denise not to get riled up over someone else's lacy thingie ending up nestled on your palms -- it's all for our buddy Art....

....speaking of which, Congrats to Denise Duhamel for her new collection TWO AND TWO -- I just ordered it and can't wait to read (click on link for excerpt)!

P.S. On the other hand, mayhaps some of youse would prefer getting moi real underwear vs metaphorical underwear via poems? Coz either way, Hons, when Moi shares her undies, said undies don't tend to have gotten laundered first.

Undies share something with poems: the most satisfying are often not the sanitized and clean.

(P.P.S. to Nick: what is it with these vizpos that moi *art criticism* of them tends to drag Moi down to the gutter?)

Saturday, February 19, 2005


In Sandy McIntosh's latest poetry collection THE AFTER DEATH HISTORY OF MY MOTHER (Marsh Hawk Press, 2005), there are four poems that are either dedicated to Moi or inspired by Moi. A sample:

Introduction To Für Eileen:
A Book Of Poems Written For and Dedicated To
Eileen R. Tabios and Published By a Vanity Press

Though many admire Eileen, few have met her in person. One day I made the arduous trek up the sheer cliffs of the mountain she calls Galatea. By noon I'd only made it halfway; by four p.m. I saw the peak. Then, after an eternity of effort, I raised my eyes to look above the jagged stones and there she stood: immense, imposing, hair pale blond against the darkling sky like midnight sun; teeth, when she smiled, like ivory, big as pianos; and open, out-stretched arms that could take into her doting embrace a medium-size village, or even, perhaps, a smallish county (as long as it didn't have one of those giant malls).

In any case, it was at that very moment I understood
that I had finally climbed over the top.

Yadda. The poems I inspired -- which once made me suggest to him that he title his book EILEEN R. TABIOS (a suggestion he rejected, much to my bafflement) -- are not, however, the reason why Sandy's book is a worthwhile read. I think it's worth getting his book just for its tour de force: a long poem "Obsessional" which records his detective work on Tudor English literary history and assesses the nature of how art is created, by whom, and under what circumstances. It's why long-time critic Jack Foley thought enough about the poem to cite it in his latest review for The Alsop Review -- see the Marsh Hawk blog for details -- as in this excerpt:

I met a New York poet named Sandy McIntosh. He has a long poem, “Obsessional,” in The After-Death History of My Mother which argues, with some justice, that Tottel's Miscellany—which printed but regularized the poems of Thomas Wyatt—constituted “a story of the hijacking / of English poetry / in the year 1559.” I wrote back that I loved his poem:

I wonder, though, why you left it at Tottel’s. (Did you know that Ron Silliman called his very early language poetry newsletter Tottel’s? I have some samples around the house somewhere.) Emily Dickinson's poetry received exactly the same treatment as Wyatt’s and for the same reasons. The “regularity” of French poetry particularly, I think, had much to do with the desire to regularize English poetry. And the relationship between “stress” regularity and “syllable” regularity.

So check out Sandy's new book, which is not just for poetry lovers but also for students/teachers of literary history (Sandy, correct Moi if I'm wrong but "Obsessional" also benefits, moithinks, from one of your erstwhile Ph.D. thesis subjects of olde). Anyways....yadda: I'ma off to check on my blonde locks -- "such is the nature of moi expanse."

Friday, February 18, 2005

from the series "Blog Autobiography"

And the first poetry book arrived today as a result of our Call (see below).

They were quickly engulfed within the soft folds of the fallen angels' wings. These poems shall suffer no more. They will receive attention.


Sadly, poets and poetry publishers did respond to Galatea's earlier Call so we are expecting more poetry books (and one poetry CD) to come our way. Galatea is on a mountain, precisely to have the space to receive them all. The angels shall receive the poems as lovingly as the trees shall welcome back the pages returning to their origins. Any more takers? Here's the reminder:


Dear Poet and/or Poetry Publisher,

I am starting a new conceptual art project that addresses the notions of commercialism and ephemerality in/for poetry. For this project -- whose working title is "Commercial Poetry -- I need donations of unsold poetry books. Specifically, 101 books each of any single title. Ideally, those titles should be of books that you feel have been/will be difficult to sell.

If you think you can participate (and have questions), please feel free to contact me at


Eileen Tabios

Below are some links about my previous and ongoing works which may be relevant to this project:


from the ever-beloved "Gabriela and Achilles Series"

Gabriela loves her squeaky toys:

But we also taught Gabriela to share (with Achilles on left):

Thursday, February 17, 2005


I love placing (so to speak) poetry in spaces outside the "poetry world" (so to speak). So Moi am delighted to report that I was able to take six titles from my poetry library (for which I had extra copies) to put together a brief packet of "Contemporary American Poetry" for a benefit auction for The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc., an independent, nonprofit organization of attorneys, advocates and parents. Their primary mission is to secure high quality educational services for children with disabilities.

