Saturday, July 30, 2005

From the series "Blog Autobiography"

is, as my blog template indicates, the Chatelaine's (primary) day job. Here's a picture of me in my "office," Charles of Orleans' Wine Cellar, with visiting artists Stella Lai and Julio Cesar Morales. Needless to say, that's Achilles by moi feetsies:

As for Charles of Orleans? The royal Dude is the author of the first single-author book of English lyric poetry (6,500 lines!) -- which is ironic given how this Frenchman learned English through his exile/imprisonment in England. Diasporic revenge!?

Anyway, here's a poem that facilitated how this poet was reduced by scholars scoffingly as a mere romantic poet when he was actually "was an able administrator and a good politician who worked tirelessly from prison to free his brother, govern his lands, and protect his property, that he worked for peace between France and England, that he suffered much sorrow in his life (not least because of his long imprisonment), and that he was devout. Charles of Orleans was not a passive prisoner. In comparison with the library of his contemporary Philip the Good of Burgundy, Charles's books reveal a serious, reflective turn of mind, one more interested in philosophy, science, and theology than in chronicle and romance."

by Charles D Orleans (Written in 1450)
Strengthen, my Love, this castle of my heart,
And with some store of pleasure give me aid,
For Jealousy, with all them of his part,
Strong siege about the weary tower has laid.
Nay, if to break his bands thou art afraid,
Too weak to make his cruel force depart,
Strengthen at least this castle of my heart,
And with some store of pleasure give me aid.
Nay, let not Jealousy, for all his art
Be master, and the tower in ruin laid,
That still, ah Love! thy gracious rule obeyed.
Advance, and give me succour of thy part;
Strengthen, my Love, this castle of my heart.

Friday, July 29, 2005


And now Lorna Dee Cervantes is the latest poet who I notice turns her hand to the hay(na)ku form! Via a link from Ernesto Priego who's latest hay(na)ku "Reverse" is also a dream of a poem (!), check out Lorna's lovely "Another Summer Day" at Cafe Cafe! Whilst there, of course, check out Sheila Murphy's continued glad-handlings of this form with her poem "nocturne in four"!

So now Mark, Jean, Jukka and I are gearing up to prep THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY for design work and then to printer. Peeps -- this will be ideal for Holiday gift-giving this year!!!!

Mark -- yep, the insertion of "First" in title is a great idea! I love its optimism! And seeing how stellarly the latest poets are taking it up -- whether Lorna or Rebeka Lembo or Harry Stammer, Sheila Murphy, Neon and others on As-Is, and many others -- certainly encourages that there can be a "next" anthology in the offing!

Keep impressing me, y'all -- and I'll dig deeper into that flour canister for money to finance the next THE NEXT HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY....!

I'm obviously really heartened by the way the hay(na)ku has found its way into several heartlands in the poetry world. The form, I understand, also will be represented in various upcoming single-author poetry collections (wave at Aimee and Tom!).

You also can see some hay(na)ku in Mark Young's The Cicerone as well as Sandy McIntosh's new release, The After-Death History of My Mother....I mention Sandy here, in part because Moi, aka "Missy WinePoetics", notes Sandy's recent contribution to my WinePoetix Review which updates the discourse on Long Island wines.

Anyhoo -- it's uplifting to see a community of poets when everyone's focused on the poems themselves. Makes me all cheery and amiable -- and if there is a cheery or amiable poetic form out there, it's definitely the hay(na)ku!!

Agyamanac unay. Thank you very much. Dios ti Agngina.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


A Peep backchanneled a query re my recently-completed manuscript REBELS FROM BIBLES (scroll below to yesterday's post), which made me realize I should clarify. I don't mean to give the impression I wrote the thing in two days. The poems were already written -- and, in fact, written during a ten-year period -- and what I did in the past two days was collect together a new manuscript from my inventory (so to speak) of poems that had not appeared in my prior poetry collections.

Some of the poems are among the first I wrote. In fact, I'm going to reprint below "The Rebel's Son" because it is so unlike how I write today. If I recall correctly, "The Rebel's Son" was one of the first 25 poems I wrote shortly after I began writing poems -- the journal that later published it even nominated it for a Pushcart Prize.

I mention that nomination, not coz I care so much about prizes for poems but because if one compares "The Rebel's Son" to my recent writings like here, here, here, here, here and here, you then can make up your own mind as to whether my writing has deteriorated or improved. Believe me, some would say DETERIORATED! Heh!

And I also reprint this poem to mark the disgrace that is known as certain Philippine politicians -- this poem should be outdated by now and yet you lying arrogant bastards continue to do ill by the Filipino people. No wonder I stopped writing poems about the Philippines -- my poems rebel against your corruption, your jaded cynical hearts, and your ever-fattening bellies while the people starve and drop out of schools they can't afford. Shame on you for continuing to mortage a future that was never yours to eat.

The Rebel's Son

Skinny. Toys of twigs, cracked stones,
two matchboxes cradling spiders,
an earthworm in a tin can. Ignored

by neighbors fussing over mother fussing
over father's impending arrival.
Hums to himself as women weep

over their best bowls and platters
created by foregoing
yesterdays' meals. What they offer

is meager: also more than generous.
Skinny. Approaches the table
-- hears a grumble begin beneath his ribs

at the sight of more food than his home
has ever contained at any one moment in time.
But he waits patiently for father's return:

it will be the first time his father
will not pass through the door on his own feet.
He will arrive a hero borne

unbegrudgingly on bony shoulders
a hero contained by a wooden container
mother described with an alien word: coffin.

An eternity earlier, father placed calloused palms
on each of Skinny's cheeks. Father said, "I must go
to feed your body, your spirit, my spirit."

Hums to hide his question to the earthworm,
"Didn't father know I would rather not eat
than have him live forever in that box?"

An eternity later, (still) Skinny marvels still
at the definition of dictatorship --
people eating their fill only at funerals.


Let me first say that I am sincerely enjoying Ted Kooser's autobiography, LOCAL WONDERS: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps. By becoming the U.S. Poet Laureate, however, Ted Kooser becomes more than just his biographical details. Call it Celebrity. And, as we know, celebrities (can) reflect their times.

So then, Kooser's autobiography made me consider a new poetic series: working title, reflecting concept, would be


I tried to begin it this morning with a poem and came up with a quartet of quartets:

Where he comes from
"ladies" spend a lot
of time waiting
in pick-up trucks

Over there, the hats
tipped back from
men's sweaty foreheads
disrupt clean horizontal line

"Bye, bye, Baby," ladies
want to whimper
then silently open
ex-passenger doors

Dust falls, sheething
unpowdered faces
with welcome veils.
This is a Poet Laureate's America.

Well, isn't that special? No, actually. It is not.

That flat and flattening lingo bores me out of this series before I've barely begun it. I'ma now thinking of making said "series" a one-hit non-wonder.

But let me try a bit longer. In poems, I've tried sex, politics, hunger, love, hate, hoo-haa, hoo-haa. But I don't think I've tried boredom.

Well, yawn. Why not?

Actually -- if I drop this series, it's more likely because I don't want to engage inadvertently in character assassination of Ted Kooser. He may have been annointed by Bush-ites, but he is not the problem (unless, that is and it well may be, we are all part of the problem). As a poet, I'd like to behave in a different way than conducting papparazzi poetics.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


The Prayer's Reflection

For years, I've met people who tried to denigrate me and what I do by noting my childlessness. As if that is the inevitably final conclusion to the meaning of my life.

Was thinking of that today...which is to say, I am doubting everything I've ever done (and done with much fecundity). Comes with the territory, we all know.

Which is why it's ever more important to surround one's self with people smart enough to understand the nature of cruelty, including its inadvertence.

After such comprehension, compassion if they're your friends. But without the condition precedent of understanding, then doubled cruelty.

Doubled, because then the victim, having been victimized, must become the one to forgive. Jesus Christ understood this: vinegar against the wound.

And now you ask me to die for you. "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." This is a poem because this is a prayer.

But something else happened and I do not possess blindness as excuse. Is this a prayer because this is a poem? Or, blasphemy?

The rose inherently belies its thorns. But, once, a nightstorm. The following morning revealed a rose whipped off by the wind to fall. Impaled on its own branch's thorn.

Colors became confused. The branch became blue and the hidden sky green
. I didn't notice the confusion because I was making a poem. But now I see the subversion of the color wheel. And still I am writing a poem.

I am writing a poem to reach this conclusion. It is all prayer. It is all blasphemy. The poem, too, can pray blasphemously. Against that truth, the impossibility of infertility. The rose never lost its red lipstick.