So I wasn't given any notice to put together these books -- in fact, the request came 2 minutes before I had to hand books over -- so I was only able to think to muster this short list -- but I think it offers a good variety even though two of the books are mine.

ORIGINAL GREEN by Patricia Carlin
THE POND AT CAPE MAY POINT by Burt Kimmelman and Greg Caruso
SERIOUS PINK by Sharon Dolin

I want to do more small gestures like this. Small but meaningful gestures. Because Poetry is also an act of intimacy.

(Thanks to the Peep who gave me the chance to do this.)

from the series "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

The good news is that I got an order from Coutts Library today for one copy of Pinoy Poetics. Kewl.

That then reminded Moi that Coutts hadn't yet, I thought, paid an overdue invoice for an earlier copy of Pinoy Poetics. So I mentioned that to the lady over the phone as I had to call them about a question on their new order. They said that they did, too, send out a check on January 7.

Quickly scrolled through moi memory and, yep, remembered that check. I had thought they were paying for another book, though, coz it was for an amount lower than what was due. Moi explained that and I got transferred over to "Accounting" for a clarification. Left a message for a "Barb" at said Accounting. Bidness day ends and no return call.

Maybe tomorrow, but Moi ain't holding her breath.

So, as of the time of this writing, there's an open $8.40 underpayment on an invoice to Coutts. Just writing this post for the blog ain't worth $8.40 of moi time. Particularly as poems are priceless.


This morning, I read Jonathan Mayhew's interview of Shin Yu Pai about Shin Yu's xPress(ed) book UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS. Great interview -- and my immediate gut response was gratitude. I am grateful Jonathan took the time to pay attention and elicit such words as these excerpts:

"The first poems I wrote for the series were focused on football, hockey, roller derby, etc. I was very interested in the penalty language associated with pro sports and how this particular language socializes violence... in thinking about this violence further, it seemed to me that this rite of initiation into tribe actually occurs at an even younger age in childhood with sports like "smear the queer" (a game I had never heard about until doing some research into childhood games.) [...]

"Games like dodgeball and foursquare were part of my own experience of growing up - I was a skinny Asian girl with glasses in a predominantly African American/Latin American elementary school in the sketchy part of town. An easy target for many reasons...

"Personal context aside, the poems of "Unnecessary Roughness" actually first developed in response to the photographic work of Ferenc Suto, a fine art photographer based in New York. Ferenc was making these images of adolescent looking models dressed in oppressive vintage sports gears, coping with pain and oppression. Looking at these images really put things in a certain context and stimulated certain memories of violence, both witnessed and experienced."

And then later in interview, Shin Yu notes that UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS is a predecessor to a larger project she's working on with Ferenc:

"Sure, it's still very much a work in progress, my collaborator is working on producing the images for the manuscript and ultimately we'd like to see the work presented as both a book and as a possible traveling exhibition. I'm playing around with the idea of blowing up the texts, printing them using vinyl lettering, and transferring them on to the wall alongside the framed photographs. The texts aren't literal/illustrative responses to the images but do connect loosely to the photos, which are diverse in subject: a boxer in head gear, the back of someone's gender ambigous head wearing a lace-up wrestling mask, the back of a swimmer's shaved head with goggles. Ferenc uses some interesting processes to make these images - some of the works are Polaroid collage, other are silver gelatin prints which are than bleached to create a distressed/vintage quality."

This all resonates with me, in part because I'm in the middle of writing my art essay on John Patrick McKenzie whose unique font creates images out of words. I wonder if the look of the text -- not (just the meanings of the text but their visual way of being displayed -- would be relevant to Shin Yu's project. In any event, good job you two!

And of course I'm not surprised that xPress(ed), one of my favorite publishers continues to release great work out there! YaY Jukka!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


So one of moi peeps wakes me this morning with this email:

Dear Mrs. English,

Thank you so much, Madame, for the hefty volume that fell on my lap today, causing me to undertake, if involuntarily, a multiplicity of ejaculatory contortions that may collectively be identified as body English.


Your lapgod, er, lapdog, ever,

(aka Bewildered)
(aka Benighted)

So Moi responded to the Bewitched/Bewildered/Benighted Peep:

When it fell on your lap, I hope it didn't break anything.

And so forth doth Poetry continues on in its inimitably bewitched, bewildered and benighted way...

from the series "Blog Autobiography"

is to screen out negative energy from Galatea, which explains why the majority of moi posts are cheerful. Here, joy is a deliberate choice and practice.