You've heard talk, I'm sure -- if only coz Moi have talked about it -- about how some poets sometimes get overcomed into writing the poem? Overcome by the "Muse" or whoever/whatever that indefinable is?

Well, in the past two days, I was overcomed into creating a new poetry collection. The title:


Believe me, I know darn well the last thing the world needs is another new poetry collection from me. So I certainly wasn't looking to create a new one. But the Fallen Angels were bored with poker, I suppose, and they yanked my thinning hair and thinned it further these past two days.

Matter of fact, I woke up yesterday with two white strands of hair amidst my ebonies. Plucked them both out viciously as vicious can be while the angels laughed.

The only good news about this is that it's only 122 pages long. If I'd done a brick's worth in two days, I might've ended up all snow-haired. That's right, Peeps. Ask me what's more important to Moi -- a new poetry book or hair retaining its youth. You got it -- and she pats her silky strands...

Meanwhile, there it is anyway. 122 pages. REBELS FROM BIBLES. I just know you poetry publishers are salivating over the prospect. (Yeah, right). Holler at Moi -- I ain't doing anything for the rest of the week but combing moi hair.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

from the much-beloved "Achilles and Gabriela Series"

at you, Lee Herrick. Achilles and Gabriela, moi two German Shepherds, want to be included in your discourse of poets with pets. Here they are!

I know I've posted them before but it seems like you newbie po-bloggers need to be reminded of occasional historical events here on blogland. For instance, the first photo -- Gabriela as "Miss January" -- undoubtedly inspired some of these po-calendar efforts going on about blogland. And the second photo -- why, in the words of Senor Bramhall, that's nothing less than Gabriela and Achilles addressing Foetry.com! ENJOY!


Sometimes, I think of immortality.

Sip. Coffee. Low-fat milk. One-and-a-half packets of Equal.

And when I think of immortality, I usually ... cackle, dribbling my carefully-prepared coffee down these mosquito-bitten cheeks.

And I cackle for such reasons as has come up whilst doing my blog-jog this morning. To wit, over at the Never Neutral Ernesto, I stumbled across an English translation by Jonathan Evans of a free-verse poem by Swedish poet Edith Sodergran. The original was first published in 1916. And Jonathan Evan's translation uses the hay(na)ku form!!

I totally love how the hay(na)ku has gotten away from Moi!

And this relates to immortality because this result subverts the kind of documentation reliant on a nebbish byline like "By Eileen Tabios." Instead, my "keeper" projects -- ye olde energizer bunnies that go on and on beyond any efforts of mine -- have been those I've not kept: projects that fly on the wings of others, like Six Directions, like the hay(na)ku....like (wink) the papery snake-skins sloughed off by this blog.

And Mama Moi's role here is just to sniffle as she coos at her babies traipsing off Galatea's mountain and daring to risk their lives far beyond the protection of the Iron Gate -- Go on. Go on. Go into the world and let the world etch their lovely tattoos against your blank-page skins. And tattoos sometimes hurt. And sometimes draw blood. But when done right/write, it'll be written on the skin. And finally, oh Poem, your body will be visible.

Something like that.

So thanks to Ernesto for posting this latest bod whose skin I can enjoy without needing to have been present in that tattoo parlor where alchemy occurred. It's a good thing, too, because I can't draw worth shit and had I wielded that needle the results would not have been purty. This, on the other hand (your hand, not mine), is the Poetry beyond Words:


words, fine
words, deep words

are like
the scent of

night flower
you can't see

them hides
the empty space

they are
love's curling smoke

- Edith Sodergran, from her collection 'Dikt' (1916), English hay(na)ku version by Jonathan Evans


Of course Moi purred, not to mention preened, when I heard recently from Lee Herrick, who sez:

Eileen, I wanted to thank you for linking to my blog. When I saw that I thought it would be a good time to tell you that I bought Black Lightning when it first came out and it remains one of my five or six favorite books. Beautiful, full, and more insightful than nearly any other book I've read before or since. It was especially meaningful because I did an MA in comp/rhetoric, not an MFA so I was/am removed somewhat from that world. // I put it in the category of books like Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, Hugo's The Triggering Town, and Ezra Pound's the ABCs of Reading as essential books about writing poetry any poet should have. As an APA poet especially, it's definitely a must read.

Oh yeah! That lightning is still striking!

Thank you, Lee. As one with an MBA, not MFA, the two years I spent putting together BLACK LIGHTNING was, for me, an accelerated way to learn poetry. I'm always glad (and actually even humbled, and it takes a lot to do said humbling) to hear that that project is meaningful to others.

And for those of you who haven't seen/read Black Lightning, not only would a purchase be a good way to support AAWW, a nonprofit literary organization, but Black Lightning is an unusual read: it presents first drafts, intermediary drafts, and then the "final draft" of poems so you can see how said poems evolve...along with my incisive interviews and analyses of such processes, of course. Cough. And just lookit at the range of these subject poets! (It occurs to me I have some spare authors' copies so if you wanna trade ...)

Anyhoo, speaking of books -- and wine as I'ma always talkin' wine whether or not I mention such -- here's this past week's RELISHES:

MEMORY CARDS & ADOPTION PAPERS, poems by Susan M. Schultz

MUSIC AND SUICIDE, poems by Jeff Clark

THE FATALIST, poems by Lyn Hejinian

UNTITLED, WOMAN ON GROUND (Belladonna Chap #65) by Renee Gladman

A HUNDRED WHITE DAFFODILS: ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS, THE AKHMATOVA TRANSLATIONS, NEWSPAPER COLUMNS, AND ONE POEM by Jane Kenyon (I have to say that Kenyon's translations aren't making me curious about reading more Akhmatova, one of those poets I've been meaning forever to check out more in depth. If anyone has a suggestion for a translated version of Akhmatova, let me hear from you.)

Parts from INDIVISIBLE, poetry by Fanny Howe

UTDALLAS SOUTHSIDE ARTIST RESIDENCY: THE FIRST TWO YEARS (samples of works by artists who did residencies at UT Dallas Southside, including Shin Yu Pai)

DESESPERANTO: POEMS 1999-2002 by Marilyn Hacker

ARTS OF THE POSSIBLE, essays by Adrienne Rich

THE LANGUAGE OF LIFE: A Festival of Poetry, presented by Bill Moyers

(Hmmmmm...actually, I haven't read a romance in a while...)

1994 Tinto Pesquera Ribera Del Duero
1994 Remelluri Rioja
2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay Los Carneros
1996 William Selyem Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyards Sonoma
2002 Melka Wines "Chloe Jeremy" Cabernet Sauvignon
1998 William Selyem Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
1993 Nuits Saint George "Les Demodes"
2002 Kistler Pinot Noir
Hurley's house chardonnay

Monday, July 25, 2005


might be here. That is, I think it works. If so, Finally!

I've had *anti-war poems* published before but always thought that in those earlier efforts, "anti-war" was privileged over "poem" -- and I didn't mind releasing them for that reason, given what was at stake. And so the Muse redeems Moi faith -- that the other poems were all legitimate drafts to what ultimately I wrote today.



My punctuation! This is something important to my composing. I use commas and dashes to make sentences. I realize there's often ambiguity as to whether a comma is part of a sentence within a line or marks the end of a sentence within a line. This I hope allows for closer and/or more creative readings, though I don't do this intentionally. I rarely use end-line punctuation unless it's part of the sentence. I like using commas for parenthetical purposes, which drags the rhythm then releases it back into the stream. Also, commas make the parenthetical seem less parenthetical than parenthesis marks would. The parenthetical is never parenthetical, else it would not be there in the first place. An addition is an addition whether one whispers it in parenthesis marks or places it more equally alongside other words.
--Jeff Harrison

Jeff Harrison and Allen Bramhall interview each other on a new blog ANTIC VIEW. I'm enjoying what I've read so far. And the above paragraph certainly resonates, not just because it relates to what I explore in my latest manuscript (The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I). In offering some copy editing remarks last week to Sean Finney's forthcoming book The Obedient Door (Meritage Press, Fall 2005), 98% of my suggestions had to do with punctuations.

It's a complicated thing -- in poems, I'm often unsure whether the resulting punctuations are as the author intended or typos and the author is later forced (in the sage advice of Sandy McIntosh) to pretend afterwards that, of course, everything was intended.

Anyhoo, check out Jeff and Allen. Their antic views seem purrrfectly sane to Moi.


Napa Valley contains some of the best -- and most pricey -- restaurants in the world, e.g. the vaunted French Laundry. But if you're interested in a fabulous bargain, I discovered one this weekend -- check on WinePoetix blog's post yesterday on Hurley's Restaurant in Yountville for details. Unfortunately, that Vintner's Lunch special ends at 4 p.m. but, the info's there for your, uh, info.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Everything -- even you, Fabio!