Having said that, that don't mean the fallen angels are blind to what goes on beyond the Iron Gate. We do what we can, like, this week, we provide residency succor to the Lawyer Novelist -- whose February 11 post -- is a must read. To be in a profession where one attempts to help the abused can be energy-sapping. We hope Jim leaves later this week, much refreshed and ever more ready to cope with the dark sides of human nature.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


The first time I heard of Viognier, it came from Chatty's Blog. I thought that she was making up the varietal just to keep her 6 billion (and counting) voyeurs honest.
--Rhett Pascual

As I've said before, "sitemeter, sheismeeeetre." I pay attention to signs in the universe (call it "lucidity poetics") for what is my peep count. Well, I just discovered it's risen from "five billion" (courtesy of Mark Young) to "six billion and counting." But who's counting? Let's keep it clean and just say, for now, Moi have six billion peeps reading this blog.

As to other matters in that same post by Rhett,

I'ma with ya, Tatang Rhett. I also don't get that viognier grape -- though that may be because so few winemakers do it well. One who does -- and the only one so far whose viognier I've liked -- is Pride Mountain Winery. The rest? I'da tip my glass sideways for them to splash onto earth where they never shoulda left.

Thus, spakes Missy WinePoetics!

For those who monitor every mo of moi movements, Moi shall be casting her lovely eyes at the movie "Sideways" this coming Monday. Why so long for Moi to see that movie when, indeed, Moi pracices winepoetics? Because of course the best place to see it will be in St. Helena Main Street's movie theater -- where, no doubt, many vintners shall be a-chortlin' from the audience. Hic.


Speaking of WinePoetics, wine country inevitably inspires poems. I've got a few which will be appearing in the forthcoming anthology, Enopoetica: A Collection of Poetry Inspired by Wine, edited by Jen Karetnick. Apparently, Story Line Press has committed to publishing the anthology -- YaY. Congrats, Jen, and thanks for asking!

Monday, February 14, 2005


Poetry, food and wine served to provide the operating theme this weekend at Galatea (L to R in above photo: Sandy, Barbara and Moi, with baby pup Gabriela in foreground). Hmmmm, which doesn't make this weekend any different from any other day! Except that poet-chef Sandy McIntosh and his lovely wife Barbara dropped by. Not only did Sandy also read poems at the Listen & Be Heard Poetry Marathon in Vallejo curated by Martha Cinader (thanks Martha!), but he treated us to a home-cooked meal Friday. His menu:

--Various cheeses (a preponderance of cheeses with truffles)
--Mango Sardines: Mixture of mangos, sardines, cream cheese, shrimp and orange zest served cheerfully in ice cream cone wafers
--Saffron chicken with panceta, onion, mushrooms, snow peas and artichokes served over penne
--Clafoutis aux Cerises (pancakes with cherries)

The cellar rose to his culinary challenges with:
2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1992 Corton Charlemagne Bonneau du Martray
2002 Fevre Chablis Le Clos
1995 Alenza Ribera Del Duero
1966 Palmer
1998 Bryant Family Cabernet
2002 Shiraz Nine McLaren Vale shiraz
1988 Ch. Riessac sauterne

Sadly, a couple of wines died in the bottle, which we discovered while opening them up for dinner: 1976 Schloss Johannisberger Tropchanbeerenauslese and the 1990 Gaston Huet Clos Du Bourg Mouelleux Vouvray.

A lovely time was had by all, and thanks again to Chef Sandy McIntosh! Beneath his photo is the recipe for dessert.

Clafoutis aux Cerises

whipping cream
1 1/2 lbs. black cherries
4 eggs
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup flour
2 oz. butter
1 cup milk
powdered sugar

1. preheat oven 400
2. butter wide shallow ovenproof dish
3. add stoned cherries to dish
4. beat eggs slightly in bowl
5. whisk in salt and Splenda
6. blend in flour
7. melt half the butter and beat into batter
8. pour in milk, beating well
9. pour batter over cherries
10. dot with remaining butter
11. bake for 34-40 minutes, until batter has set
12. sprinkle with sugar
13. serve with whipped cream.



I got the hubby a card with a cat on it ... then forgot to give it to him. And now I won't see him again until this weekend. Well, so that's this year's Valentine's Day. So now I'm off to go lecture some students on something unknowable: Poetry. Meanwhile, here's a better version of Valentine's Day which mentions my ever-consistent and effervescent collaborator Nick:

from THE MIAMI HERALD re Nick Carbo and Denise Duhamel

Friday, February 11, 2005


Moi descends from mountain for these upcoming events -- thanks to poets Martha Cinader, Annabelle Udo, Chris Murray, Shin Yu Pai, Dale Smith and Hoa Nguyen for invites! Mayhaps I see you there at:

Saturday, February 12, 2005
Listen & Be Heard Poetry Marathon
12 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Moi will be reading at between 1 -2:30 p.m.)
listen & be heard poetry cafe
818 Marin St.
Vallejo, Ca

Wednesday, March 2, 2005
7:00 - 8:45 p.m.
Reading with Sandy McIntosh
The auditorium of the John Germany Tampa Public Library
Downtown Tampa, Fla