Well. So some blog-peeps try to dazzle with erudition. Then there's Moi cheerfully noting the role of pulp romance novels in her life. To my lack of surprise (and that's sad that I'm not surprised, btw), some peeps have backchanneled -- amazed? awed? -- that I freely admit to occasionally cozying up to the bodice-ripper.

Like, what? That's more embarassing than discussing how, at age 44, I bought my first condom? (Thanks for giving me the reason, Nick...heh!).

Or, like what? That said admittance might damage my reputation as a "serious" poet? (Do I redeem myself by noting that I recently bought SOLDIERS & GHOSTS: A HISTORY OF BATTLE IN CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY by J.E. Lendon and DECISION AT SEA: FIVE NAVAL BATTLES THAT SHAPED AMERICAN HISTORY by Craig L. Symonds? Hmmm: or does the fact that I include this parenthetical mean I'm not as sanguine on the impression my admittance makes of moi?)

In any event, this is moi poetics blog, folks. And as one of my early mentors once observed and I now share with you -- Poetry can be about everything, and if anything can be a wet blanket over one's poetic exploration, I've found it to be pure and simple snobbery -- particularly as regards the difference between high brow and low brow.

And now, a new Peep has written in -- albeit anonymously -- as regards moi prior post; I print it below as it amuses moi -- this mot from an email whose subject header proclaimed "i used to fantasize about being the damsel in distress":

hehehe.... * can i walk the red carpet of shame too?* I was just reading your post, hhmm.. it brought back a lot of happy memories for me. I used to devour those books on weekends, while eating chips a hoy cookies and other goodies; probably the only type of books you can eat too. Other literary books require too much attention. It's upsetting not to notice crumbs falling on your shirt, when you get up, it just sorta sprinkles everywhere. I think my favorite has to be 'my knight in shining armour by Judy Deveraux'. Understand i will never admit to any of this stuff in person, one has to maintain a level of dignity, albeit, imaginary, or not. But i think the best thing about them novels is that they're so easy to read, & in the end you always feel rewarded for your efforts, cause they usually have a happy ending. But by far, the most embarrasing part about reading those books is the book covers...it just makes you feel dirty holding it in your hand, I mean where do they get those long haired, over-rippled guys, and how much money do they pay them to pose like that? ‘supresses a mighty giggle’. I don't underestand the Fabio appeal, i really don't. care to shed some light? :) *evil grin*

Cough. Well, Anonymous, I don't understand the Fabio appeal either. The "romance novels" I've read have mostly excluded those with Fabio on the cover. And, in general, the combination of long hair more elegantly groomed than mine with over-bouldered pectorals is not a juxtaposition that appeals. But I look at it, I look at it -- I don't want to be a judgmental snob here. As a poet -- and as I once ended a poem which you can see here by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page -- "All is my fodder: All is my father."


and Allen's report of his yard and book sale so cheered me this morning!!!! MICHELLE BAUTISTA TAKE NOTE! I enjoyed his report for the same reason I enjoy it when Michelle posts about (and not often enough) her garage sales.

I ABSOLUTELY ADORE GARAGE SALES but I haven't attended one in years if not decades. I should address this -- I think I can use this is a layer on my AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF COMMODITIES project.

These "used" objects sales reveal a lot, moithinks, about human nature.

Now, since the focus is on books, I will admit that I often read but don't allow any romance books to remain in the "library." I read these romance commodities because they allow me to meditate -- i.e., it's not like they really deeply engage, you know? So I find them relaxing as moi mind skims into abstract relaxation. But because I consider these romances interchangeable, I don't see the point in collecting them. You got one, say, Harlequin Romance -- you've got them all.

I don't say that to diss Harlequini Romances. A good friend's mother collects them -- she planned to have every single Harlequin Romance ever printed. If you think about that, that is a great idea for a collection, for the same reason that I consider one book indistinguishable from the other. Their covers are usually pretty in pink or pastel types, last I checked -- which means it'd be like collecting, oh, I don't know "fiesta ware"?

Anyhoo....Sunday is for blathering about topics that have no stake -- and, also relevant to one's ability to posture on discourse nowadays, it's nearly 110 degrees here in Napa....

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Several peeps had contacted me as regards the Napa Valley Writers' Conference which opens in moi hometown tomorrow. Problem is, I'd told those Peeps I expected to be in Tokyo this coming week. Well, my trip to Japan was pushed into late August so I'm around. Sadly, this doesn't mean I'm available to meet and greet. No need to go into details but let me just apologize and I hope you all have a good time in wine country.

In other matters, thanks to Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Steve Potter and Sam Rasnake for their acceptances that give future homes to some of my poems through, respectively, eratio postmodern poetry, Wandering Hermit Review, and Blue Fifth Review. These are my newer poems which will end up in my 2006 book The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I. I am grateful, and please consider this paragraph to be advance Acknowledgments.


Maybe Your Problem

is you'd rather look at
the infinite world

through slitted eyes

And though your reasons
may be reasonable

I prefer my words
and face

less wrinkled,
"Thank you very much"


And you're still

You prefer the killing
to the breathing

in of this infinite

Friday, July 22, 2005


"which song brings stone's rise and water's fall / into the bending of wrists and ankles / and broken corners for dust to change light." These are lines from [Sean Finney's] poem "What the Leopards Reject." We would be wise to ignore the leopards' whims and feast on the scraps he has so eloquently assembled for us, which are in fact those of life itself."
--John Ashbery

Did it and did it goooooood!

That is, just put to bed the production of Meritage Press' next book, Sean Finney's first poetry collection entitled THE OBEDIENT DOOR.


With fabulous drawings and design by Ward Schumacher and Lori Barra (click on their links for the unexpected!).

Sean's manuscript should go to the printer's tomorrow and certainly be out in time for fabulous Fall gigs by Sean, including at LitQuake this October!


Thursday, July 21, 2005


"Action Station" is art without a recipe. The ingredients are provided and may be beautiful to contemplate, but you'll have more fun if you are willing to mix things up and light the oven. Not that the art is in any way shapeless or indeterminate, but the experience will yield more if you take the initiative and don't sit back passively hoping it will come to you on a platter. Exhibition curator Sue Spaid is interested in "That point where the artist gives up authorship and allows the viewer to participate in the creation of meaning."
--Isabel Anderson on the exhibit "Action Station: Exploring Open Systems," Santa Monica Museum of Art

An unexpected benefit of learning from Geoff Huth's work on visual poetry is how such lessons enabled me to finally "get" the work of an artist previously closed to my imagination: Carol Szymanski.

I first saw Szymanski's works during an exhibit in the mid-1990s of what looked like brass instruments, but reconfigured into shapes that address language, specifically phonemes. You can see a good example through the reproduction of her sculpture "Vase" (Voz), brass, 10", 1995 here. Another fine example is her "How" (Hau), brass, 9 x 12 x 7", 1995 here.

But while intrigued by Szymanski's sculptures, I had a block, somehow, in engaging emotionally (and not just intellectually) with them. That all changed after I thought about certain works by Geoff Huth that reconfigured letters, for instance “The Bowl of Her Eye” (10 Jul 2005); this is the last image illustrating the interview of him at Exchange Values, conducted by Crag Hill and Ron Silliman. Another helpful example is "Is , Mailart , This , Mailart ?" (visual essay, 1989) from Geoff's own blog.

Geoff's treatment of letters made me reconsider Szymanski's brass instrument sculptures of sound in a new way -- made me look at sound in an enlightened way.

So thank you Geof Huth for opening up for me the work of an artist that intrigued me but remained unfathomable. You've keyed open my subjective lock to a certain oven, and now I can go bake some opinion cakes. Saliva rushes and rises...


So here's a version of my idiot conversation du jour that apparently was spurred in part by my prior post:

Some Misguided Peep (SMP) -- specifically a careerist poet dying to get onto everyone's "lists" -- to Moi: You know, the more you talk about, and encourage others to refer to, your ethnicity, the more you'll be ignored by the majority of the poetry world.

Moi: Your point is?

SMP: Don't you want recognition for your work?

Moi: Do I not blog?

SMP: So shouldn't you be contextualizing your work in other ways that might be more of interest to those who promote poetry in the larger arena?

Moi: Do I not discuss sex?

SMP: You know what I mean.

Moi: Yes...and you've just been banned from Galatea's mountain by the Iron Gate.

And the denizens of Napa Valley see a quick flash across the sky that they think could be a comet.....when actually it was SMP being booted off Galatea's mountain where no negative energy can remain.