Then there's the trip to TEXAS! I (and Sandy McIntosh, who's not just a poet but also an award-winner for poetry in a screenplay) will be visiting critics at the Southside on Lamar residency program in Dallas. We'll offer studio crits to artists whose forms range over drawing, painting, installation, performance, photography, text, multidisciplinary povs, sculpture, and sound/video. Then we go off to these gigs, via announcement from Chris:

March 4-6, 2005
chris murray's PoetryHeat reading series at University of Texas, Arlington, in conjunction with Skanky Possum Press, Austin's 12th Street Books, Firewheel Editions/Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics and Marsh Hawk Press, are pleased to present the following events for Spring 2005:

Eileen Tabios, Sandy McIntosh
Friday, Mar 4, 7:00 pm
Rady Room, 6th floor, Nedderman Hall
University of Texas, Arlington
Arlington, Texas
Reception to follow, TBA


Eileen Tabios, Sandy McIntosh
Saturday, Mar 5, 7:00 pm
12th Street Books
827 W. 12th St.
Austin, TX
Reception to follow, TBA


Eileen Tabios & Sandy McIntosh
Sunday, March 6, 5:30 pm
Paperbacks Plus
6115 La Vista Dr
Dallas, Texas 75214
Phone for Directions: 214 827 4860
Free Admission

from the ever beloved "Achilles and Gabriela Series"

Gabriela, our six-month-old German Shepherd, loves couches! And she quickly inaugurated each of the house's, to wit this shot where she relaxes along with one of her squeaky toys:

Naturally, Achilles loves Gabriela, welcoming her right away by ... showing her the ropes via tug of war! Achilles obviously is the one on the left ("obviously" as Achilles isn't moving while Gabriela, 9 months younger, is tugging as hard as she can):

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Eileen, although by nature a conservative person, is definitely not a member of the FLUX SUX brigade; & since five billion is the next significant number (based on the Laplace operator, the sum of the second partial derivatives of a function) after the twenty million & some change she'd previously been quoting, she quite happily accepted this amended figure as the current readership of her blog.
--from Mark's Pelican Dreaming

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


So, I'm in San Francisco today due to a dentist appointment (yep, Jean, me too!). And on way back to apartment, I stopped off at The Great Overland Book Company: Fine Used Books (dontcha love that name) where I got

No Heroes, a memoir by Chris Offutt
What Shall We Do Without Us? by Kenneth Patchen
In Her Room of Never Grieve: New and Selected Poems: 1985-2003 by Anne Waldman
Confessions of an Art Dealer by John Howard Swanson

So I bring the books up to the cashier who first picks up the art book. He asks, "Are you an art dealer?"

I say, "Nope. Just interested in anything having to do with the art world."

He rings up rest of my purchases, then says, "But surely you are a poet."

I say, "Well, yes. I am."

"I am, too," he replies, then points over to a small playing-card type of broadside beneath the glass atop the desk carrying the register. "That's my poem."

I read the poem, and reply sincerely, "That's a fine poem! Good for you to write it."

We beam at each other, and as we do said beam I think how it is often the case that meeting other poets outside of po-infrastructure settings (like readings) is the most pleasurable. Relaxed chatter, just shootin' the breeze.

I point at the Waldman book which had been signed by her to "_____" and say, "It's such a small world that I bet I even know the guy who resold it to your bookstore. But mum's the word as wouldn't want Anne Waldman to know who's not keeping her book!"

Laughter. More beaming. Then he asks my name. I give him name. He said he'll look up my works. I said Thank you and that, yah, got a few books out there.

Beam again. Then I start to leave.

But on my way out the door, he calls me back. I go back. He sez, "You know, I do this radio show out in Sausalito. Poetry and jazz...."

You know the rest.


due to last night's dinner which provides this interim Galatea House Wine Update:

1998 Kistler McCrea Vineyard Sonoma Mountain chardonnay
1990 Cos facti Brunello di Montalcino
1995 Alenza Ribera del Duero Condado de Haza
1988 Ch. Rabaud-Promis

I was wining and dining with the folks at Napa Valley's "secret", Dutch Henry Winery -- it looks like there will be a book launch of my ENGLISH as a food and wine affair involving their wines...


Why would any artist devote decades of planning and millions of dollars to create a new project with the intention of destroying it a few weeks later?

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who long ago became famous for draping fabric across buildings, canyons and entire counties, first proposed festooning Central Park in 1979. Three mayors and countless hearings later, the couple has spent $21 million on "The Gates," a 23-mile procession of billowing, saffron-colored curtains that will be unfurled Saturday and dismantled on Feb. 28.

Why it's transitory: One of our workers on the night shift asked me why is it temporary," Jeanne-Claude says. "I told him to think of the rainbow. And he grabbed my arm and says, 'I think I got it: If the gates were there all the time, after a while nobody would be looking at them and the magic would be gone.' And I said, 'You've got it better than most art historians.'"

Sandy McIntoshsends me a link to Newsday's coverage of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Central Park project, "The Gates," excerpted above. I'm sad I won't see it in person. Article's worthwhile reading....also, check out Ron's post this morning for an image of Paris Review wrapped by Christo (and interesting reading of course).

This leads me to other recommended reads from what I'm reading or recently read (I use these occasional posts on reading lists to make sure I'm abiding by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge's "advice to young poets" from BLACK LIGHTNING, to wit: "wide reading"):

UNFATHOMS by Kirsten Kaschock
44 SONNETS by Mike Snider
WHAT'S WRONG by Ivy Alvarez
CONVERSATIONS by David Ignatow

Elizabeth Treadwell Jackson's books:

Tom Beckett's books:

Susan Howe's books:

My recent PAUL AUSTER binge:

I leave you with the first stanza from "Pull My Daisy" by Jack Kerouac whose SCATTERED POEMS was also on my recent reading pile:

Pull my daisy
tip my cup
all my doors are open
Cut my thoughts
for coconuts
all my eggs are broken
Jack my Arden
gate my shades
woe my road is spoken
Silk my garden
rose my days
now my prayers awaken

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Dear Poet and/or Poetry Publisher,

I am starting a new conceptual art project that addresses the notions of commercialism and ephemerality in/for poetry. For this project -- whose working title is "Commercial Poetry" -- I need donations of unsold poetry books. Specifically, 101 books each of any single title. Ideally, those titles should be of books that you feel have been/will be difficult to sell.

If you think you can participate (and have questions), please feel free to contact me at


Thanks for your time,
Eileen Tabios

P.S. Below are some links about my previous and ongoing works which may be relevant to this project:








A Conversation:

Eileen: My back REEEEEAAAAALLLLLY aches. Why are you dark-winged ones insisting on so many books from me?

Irritatedly, they pause their poker game. They mutter to the Angel who loves to piss on Eileen: It's your turn to respond to the human:

Angel who loves to piss on Eileen: You mean to say, all this time and you don't get it?

Eileen: What?

Angel: Like I said.

Eileen: C'mon! What am I not getting?

Angel: (Sighs) In order for you to exhibit "Commercial Poetry," you gotta make a lot of books. You can't make those installations and sculptures without books. Books are literally your raw material.

Eileen: I am going to have an exhibit called "Commercial Poetry"? That's news to me!

Angel: Aren't all poems news?

Eileen: Wait. You mean I'm not authoring books to be read, but to be used for some future visual art exhibit?

Angel: Did I say that? (Double Sighs) What have we said about those effin' binaries?

Long Silence. Then lightbulb appears and singes Eileen's hair.

Eileen: Oh I get it! Poetry books are commas, not periods!

Monday, February 07, 2005


And now, with help from Gura (thanks Michelle), a break from SONGS OF MOISELF to feature a tired (but happy) poet with new baby. Here's Richard Lopez and baby Nicholas!

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Scare quotes Scare quotes Scare quotes....it's impossible to say "scare quotes" rapidly and when, Susan Howe said, she did, it degenerated into "scarecrow"....which of course is wonderful since "scare quotes" is a scarecrow of sorts.

Yadda! That was just one of the many gems from last night's Small Press Traffic soiree. And I have to say that one of the disadvantages of living on the mountain is how I'm unable to attend much of the wealth of readings and other literary gatherings that so proliferate in the Bay Area....which makes it all the more special when I am able to see so many poets and writers! Thanks all for coming.

The, uh, bag of oats signed by Galway Kinnell was the most contested bid at silent auction -- it ultimately went for $3.51. (Bid increments weren't specified, you know).

And now, continuing regular programming, speaking of scare quotes -- those scarecrows probably won't be in my 2006 book since Alice Notley did it already. And did it so well!

My 2006 book!? some of youse startled peeps ask.

Um, yes. This week brought me the welcome news that my book next year will be


I know, I know -- just when I thought I'd slowed down after moi brick which isn't even officially released yet, the angels drop another book on my lap to disseminate with moi blather. Yadda. More details later (waaaay later)....

Friday, February 04, 2005

--a post dedicated to Kevin Killian

So, Moi's gotta leave Galatea's mountain tomorrow morning to go host this: SPT's Soiree Featuring an Evening with Susan Howe. Yesterday, I was making up some bid sheets for a modest silent auction during the affair. We deliberately put very low "minimum bid" requirements on various lots. The highest minimum bid will be $100 for this choice nugget:

MAC MCGINNES POSTER: A poster of a play directed by Mac McGinnes. This was the 1970s Poets Theater production of "Four Plays by Edwin Denby" (at St Marks) directed by Bob Holman, with sets by Elizabeth Murray, and the poster is designed (and signed) by Murray. It is framed in glass.

Having said that, the, uh, bag of oats signed by Galway Kinnell features a minimum bid of (drum roll....) $1.00.

Moments like this make Moi love moi life.