Pathetic. Reminds me of a nationally-recognized poet "advising" me early on that I'm (supposedly) a "good enough" poet that I need not identify myself as an ethnic-American poet. What crap! But that's one of the idiotic notions out there, ain't it -- that one begins as a newbie poet relying on ethnic markers and then one can let go of said ethnic markers if one gets sufficient recognition?

Was that what one's culture was supposed to be about -- a promotional gimmick in one's poetry career?


Fortunately, I didn't have to start wine-ing early to get rid of that crappy taste left in my mouth by that conversation. Because a Peep reveals himself or herself or hirself as "mushr" to write:

"i stumbled upon your website by chance just a few days ago; i’ve been reading it since. i’d have to say that you’ve mastered the art of blogging. reading it, one gets the feeling of surreptitiously peeking inside of a tent to watch a peep show; but instead of seeing dancing, jiggling show girls; you get dancing, jiggling poets instead, i don’t think they are naked, not in the usual sense, anyway, cause that would be truly disturbing, that would be taking the poetic license a little too far, i would say. but who am i to speak, i’m only an aspiring vogon poet from the philippines, that’s who… who has pretty much given up on my dreams of becoming a poet, except for a little, tiny, weeny, microscopic, mala-bubwit voice in my heart that tells me to never give up, ituloy ang laban hangang sa kamatayan (verbatim).

"i don’t really remember how i landed on your sight, allz i remember was that i was trying to scrounge up more Information on Jose Garcia Villa, (since my knowledge of noypi poetics is so small, more like nonexistent). i wanted to find out more about him, & if he had a collection of poems on-line, cause i wanted to get more acquainted with his writings. & this is how i came upon your essay, or was it an introduction of his book, anchored angel, anyway to make a long story short, that’s pretty much how i got here, through a simple twist of faith & a lot of links.

"it’s very encouraging to know that there’s a thriving community of Filipino poets out there in the Literary Universe, thanks to your blog i’m getting to know some of them, also. i’ve already googled Paolo Javier’s poetry. i don’t claim to understand his intent, but some of his poetry seems pretty dark and brooding, scathing actually is more the word i was looking for. like a dark stallion, from a far it really looks beautiful and majestic, but you’re kinda afraid to get close to it. but later on i’m gonna read his stuff again and this time hopefully i will crack thru the surface, does he have a blog too?

"i’ve also downloaded Songs of the Colon, i’m not done with it yet, cause this book really requires a lot of time, silence and thinking. my favorite so far is estrus gaze #8. i like the fragmentary beauty of this poem, especially when it reaches its climax in that line that goes, "the wave is perfect for being temporary". i think beauty that is fleeting is the most precious, because every minute you’re in its presence that moment is intensified. there’s almost this insane urgency to hang on to that moment, because you know you can never possess it. sooner or later, you would’ve abandoned it or it would’ve abandoned you; like that poem, after i’ve done reading it, it will be over for me, & just beginning for somebody else. even though i can always re-read it or maybe memorize some lines, it will never be as perfect as when i first encountered this poem and its light was revealed to me, that moment will only happen once.

"about the rest [of Songs of the Colon], i think some of the stuff here is meant to open up some unexplored regions of your brain, cause i certainly feel light-headed after reading some of them, especially the masvikuru quatrains, i don’t even know if i am reading it right. this is the first time i’ve encountered the word: definition format of poetry, or is it word: deconstruction. anyway, it’s exciting when you get one right, you just feel that connection frizzling thru your body. anyway i really dig the hay(na)kus. although, it took me a while to get the rhythm, the format seems simple enuff, but it’s the essence of things that always matters. after all, who wants to eat a perfectly symmetrical Giant Siopao without the filling? i’ve been writing a few of my own, they’re kinda addictive to write, like eating a lays potato chips you can’t eat just one. here’s a few of the stuff i’ve come up with just for fun, feel free to shimmy them away to the trash bin along with this deranged letter. but here goes:

I scratch
my head, "hay(na)ku"


for words


drunken poem
Basho strikes again


finger ing- keyboards
I hear music


I'm thinking
of leaving. (you)


Crackling farts
only chicharones cooking

this is the end of me, i just wanted to say thanks for having your stuff out there in the net.

i feel excited about poetry again, it’s been a long time since i’ve felt that buzz in my stomach just thinking about poetry. for the longest time i’ve been feeling dejected about writing, but now it seems like i’ve had a renewal of spirit. pretty kewl.

i wish you all the postive vibes in the world, good luck on everything.
sincerely yours,


Well. Isn't that special? It certainly is.

I believe "mushr" was referring either to my PEN/Oakland speech re Jose Garcia Villa or to Tim Yu's online version of an essay about him here (that he expanded for Pinoy Poetics).

Unfortunately, I don't know of a body of Jose Garcia Villa's poems online (correct me, please if I'm wrong), just what's been recovered from out-of-print hell by THE ANCHORED ANGEL.

But lookit, mushr, you've got some nice hay(na)ku here -- thanks for sharing them. And whatever you do, keep up with the writing. I definitely think you can do better than "vogon" poetry -- the "third worst poetry in the universe"!

Keep writing and, yes, retain the excitement!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


is now available for advance ordering at Amazon. I typically encourage you to support Small Press Distribution or independent bookstores but I do know that some of you Peeps overseas will/can only order via Amazon. So there it is!

Meanwhile, Bookmark (New York) has just released a review of moi ENGLISH brick. I reprint here because the blog is also my file cabinet. I candidly am surprised -- but, fortunately, pleasantly so -- by some of this review's elements....this very engaged review is a gift: how often do poets get such attention -- I'll take this over a paragraph in The NY Times anytime! Thanks, Bookmark!

Poems by Eileen R. Tabios
Marsh Hawk Press, East Rockaway, N.Y.
$25.00, 504 pp, Paper

In her poem “I Do,” Filipina-American author Eileen R. Tabios’s assertion “I do know English” is followed closely by the line, “I do know English and still will not ask permission” (31). But why does Tabios, in her book’s title, perform a kind of marriage vow to English, the language that was instrumental in the colonization of her native land between 1898 and 1946? “I Do,” which contains ironic references to the 2000 U.S. Presidential election and efforts to wring some honesty or feeling from a game-playing lover, also includes the information: “Because I do know English, I have been variously called Miss Slanted Vagina, The Mail Order Bride, The One With The Shoe Fetish, The Squat Brunette Who Wears A Plaid Blazer Over a Polka-Dot Blouse, The Maid” (32). Wouldn’t marrying English accord European-American masculinity patriarchal privilege over Filipina otherness? Instead, this kind of wedding brings a “knowledge” (in both the cognitive and erotic sense) of English that bespeaks the woman’s agency (despite the colonial and patriarchal past) and equality (especially in the refusal to “ask permission”). It also acknowledges that the poet has lived in the U.S. most of her life, speaks and writes, at this point, only English, cannot return to some pristine “origin” of the Philippines, as it does not exist, and gives herself the right to use the English language in a way that resists residues of colonial power relations.

If this sounds “postcolonial,” Tabios would rather be known as “transcolonial”: her work implicitly acknowledges colonial oppression and her people’s postcolonial difficulties stemming from prior and enduring exploitative relations, but she insists that this must not be the only subject matter: she must be able to write “across” these challenges to take on whatever aesthetic and social realms her imagination and elective associations bring her. The poet insists upon the freedom to seduce English, be seduced by its pleasures, and transform it in ways that produce effects and structures that the old colonizers could neither fathom nor countenance. For example, her “Clyfford Still Studies,” a suite of prose-poems with some verse-lines, spotlight Tabios’s ekphrastic mode, a dominant feature in her 2002 book of prose-poems, Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole. These texts do not literally convey the dark, jagged fields of the abstract expressionist’s big paintings but use them as a departure point for emotive journeys: “You know what I mean, that feeling of the very air pressing against you, the leaves whispering snidely overhead, the bees conspiring on what should be only a randomly-executed attack” (“On the Limits of Context,” 130).

Indeed, Tabios’s work is more frequently abstract and disjunction-studded—in a word, “experimental,” and so it is helpful that, along with poems and prose-poems, Tabios provides ample discursive clarification of social, political, and aesthetic contexts. Tabios devotes space to her weblog explorations of poetics--which are well known in the cyber-poetry world--to accounts of her poetic processes (including “poem-sculptures”), to her invention of the “hay(na)ku,” a cousin of the haiku, and to her orchestration of “happenings,” involving many people and various other art forms, that constitute her belief in poetry as performance, not merely dramatic but worldly. Filipino-American poet Nick Carbo’s interview with Tabios is also included, as are e-mail exchanges with other poets. The book ends with a close reading by Ron Silliman, not only a pre-eminent Language Poet but a widely “hit” blogger.