I was trying to forget my back pains by scrolling through Catherine Daly's descriptions of her items for sale at E-bay when she wrote:

Fabulous set of retro/vintage glassware.

The pattern is in gold (matte and shiny) and silver (matte and shiny) bands on frosted glass. The pattern / glasses are signed "Culver."

Did you know Chinese glassware is sold in sets of five, because five is the lucky family number? Anyway, there are five iced tea size glasses. There is some gold loss and I was unable to remove some of the price tag sticky stuff -- perhaps you're better at that than I am.

Dear One, to remove that sticky price tag stuff, use nail polish remover. STick a q-tip in said polish remover and rub gently and the residual stuff comes off VERY EASILY.

And what does this have to do with poetry? Well, today, I used the same trick to remove the residual stuff from a label (that said "Advance Review Copy") that had been plastered on what was a snazzy cover of a poetry book. Nope -- won't say which book...

from the series "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

Some of you gentle readers may recall that right about the turn of the year, I blogged about outstanding invoices from moi Meritage Press -- and how most small poetry presses have no wherewithals for going after peeps who refuse to pay for ordered books. The 2004 Outstanding Invoice I quoted during that post was a $15.00 overdue payment from Volume Gallery in New York City for a copy of the first book I published: John Yau's and Archie Rand's 100 MORE JOKES FROM THE BOOK OF THE DEAD.

Well, I just got a check and apology from Volume Gallery! Who'd a thunk? Do you think my strategy for blogging about deadbeat invoices worked in terms of inputting that data into their Google searches?!

Poetry publishers, take note! This may be an effective -- and low-cost!!! -- strategy! I, for one, am now about to check my files for any other deadbeat customers!


Glad to hear Ivy's poetry reading at Macdowell went well. I didn't want to tell her beforehand: my "worst" reading arguably occurred at that venerable artist colony. I had this brilliant idea of tossing out colored confetti at the audience after reading one of my poems -- to concoct a visual rainbow, if you will. But when I went to local store, they didn't have any origami paper that I'd intended to use. They did have colorful children's drafting paper. Well, the children's paper was of a heavier variety than origami paper. When I tossed out the cut up pieces of paper at the audience, it didn't float up and down, all pretty like I wanted, gracefully painting the air. The papers went up like a thunk -- actually, thunks -- against the ceiling, then rained down like colored ice on the heads of the audience. I believe the reaction could be summed up in

"stunned silence."


Artist colonies can do a lot of good -- Daniel Nester says it well (via link, courtesy of the Cackling Jackal).

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Sitemeter sheismeeetre. Moi goes by the flow of the universe in calculating the number of peeps peeping at Moi. To wit, the number rises (because of course it only rises, never drops) based on whatever messages come my way that so indicates it. So. Well, apparently, Moi is now read by five billion peeps, courtesy of an unexpected missive from Mark Young. He sent an email containing the following excerpt:

...I'm one of your five billion peeps.) I'm sure it will go well. // & to paraphrase an item I heard on last night's news. "One of the major differences in the popularity of Australian wines (in Europe) is that Californian winemakers say 'what's the best wine I can make & fuck the price' & the Australians say 'what's the best wine I can make & still sell for under $20.'"

See? Five billion peeps!

So recorded! And now, Moi am off to go smack his typing hand for his w(h)iney comment! (Actually, a lot of truth in it, but, youse know, Moi do live in California and must support such or Schwarzenneger will sit on me.)


Despite Moi, I really am humbled. Thank thee, Muses, for such blessings as this...

It's so strange (I must scroll down further on these sites to which I link). I blogged just yesterday about poetic inhalation but since I'ma running around like a headless chicken nowadays, I hadn't had a chance to read through all of their latest issue except for some poetry. Then I discover today (cause someone emailed me about it) that poetic inhalation reviewed (and with such open-mindedness and open-heartedness!) my xPress(ed) book, MENAGE A TROIS.

I go see like my dogs, nose all a-sniffing, and, O MOI GOD! How often, poets, do we get such careful, attentive reading? Thank you, Ric Carfagna for this review -- you opened your heart and revealed much generosity.

According to my Word program, Ric wrote 3,005 words. Of course I believe in quality over quantity but the length is so unusual (among poetry reviews) that I mention the word count just as another indicator for how, in Ric, MENAGE found that vaunted "perfect reader"....and I am VERY GRATEFUL, indeed. And humbled (my ass is sitting, at the moment, on the head of Moi trying to get out to scream a loud PREEEEEN).