As for the organization of the poetry, prose-poetry, and other elements (including a few of Tabios’s actual wedding photos) in the book, this is part of the “performance” of poetry/poetics. The first section spans 214 pages (more than twice as long as the average poetry collection) and includes 10 sections, each of which has a particular thematic or formal rationale. Section III, “an autobiography” that is not an autobiography, comprises a verse novel (“The Definitive History of Fallen Angels”) about a female character’s adventures in love and longing that offers many flashes of psychological insight without a traditional novel’s recognizable plot structure and closure.

For someone so intent on establishing ways of situating her poetic production, Tabios also manages to sound like 70s Reader-Response literary theorists, even more than the Language Poets, in insisting that the reader, not the author, “completes” the text. She even includes a section of “Footnote” poems that appear on the bottom of otherwise blank pages. As noted on the back cover, “the texts which generate the footnote-poems are not included, thus enabling a space where readers play the role of speculating what story(ies) is (are) being footnoted.” Even contextual specifications about race, ethnicity, international history, and (for that matter) gender and class cannot fully control the instability of reference in such texts as the “Conjuration” poems, where multiple “ands” and blank spaces disrupt any sense of continuity, and the “Epilogue Poems,” where ampersands abound and some lines are simultaneously present and crossed out.

I read many of Tabios’s poetic explorations of romantic/erotic themes as a testing of the claims of freedom and deterministic constraints. “Rapunzel’s Deaf Eyes” rewrites the old western fairy tale to articulate an imprisonment of self within others’ idealized expectations (I live in a turret now/ No stairs, no hair// Reading yourself/ into a stranger’s poem// for a ‘hidden track’/ lying// beneath lemonade days/ envied by all// except their owner,” but it ends with the possibility of an overriding illumination:

meat withers
in the freezer

children and spouses
lose innocence

Only the moon
remains to write

me of something
the rumors profess

is called “light.” (37)

Moonlight is both a (traditional) external source of inspiration and a trope of internal fortitude that “writes” the poet’s unflagging determination to exceed socially imposed limitations, to persist in the “transcolonial” goal of “transit” expressed in the title of one of her poems: “Fly Luminously, Please” (114).


Making poems -- or just say, Poetry -- has taught me something that no priest, no parent, no teacher, no friend, no counselor-in-any-guise has ever taught. How to meet disappointment head on, and not be brought to one's knees by it.

I don't quite know how this has come to be the effect. I want to say that it has something to do with how maintaining observance (what I've called practicing "lucidity poetics") paradoxically softens hard edges -- that you are able to see things in context in a way that makes the tough shit be not so shitty. Because you become ever-conscious that there is just so MUCH in the world and so any moment of pain is just one of so many things that you progress quickly to a state of thinking how silly it would be to be overcome by any one thing.

And I believe that this also relates to a poet's ability to be ... humble. Including, the ability to go beyond one's preferences of how the world should be or is suppoed to be.

What this also means is that I've lost the empathy I used to feel over how poets -- and non-poets -- can end up just wallowing in their angst.

Interestingly, knowing this context of so-many-things doesn't seem to affect individual moments of joy. That is, while the context allows me to dilute the effect of something that disappoints, it doesn't lessen any happiness I'd feel over any single moment.

Synchronistically, despair can be a bottom-fisher feeding on others. Joy uplifts others.

Okay -- now that I've written all the above, I will admit that I'm not actually there yet. I'm writing it down to embarass me into being able to engage with the world more from this point of view. After so much shit recently, this seems like a worthwhile exercise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Okay. I got the results from the doctor from some recent tests and I'm fine. Still "complicated," but fine.

This means I'm back to where I was prior to this recent "scare." Afflicted only by Poetry...for which cure I'm still waiting.



I'm in midst of final stages of the logistics of sending Meritage Press' next book to the printer -- we're trying to get the requisite stuff over to said printer before the book designer goes to Africa. Yadda. But it'll be a beyoot: Sean Finney's first poetry collection: THE OBEDIENT DOOR! This, some other stuff and that it's peak entertainment season here in Napa make the days insufficient with hours. In fact, gotta go offline now but, here's a recent conversation with the hubby for those of you who live for tidbits from my fictionalized life:

Moi:....blathering on about light and energy in that poetic space...

Tom: So unlike your blog.

Moi: Huh?

Tom: Well, your blog is like a black hole.

Monday, July 18, 2005


You're moist.
This is not a translation
--from "Invisible Aria" by Tom Beckett

So, at a used bookstore, I bought a poetry book today along with another book, and the tab totalled $15.09. The bookstore owner magnanimously waived the nine cents, giving me a full $5 change from my twenty. "Were it not for you, the poetry books would rarely sell," she sez. How's about that! Who'da thunk poetry love would be worth actual cash -- even if it's only nine cents worth!

Anyhoo....So this past week's relished readings ended up being primarily of poetry chaps (some re-reads in there, but somehow got stuck on the poetry chap train this week)! To wit:

HOW SAY, poetry broadside by Tom Beckett

SOLUBLE SENSES CENSUS, poems by Tom Beckett

INVISIBLE ARIA, poems by Tom Beckett

MY VOTE COUNTS, poems by Dale Smith

METAPLASMIC, poems by Anna Eyre





PLAY AIR, poems by Corina Copp

UNTITLED (Belladonna chap #40), poems by Veronica Corpuz

YOU AND ME STORY by Rachel Daley

SURPLICE by Catherine Daly


CROSS RIVER PICK LOTUS by Zhang Er, Trans. by Rachel Levitsky and Zhang Er

ANIMAL & ROBOT by Lauren Gudath

I did manage some non-chap reading:

CRIBS, poems by Yunte Huang

WOOROLOO, poems by Frieda Hughes

CIRCLE, poems by Victoria Chang


2001 Kistler Pinot Noir
1994 Rosenblum zinfandel Mt. Veeder Brandlin Ranch
1990 Terrabianco Campaccio Barrique
2002 Mason Sauvignon Blanc
2002 Behrens & Hitchcock Merlot
1991 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Hill Vineyard Sonoma
1995 Trevillon
2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay Los Carneros
1994 Tinto Pesquera Ribera Del Duero
1986 Carruades de Lafite Rothschild
2003 Chateau de Sancerre
2003 Rochiolio Sauvignon Blanc
2003 Christian Moreau Chablis
2002 Newton Unfiltered chardonnay
2000 Chateau Bourgneuf Pomerol
2001 Lancaster Estate REd
1999 LBV Osborne Porto
Navan Vanilla Cognac

Speaking of wines, I've inaugurated a new blog -- focused on wine tasting notes: WINE POETIX REVIEW -- it's sort of an internet updated version of a review I once edited from my New York days entitled, what else, TABIOS WINE TASTING REVIEW. Now, attempting to articulate wine is an exercise that frequently shows up the limitations of words -- hence moi interest, as a poet, in the exercise.

But all I can say for this blog is that it -- unlike my other blogs -- is specifically intended for a narrow group of readers (none of whom are strangers to me, unlike the majority of my billions of peeps), though others are welcome to witness and even share in its unfolding. But if the language doesn't satisfy or alludes to things not known to you, just remember, meaning often relies on context and this blog is beginning with a particular set of friends who know each others' idiosyncracies....which means the language is typically short-hand.

But wine, like poetry, is meant to be shared and the blog will expand from its initial constraints, I'm sure, if there is a reason for it to unfold expansively.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


As regards the radical disjunction between current shopping/spending habits and the historical "Installments," the project may end up being


So that the biographical "truth" re THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF COMMODITIES will be an abstract (poetic) space projected but not defined by the specifics of commodities.

I'ma just saying ....

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Such is Moi expanse. So, tonight, I arrived late on Galatea's mountain, returning from San Francisco. 'Twas dark as the housesitter forgot to leave the front lights on courtyard. Carried two bags to drop off in front of front door. As I fumbled for the keys, I heard it:


I've never actually HEARD a rattlesnake before, but it sounded EXACTLY as my preconception of what a rattlesnake would sound like!!!!

Backed away, then -- still in the dark -- ran around to the side door where I let myself in. Went through kitchen, ignoring the yapping dawgs, and back out through the back door where I grabbed a shovel. I took said shovel and a flashlight back through side door and returned to courtyard.

Turned on the flashlight. There it was, curled on the cool marble tiles up against the front door. About three feet long. DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS.

Took shovel and flashlight in hand and made moi way towards it. Then I nudged it with shovel away from the front door and off into the courtyard. 'Twas slow progress, punctuated here and again with shivery rattley sounds. Finally, it dropped onto the gravel and slithered away.