I also like the beginning paragraphs for referencing another work that I so appreciate, Catherine Daly's collection Da Da Da ... and the fabulous work being done by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen as regards editing and publishing in poetry. Here are excerpts:

from :Let Us Now Praise Famous Women . . . ."
a review by Ric Carfagna

As in the 19th century when humanism sought to break the grip of the theocratic hierarchal influence pervading society, it seems it's now time (high time) to move, or at least adjust, the spotlight away from the patriarchal domination that overshadows so many aspects of our world; and it is the art (poetry) world that I'm particularly interested in here. So now it is time to Praise, or at least acknowledge with gratitude the accomplishments of women. Eileen Tabios and her new book, Ménage A Trois With The 21st Century does this quite nicely. And although the women Eileen 'acknowledges' might not necessarily be household names or even personages whom we have ever heard of before, their accomplishments in society and the world is significant, as we realize upon reading Ménage. Eileen's book comes on the heels of another work, Catherine Daly's Da Da Da, that prominently features the undertakings -- some overtly obvious, some more subtly hidden -- of women through the ages. I spoke at some length on Daly's work in the July review for Poetic Inhalation. Eileen and Catherine's books provide a good one-two punch to the petrified patriarchal institutions that set themselves up as consummate 'taste-makers' and authorities. Hopefully the positive trend these two poets have initiated will continue and to some degree 'even the score', if such a thing is possible, tracing such literary and other practices back to Eve! Eileen in her wisdom understands this, featuring as her heroines two women from diverse time periods: one ancient (2300BCE) and one more modern, well modern in a relative sense (18th Century). I will speak in some detail on these personas momentarily but first I would like to expound the 'physicality' of Eileen's book in general.

xPress(ed) has been offering first rate quality e-books since 2002. Jukka-Pekka Kervinen is the editor of both xPress(ed) and x-Stream, the companion e-zine of new poetry vistas. What makes this new release so special is that it is the inaugural foray of xPress(ed) into the world of the 'empirical' book. Ménage A Trois With The 21st Century is an appropriate jumping off point for xPress(ed) so soon into this new century. It sets the stage for what will hopefully be a long illustrious publishing career. Jukka, who is a first rate poet and cutting-edge poetic experimenter, is also proving himself to be a top-notch editor. He possesses a keen eye for uncovering and disseminating new and exceptional poetic talent, and 'exceptional' is most assuredly the word I would use to describe the poetry of Eileen Tabios.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Spaces are nearly sold out! Have you ordered your tickets for this must affair this coming Saturday? Missy WinePoetics is serving wine!

Saturday February 5
SPT 10th Annual Benefit Soiree:
an evening w/ Susan Howe

@ the home of Eileen Tabios
tickets $40
call 415-551-9278 to order

There also will be a modest silent auction -- every little bit helps nonprofit poetry organizations, as we all know. What's a hoot is that, courtesy of Kevin Killian, one of the items to be auctioned off is a bag of oats (oatmeal?) signed by Galway Kinnell.

I am giggling here over the notion of a bag of oats and Galway Kinnell -- I'm not really sure why....


Breathe deep, swallow hard, love this
life of serious folly.
--from “God’s Body or Mine” by Barry Schwabsky

Such lovely poems by Barry over at the new poetic inhalation! Do go check out these poems by Barry -- they're so ... STRONG. (Curious to me how it's that word that pops up as an adjective when I was trying to think of a one-word description for his poems. Anyway...) Barry's poems are from his collection For Despair which will be published in December by the laudable Seeing Eye Books out of Los Angeles.

Coeditors Andrew Lundwall and Star Smith do such a fine job for poetry and art! Other featured poets in the February issue, whose works are all illustrated with art by terry rentzepis, are steven allen may, diana magallon, bob marcacci, gabriella salas, phillip tinkler, gary graybill, mike estabrook, steve finbow, erick nordenson, lorraine graham, and adam lizakowski!

Barry also sent me some homework. To listen to his TOP 2004 CD's! So my ears are all a-perk!

Barry Schwabsky's top CD's 2004

1. Feist - Let It Die
2. Mum - Summer Make Good
3. The Earlies - These Were
4. Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender
5. Ella Guru -The First Album
6. P.J. Harvey - Uh Huh Her
7. The Ladybug Transistor - The Ladybug Transistor
8. various - The Late Great Daniel Johnston
9. Murcof - Utopia
10. Dizzee Rascal - Showtime
11. Sons and Daughters - Love the Cup
12. Jens Lekman - When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog
13. Electrelane - Power Out
14. Khonnor - Handwriting
15. Youssou N'Dour - Egypt
16. The Arcade Fire - Funeral

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

from the beloved "Achilles & Gabriela Series"

She never allowed
her stomach's grumblings
to complain.
Never minded she was
the smallest from
so little food.
For when you looked
into her eyes,
there was a spirit
that never went
--from "For Gabriela" by Michelle Bautista

Thanks Gura for the poem for Gabriela. I'm pleased to report that her hunger seems to have stabilized. Her recommended dosage for her puppy kibble is 6 cups a day. The first three days she was with me, she was eating more like 8 cups. Today, she was happy with 5 1/2 cups. Her kibble, of course, is augmented by tidbits from Achilles' more delicious fare of real turkey meat, pasta, olive oil, hard-boiled eggs and potatos. Granted, Mama Moi overfed her turkey skin the first day and while Gabriela enchantingly scarfed said skin down rapidly, she just as rapidly barfed it back up at Mama. All this with a twinkle in her eyes. All very enchanting. Yadda.


As I said in moi prior post, I've been engrossed in Jukka-Pekka Kervinen's recent poetry collection, cornucopia. And I've been engrossed partly because, by reading through his collection, I wrote a new poetic series, "The Masvikiru Quatrains." From Zimbabwe's Shona culture, "masvikiru" means "spirit mediums." But before I tell you about my poems, let me share some background about their inspiration as created by Jukka. To wit:

Jukka apparently wrote cornucopia as a sample of what he calls "statistical writing." Basically, the poem results from a computer program, in this case one that utilizes three statistical distributions -- uniform, binomial, and Gaussian (normal) -- to avoid patterns. The (pattern) exception is that, in punctuation, a period is used each time the program encounters a space in its source vocabulary. For cornucopia, Jukka’s sources were excerpts from John Locke’s “The Essay of Toleration” and Antonio Gramsci’s "Letters from Prison.”

I've collaborated with Jukka before, but not to the extent I did for purpose of writing my 65-part "The Masvikiru Quatrains." One reason why I enjoy collaborating with Jukka is that he so takes, as a BEGINNING POINT, a very different -- nay, perhaps the opposite -- tack from how I approach my poems. That is, he deliberately tries to be dispassionate (so to speak) whereas I fling myself naked, feathers matted and blood rushing into the poetry-writing. Cough. Exemplifying what I mean is that, consistent with his long-time investigations into computer-generated texts and poems, Jukka says that he never edits the results: "My 'philosophy' is simple and clear: if I use the computer to generate music/poems I must be satisfied with the results without any editing. I don't change a single word/note. Otherwise I must do whole thing without computers!"

And yet the reason why cornucopia works as a poem is the strength of its poetic music, such that, EFFORTLESSLY, reading through it allowed me to write new poems which I intended as pure (abstract) music in the sense I can write such (explained more fully below). This leads me to the other reason why I like collaborating with Jukka. We may begin from disparate if not opposite points, but we end up in the same space for the poem: music.

cornucopia consists of 65 pages of words. There are no discernible beginnings or endings to the piece. There are no titles, line breaks or paragraph breaks. It's just a 65-page block of words. Yet, as I began reading it, I started reading music by sensing such music (through rhyme and rhythm and my subjective interpretations of pacing and tone) even as I also considered the text "visual" a la dark, seemingly single-color canvases.

After my read -- and conclusion that what I experienced through such reading was music -- I queried Jukka about my response. Jukke replied that he also found the computer-generated results "surprisingly musical." But as Jukka explained, "One reason for this might be that the program was first used to generate a cello piece (punctuation vs. silence/very loud (low) strokes)."

Jukka, for those of you who don't know, is a composer. The cello piece he references can be seen at http://xpressed.sdf-eu.org/kervinen (see Compositions-Computer-generated scores-eXudes for cello solo).

Okay -- you still with me? Anyway, so I then stumbled onto cornucopia's scene as a reader. And, as I said earlier, I found that each page generated for me a new poem. Specifically, each line generated three word lines. Each stanza was in quatrains written by deleting from consideration every fifth line on the page (that deletion being equivalent to a stanza break). In each three word-line, the first word is followed by a colon so that the next two words offers a relationship to the first word based on said colon.

But to write -- and hopefully for the reader to read -- these quatrains was also based on a sense of musicality that arose effortlessly from the text. cornucopia as a source text, moreover, is so musical that even as I wrote my poems, I sensed that there were other parallel poems threaded through the pages.

Still, I didn't write this series only from a sense of "soundscape" (as partly discussed in Tom Beckett's wonderful interview of Thomas Fink). I not only sought to extend my investigation of the colon punctuation mark (which I began with poems that make up my Belladonna (chap)Book, The Estrus Gaze(s)) but wanted to translate Zimbabwean Shona sculpture methodology into writing poems.  By the latter, I mean that I had to chip away at cornucopia's prose blocks to release new poems. Shona sculptors believe that spirits reside in stones and when they sculpt from stones, they basically are trying to release the spirits into what we later see as sculpted forms. (Here's a link to Shona sculpture, though that link seems to propagate what may be a commonly-held error -- the idea that modern Shona sculptures have been around since the 1960s when they've been around for at least since the turn into the 20th century). From cornucopia, I sought to write poems to release one of the many hidden strains of music I sensed as spirits beneath each of cornucopia's pages.

I offer the first poem from this series over at my GASPING Poem Blog. It is titled "Page 4" as its source text is cornucopia's page four. Synchronistically, SOFTBLOW journal just accepted three other poems from this series and they will be available in March (thanks to editor Cyril Wong).


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?