But, oh, it was simply gorgeous -- both in design and in its silvery coloration.  Indeed, I would never have thought to compare a rattlesnake to a shark until I'd seen that rattler a few feet away.

I did have the thought to try to trap the snake for Brandt, my Alpha Male dog trainer. He'd told me that if I ever saw snakes, let him know and he'd come get them. Apparently, he'd just duct tape around said snakes' mouths and then use them to train dogs to stay away from such rattlers. But I was tired from the long ride and not in the mood to figure out how to trap such a rattlesnake.

Which is all to say, Peeps, if and when you see me wearing cowboy boots, it ain't due to an outdated fashion sense. Those cowboy boots are worn high towards the knees and thick-skinned around the toes and ankles to prevent such things as the puncture-like bites of rattlers.

All in all, an interesting way to spend midnight. And there is a poem in here somewhere...

Friday, July 15, 2005


Bec wonders if she should start a library blog, too. I say, Go for it!

When I started mine just days ago, there were some practical reasons, specifically wanting to know what I have so as to avoid duplicate purchases -- though I also turned that blog into a means for poets to trade books with me (go to Moi Library blog for more details).

But in thinking more about it, there are implications about this blog for me (and apparently for Allen , too, as regards his listing of books which partly inspired my library blog). My poetry books reveal something about how I came to write the way I do -- both in terms of accepting and (mostly) rejecting influence....

In fact, I'd love to know what consists other poets' personal poetry libraries. I personally have not had to resell any poetry book I've bought or been given as gifts. But I suspect many poets' personal libraries are more discriminating than what has ended up being my approach and can say something, I think, about poets' practices. It also occurs to me -- because Moi heard the news that my new e-chap SONGS OF THE COLON will be an assigned text this semester (YaY) -- that my library will show which of the freebie poetry e-chaps out there I've chosen to not just download but actually print out. I think these printed e-chaps number a handful right now in my library -- now, doesn't that say something about perhaps my reactions to the other e-chaps I've written in the past? Sure -- but don't take it too personally, dear poets with e-chaps; I'm also frugal as regards my printer's toner....

Anyhoo, I don't know of anyone else doing this type of project now, besides Allen, but if you are or plan to, let me know as I may do a new set of poet-library blog links..

Most unexpected, however, has been the SHEER DELIGHT of this exercise. There is something soothing, calming, meditative....blissful about listing my poetry books. I suspect it may have something to do with the illusion of being able to organize chaos -- something that I find particularly meaningful given the ... chaotic times.


I think that I'll have to do a book-list, though, of other parts of the library after I finish with poetry. This afternoon, I bought Alix Kates Shulman's 1995 memoir DRINKING THE RAIN. It wasn't until I got home that I realized -- I already own it. Dang it. And I had foregoed one poetry book for that memoir at the bookstore!

Thursday, July 14, 2005



Bino A. Realuyo's first poetry collection, The Gods We Worship Live Next Door wins the 2005 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry and will be released February 2006.

Honoring the memory of a celebrated poet and a beloved teacher, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry is awarded annually and is sponsored by the University of Utah Press and the University of Utah Department of English. The competition is open to poets who have previously published book-length poetry collections, as well as unpublished poets.

From The Gods We Worship Live Next Door, a sample poem:


The silence. The silence.
The silence covers everything.
--Teresa de Jesus

In this town, everybody bends all morning,
to bury an acre of fear each hour, to feed
the ground with all the words they will not say.

Another man was found last week: caned
powdered, tied with grass.
She was there: crawling on mud, hiding

behind a rock and spires of grass,
and days later, hiding from the memory
of faces and voices: the foundered glint of a man

in the sun, the broken words, wound upon wound,
the thin blur of those around him, their laughter,
the whippings, their tight grasp of their whips--

Is to speak of this to finally forget?
To speak of it is to know that so much here
remain hidden--the silence, the air,

all inhaled, kept inside, food for fear.
At twilight, dogs begin to bark. Broken twigs,
bullets and shadows flee between trees.

Not again. She cups her mouth, hoping
that there is no spill of blood, parts of limbs
scratching soil. She firmly holds herself,

latches the door with wood, tight as teeth.
Night seeps through bullet holes on the walls,
sits with her while she listens, wilting, on the chair.

Cotabato, Philippines


Congratulations, Bino!!!!


Secret CONGRATULATIONS to you, Dear One. I cannot wait to add yours to Galatea's Poetry Library! I am so proud of you!


Am in the midst of an over-complicated medical situation (I'm fine; just complicated) so I'm a bit distracted. Otherwise, when I wrote my post yesterday about my poetry library-in-the-making (and, btw, I have updated the authors' lists from A-C), I would have given inspiration credit where it's due: Allen Bramhall's own library blog EX POETICAL LIBRAIRE.

READ WIDELY. It's the best advice I've been given and have given as to how to improve one's writing.

And that's why I admire Allen's library -- check it out. He does something different which I may or may not copy someday: divide his blog posts per theme like history, poetry and even DICTIONARIES!!!! A very interesting reading list -- and one can't help but therefore conclude: a very interesting mind. But that shows up in his blog posts, no?

And now, speaking of recommended reads: geez -- talk about an awesome menage a trois! Ron Silliman and Crag Hill interview Geof Huth! Read and marvel! Tom Beckett does us all a wonderful service with this interview blog.


and then, thankfully, the dawgs woke me up. But, whew! That was some party over at Veronica's! And congratulations! The more that Filipino English-language writers infiltrate the United States Library of Congress, the better!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


So I started a new blog, "Galatea's Poetry Library," just because I had to begin listing the poetry books on the shelves as I keep forgetting what I have and, in some cases, have bought the same book twice. I'm also tired of, in bookstores, seeing a poetry book that interests me and then thinking, Wait -- isn't that already on my To-Read Shelf? Hence: inventory time!

(And this is also my Insomnia Project!)

I wasn't necessarily going to make this blog public -- I'm conscious that it mostly shows just how much gaps there are in my education as a poet. Although, I suppose it could be interesting (or not) to take a look at how a purely self-educated poet from the past ten years ends up forming a poetry library....this list may be interesting as I've never resold a poetry book and so this isn't a "culled-down" list of what ended up interesting me....

...And so, yah -- some of those books on the list are not as, uh, interesting as others on the list. But as a poet, I learn to write poems primarily by reading poetry and I think I have as much to learn from bad poems (whatever "bad" -- or "good" -- may be). And, ultimately, as a matter of principle: I want to love all poems -- each is always part of the same Poem we're all wanting to write, ya know...?

Anyhoo, I've decided to make it a public blog by also making it an avenue for poets to trade books and chaps with me, if they so wish. That is, if you're a poet and don't see your book on my library blog, feel free to email me to suggest a trade. At this time, I can trade either Reproductions or Menage a Trois for this purpose. If you also see a note by a title that I have two or more copies of it, feel free to email to ask if you can trade for that "extra" copy of mine.

You might notice that some books are of different forms (autobiography, fiction, etc) but I include them if the authors or subjects are poets.

Of course, the list will always be in the midst of being updated per my new acquisitions. And, so far, I've only gone through the poets whose last names begin with either "A" or "B" as I'm fairly early on this blog. But do keep checking as it will be frequently updated.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


1993 Ravenswood Los Chamizal Zinfandel Sonoma Valley
1992 Judds Hill cabernet
2001 Kistler chardonnay
1992 Ravenswood Pickberry
2001 Turley zinfandel
1994 Remelluri Rioja
2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay (Los Carneros)

IMPERFECT FIT, poems by Martha King

ALMOST HOME, poems by Myrna Pena-Reyes

TO LEVELING SWERVE, poems by Rodrigo Toscano

RUMORED PLACE, poems by Rob Halpern

TRAMA, poems by Kim Rosenfeld

ITINERANT MEN, poem by Deborah Meadows

KINKY, poems by Denise Duhamel (re-read it as part of research for THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF COMMODITIES)


A GIACOMMETTI PORTRAIT, memoir by James Lord


THE WRITER'S DESK featuring photographs by Jill Krementz of about 100 poets and writers in their studios. Was reminded to relish this again as a result of related topic over at 32 Poems Blog.

And last but not least! THE BODY ACHES [Poems and Hay(na)ku] (ExPressoDoble, Chapbooks Ciudad de Mexico, 2005) by Ernesto Priego -- I was very grateful to see this in today's snailmail. Devoured it twice now. It's not just a lovely project but it is, to my knowledge, only the fourth time that the Hay(na)ku is part of a larger print project (vs online where the form originated). Historical...and just lovely; here's a sample:

you can
tell me off.

like a
crushed flying insect.

like roses
dead by water.

like hands
untouched by time.

like eyes
multitudes and scarcity.

like dogs
running together, gasping.

not seen,
experienced like dreams.

Thank you Muchas gracias Maraming salamat Agyamanac Unay, Ernesto!!

For the curious, the first few to incorporate the hay(na)ku in their books are

AFTER TAXES by Thomas Fink
THE BODY ACHES by Ernesto Priego
and the fifth will be
THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, co-edited by Mark Young and Jean Vengua (forthcoming, Meritage Press).

If my above list is mistaken, just let Moi know!


Moi toasted, too. Cheers!


, such a smart artist, who writes as regards the prior post:

Dear Eileen,

Funny, last night I went to see My Architect, in which the late architect Lou Kahn was described by one of his former employees as a great energizer bunny...

I have been internetless for weeks, as I am still in transition to another apartment, contemplating containment of all things while packing and unpacking my belongings in boxes, and promising myself to respond to your essay properly (after finally suspending disbelief over it's existence). two days ago i took a respite at central park and read the entire section of six directions from your brick...i even took notes! it's properly scribbled on, the pages.

i was thinking about these words by nicolas bourriaud:
"Having been an event per se (classical painting), then the graphic recording of an event (the work of Jackson Pollock with photographic documents describing a performance or an action), today's work of art often assumes the role of a trailer for a forthcoming event, or an event that is put off forever."

So yay to the expansion of all six directions. expand, expand. so much of what i find meaningful in your projects is the many ways they are adverse to containment.


Why, thank you, Emmy! Such lovely words. She turns to her Peeps: I ALWAYS reprint complimentary emails because I know YOU just love to read them!


that just keeps going and going and going! Yay! My "Poems Form/From The Six Directions" idea of featuring poems at wedding celebrations has been taken up by Michelle for her forthcoming wedding to Rhett!

That's what I call integrating poems into your living instead of just leaving them comatose on the shelves!

So send Michelle your poems and I may end up pinning them on her wedding dress!!! Details here!

Monday, July 11, 2005


Really? The Ahadada Books Editors say that in just a few days there have been over 200 downloads of moi colon, I mean, my e-chap SONGS OF THE COLON!!!!

There must be at least one book I've released that hasn't garnered that sales equivalent in over a year! The glory of the Internet, indeed!

But let me repost Daniel Sendecki's whole post, not just so's Moi can preen but because who'da thought a techno-phobiac like me would so benefit from, uh, technology...?!!!!

from Ahadada, July 10, 2005
Audience or Oil Painting?

Recently, I was contacted by Michelle Siu of Ricepaper Magazine, to let me know that they are publishing an upcoming review of Paolo Javier's "the time at the end of this writing".

As an aside, she asked:

"I am also in the position of literary editor, and I was browsing your online store. I'm interested in developments on your e-chapbook series. Have you found the series successful? Do you have plans to expand the project?"

I thought I'd turn my answer into a post. In just a few days, Eileen Tabios' "Songs of the Colon" has surpassed 200 downloads. We are looking at releasing an e-chapbook every three weeks for the remainder of the summer. Up next? Something from David Kennedy!

We live at a peculiar juncture, it goes without saying, wherein the book and the internet still, however briefly in the grand scheme of things, co-exist as mediums.

William Gibson has an interesting take on all of this, in the most recent issue of Wired magazine wherein he describes the the traditional album as "archaically passive". It's doomed to fail, he writes, because of another archaic term: the audience. In a refutation of Milton Berle's famous rhetorical question "what is this, an audience or an oil painting?", the audience today isn't watching at all, it's involving itself. It's becoming part of that which it consumes.

In a sense, this is the problem that plagues that pesky RIAA; repeated ad nauseum, it simply is trying to hold on to a method of delivery that does not keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of digital media. It's a dinosaur.

It's cool to see how we, as poets and editors, are reacting to the rapid pace of change. Tony Tost, over in the Unquiet Grave raises some interesting points in an argument born on Ron Silliman's blog (when Ron claimed that nobody does the online thing half as well as Jacket:

Someone in his comments trots out the "get rid of issues" argument, but I'm not convinced. Ultimately, web journals serve as massive databases and archives, and I think should be geared and edited towards that means to be of most use, and I think the issue by issue format is the best way of doing this; it might be an arbitrary organizing device for an online journal, but it is a means of organizing and editing at a workable level.

What will be interesting to watch, will be the manner by which the digital age rethinks the book, the way technology popularizes new forms of art, vis-a-vis jazz and the long-playing album.

And this brings up the point that I want to close with. Is Ahadada Books dedicated to expanding its online chapbook project? Absolutely. Why? Because it serves the community in the manner by which it is demanding to be served. The audience, now more than ever, is asking for quick, unfettered, access to work.

Why? I guess its a measure of the digital age. Within a couple of days, a handful of sites had already posted capsule reviews of "Songs of the Colon". People were starting to become involved in the dialogue that it provokes. The work makes its way into the collective conscious more expediently. It is the speed that this recombinant, collective age demands.

And it, in my estimation, is a gorgeous thing to watch.
[end of quoted Ahadada post]


Speaking of my colon (well, I do love saying that phrase!), I note Nick Piombino's wit that gets more deft between 2 and 3 a.m.'s. To wit, he said as regards an earlier post regarding my Ahadada Author's Page:

With characteristic modesty,
she discloses the author
photo is 7 years old!

"Characteristic modesty?" I lubs it, Nick. Preeeeeen.


I hope Jim and Jukka have downloaded my Colon. It's in two parts, you know, and the first part was dedicated to Jim (for educating me about autism) and the second part to Jukka (who never tsks tsks as regards my ignorance about technology except its spelling).


Last but not least, Salamat to Ulanmaya for the link to my Colon. Heeee.


is odd
without one more

I've counted up to ten so far via the hay(na)ku. Results on my Gasping Blog. I don't know if I'll do more. I mean, I think I can but that would require an obsessive gaze that I'm too busy to allow at the moment. But what this exercise did do is that for the FIRST TIME I finally get the attraction of the hay(na)ku (for me among other things, that cadence!). Talk about coming late to Moi Own Party.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Oh I know some of you are coming here trying to glean some hints of the latest fiasco that erupted recently as regards a certain "community." Let me share some general lessons that arise from that as it has, uh, general applications that, were people to use their common sense and keep in mind, might allow me some peace and quiet here on the mountain instead of having to push me to do intervention. To wit:


--do not use a small group's opinion as a means of defining a larger category, particularly one whose "definition" is always in flux

--do not use a deadline as an excuse for sloppy work or a sloppy approach

--there is no "canon" -- there are only many canons

--never forget the value of an apology

--a poet or poem promoted on the basis of hurting another poet or decrying another poem is just receiving false praise

--Poetry is karmic

--and when you see something unfair going on, Peeps, don't just sit there quietly doing your own thing. Speak up. (And for those of you who didn't speak up because this particular matter didn't particularly hurt you, ever heard of "principles"? Speak up.)

The last one is very important. Because your Chatelaine here is really T I R E D of ever being forced into being a mouthpiece. It's worth it, of course, but really, folks: you all are cutting in into my wine time.

Chalk up this post to a category that looks like a round receptacle and which I label, "MOI AM NOT YOUR MOTHER"

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Lines like

maternity: comforting embroider
from The Eleventh Page
checkerboard: inkwell forswore
from The Eighteenth Page

defy the ideas of definition and narrative, allowing for the poetry to "express what words have to say" as Carl Andre has written.

--Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor

It's really heartening to meet readers who so fulsomely engage with my poems. Thank you, Bec, for your read of SONGS OF THE COLON.

It's just before midnight as I write this, but you've just revealed the sky.


is the blue looking for sky -- its breadth, its breath...


is a phrase that evokes, for me, strippers in costumes of feathers, satin, tassels and rhinestones. And I wish that's what would be running around me today. Instead, there are gonna be about 15 people roaming about Galatea today. Besides moiself, all are lawyers.

I'm doing "professional entertaining" today. No details necessary (I can't really ever reveal the nature of my true "day job") except to say I'm grumpy ... and recalling just now something that Philip Lamantia once told me, "I never judge how poets make money."


trying to de-obscure the obscure. "Jude" ain't the nickname for Moi projects, you know. Like, how the sales of Pinoy Poetics aren't doing as well as I'd hoped -- nor are even its own contributors doing much to support it.

Reminds me of another "recovery" project of mine: THE ANCHORED ANGEL which hasn't done as well as I'd hoped to reintroduce this poet back to the public. That is, I don't know how many copies of that have sold, but I do know that it's not made some publisher leap up to beg to publish, as once was hoped, a COLLECTED WORKS OF JOSE GARCIA VILLA.

So, here's a timely poem by Jose Garcia Villa, followed by a possibly incomplete but still telling (viz the multicultural avant garde) CV that playwright/publisher Bert Florentino recently emailed out to a mutual Listserve:


I can no more hear Love's
Voice. No more moves
The mouth of her. Birds
No more sing. Words
I speak return lonely.
Flowers I pick turn ghostly.
Fire that I burn glows
Pale. No more blows
The wind. Time tells
No more truth. Bells
Ring no more in me.
I am all alone singly.
Lonely rests my head.
O my God! I am dead.


Granted in Manila, Philippnes
June 12, 1973

Landmarks and Bibliography

Education and Employment

University of the Philippines, 1929
B.A., University of New Mexico, 1933
Postgraduate Work, Columbia University, 1942-44
Vice Consul/Cultural Attache, Philippine Mission to the United Nations, early 1940s
Associate Editor, New Directions Books, 1949-51
Instructor, Poetry Workshop, City College of New York, 1952-60
Lecturer, Poetry Workshop, The New School, 1964-73
Appointed Presidential Adviser on Cultural Affairs, Philippine Government, 1968

Honors and Awards
American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, 1942
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1942
National Institute of Arts and Letters Grant, 1943
Bollingen Foundation Fellowship, 1951-53
Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America, 1958
Hon. D. Litt., Far Eastern University, Manila, 1959
Philippine Pro Patria Award, 1961
Philippines Cultural Heritage Award, 1962
Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, 1963
Elected, Philippine National Artist, 1973
L.H.D., University of the Philippines, 1973


Appassionata: Poems in Praise of Love. NY: King and Cowen, 1970
Have Come, Am Here. NY: Viking, 1942
Many Voices. Manila: Philippine Book Guild, 1939
Poems by Doveglion. Manila: Philippine Writers’ League, 1941
Selected Poems and New by Jose Garcia Villa, 2nd ed. Manila: Bookmark, 1993.
Volume Two. NY: New Directions, 1949. Microfilm edition. Xerox U.

Short Stories
Footnote to Youth: Tales of the Philippines and Others. NY: Scribner’s, 1933
Selected Stories. Manila: Alberto Florentino, 1962

The Essential Villa. Manila: Alberto Florentino, 1965
The Parlement of Giraffes: Poems for Children—Eight to Eighty. Ed. John Cowen. With original drawings by Villa. Tagalog translation by Larry Francia. Manila: Anvil, 1999
Poems in Praise of Love: The Best Love Poems by Jose Garcia Villa. Manila: Alberto Florentino, 1962.
Poems 55: the Best Poems of Jose Garcia Villa as Chosen by Himself. Manila: Alberto Florentino, 1962. Tagalog translation published as 55 Poems. Trans. Hilario M. Francia, Manila: U of the Philippines Press, 1962.
The Portable Villa. Manila: Alberto Florentino, 1962.

Edited Volumes
Bravo, The Poet’s Magazine. 1980 [King and Cowen]
A Celebration for Edith Sitwell. NY: New Directions, 1948.
Clay: a literary notebook [mimeographed literary magazine]. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1931.
A Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry in English. Manila: Katha Editions: Alberto Florentino & Lyd Arguilla-Salas, 1962. [2nd ed.]
The Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry in English.
Peso Books/Alberto Florentiino, cover design by J. Elizalde Navarro, 1965.] [3rd] ed.
The New Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry. Manila: Caliraya Foundation, 1975. [4th] ed. Manila: Anvil, 1994.
“E.E. Cummings Number.” The Harvard Wake, Cambridge, MA. 1946.
“Marianne Moore Issue.” Quarterly Review of Literature. New Haven, CT. 1947
Best Short Stories: Best 25 Stories of 1928. Manila: Philippines Free Press, 1929.

Contributions in Anthologies
Abelardo, Victoria, English for World Use. NY: American Book, 1954.
Agcaoili, T.D., ed. Philippine Writing: An Anthology. Manila: Archipelago, 1953.
Aiken, Conrad, ed. Twentieth-Century American Poetry. NY: Modern Library, 1944.
___________, ed. Comprehensive Anthology of American Poetry. NY: Modern Library, 1944.
Auden, W.H. Criterion Book of Modern American Verse. NY: Criterion, 1956.
Benet, William Rose and Conrad Aiken, eds. NY: Modern Library, 1945.
Benitez, Paz Marquez, ed.. Manila: Philippine Journal of Education, 1927.
Bulosan, Carlos, ed. Chorus for America (Six Filipino Poets). Los Angeles:
Wagon & Star… with Parker & Craftsman, 1942.
Burnett, Whit, ed. A Story Anthology. NY: Vanguard, 1933.
Carbonell, R.A., ed. Beloved: An Anthology of Filipino Love Poems. Horizons, 1963.
Carver, Charles H. and H.G. Sliker, eds. Literature of the World Around Us,
2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1963.
Casper, Leonard, New Writing from the Philippines: A Critique and Anthology. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1966.
Castillo y Guazon, Teofilo del, ed. A Brief History of Philippine Literature. Manila: Progressive Schoolbooks, 1937.
Cline, Jay et al. New Voices 4, Grade 12. Lexington, MA: Ginn, 1978.
Chang, Juliana, ed. Quiet Fire: A Historical Anthology of Asian American
Poetry 1892-1970
. NY: Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 1996.
Cowen, John Edwin. English Teacher’s Portfolio of Multicultural Activities.
Grades 7-12
. West Nyack, NY: Center for Applied Research in Education, 1996.
Dato, Rodolfo, Pablo Laslo, and Carlos Bulosan, eds. Early Poets (1909-1942). Manila: Alberto Florentino, 1973.
Day, A. Grove. The Art of Narration: The Short Story. NY: McGraw-Hill.

Friday, July 08, 2005


It all goes around full circle. Yah. But karma will tell: to exclude is ultimately to be excluded.

I know I'm being cryptic. I'm just waiting for midnight. At midnight, I cease ranting with various peeps and revert back to a sweet pumpkin.


in the Poetry Worlds, both majors and minors...and some of you Peeps know what I mean.

It's the price I pay for wanting to admire my lashes in the mirror, or more specifically, to toasting Honor (albeit Honor's gown continues to fray) nightly over dinner with the wine goblet.

Unfortunately, the empty chairs at my dining table increase in number.

Ah well. More honorable wine for Moi.


Loneliness -- you have never been a Stranger.


for placing the 504-page BRICK on its newest "Recommended List"! It's in good company with other poetry titles (see list below).

I remember when SPD Deputy Director -- and fabuloso poet -- Laura Moriarty asked how I came to write such a thick book. I replied, "I didn't want to wait until I was dead, white and/or male."

Laura laughed. Or mebbe, snorted?

Still I also recall now how Luis Cabalquinto once compared my poems to those of, cough, Ted "Big Last Tome" Hughes. That made me spew some soup out through the nose. (Ouch!)

Meanwhile, here's SPD's list of other Recommended Poetry titles:


BABY by Harryman, Carla

BIRD & FOREST by Cunningham, Brent

WATER & POWER by Schaefer, Standard

SKINNY EIGHTH AVE by Miller, Stephen Paul

NAKED by Tanikawa, Shuntaro

GIVING PEOPLE POEMS by Tanikawa, Shuntaro



AND I'M NOT JENNY by Rebele, Tara




THE SINGERS I PREFER by Barter, Christian


just barred a recent post by deleting it from my blog. And I thought I'd been doing such a good job in preventing negative energy from entering this space...

Keep your eye on the ball, the angels whisper. There are larger things at stake...


and I hope I ain't just farting. Heee.

Thanks to Jesse Glass and Daniel Sendecki for this:

Ahadada Books is pleased to present "Songs of the Colon" by Eileen Tabios.

"Songs of the Colon" is the third release in the Ahadada Books Online Chapbook series.

And the download is freeeeeee!

I love the idea of becoming part of Ahadada's expanding family which now includes Jesse, Daniel, Paolo Javier, Richard Peabody, John Byrum, Alan Halsey, Geraldine Monk, among others. And I understand that their chapbook series is due to release a new chap about every three weeks in the near future -- known to come are Rane Arroyo, Simon Percik, David Kennedy, and more and more and more!

But the thing is, on my AUTHOR'S PAGE which Dan so generously set up, he's got an Author photo of me that I assume he picked up from somewhere in the Internet. I don't mind -- it's just that the photo is of Moi of about 7 years ago. So I'ma just putting that out there as I don't wish to be one of those authors who get known for insisting on using photos from years and years back ... and we all know who they are! Heee again.

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