Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Beautiful cover by Michael Labenz. Can't wait to be part of this! And such lovely company!

And good reading from Gabe Gudding wherein he concludes:


Okay, Fedex is expected to drop its load of THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY on the mountain this Monday. Right thereafter, contributor's and initial order copies go out! Whoop-de-doop! Off to Staples today for shipping material!

And since the Holiday gift-giving season is coming up, note that you can email me gift orders. To wit, I'd be happy to send books in holiday wrapping paper to gift recipients -- I'll even handwrite your personalized statements et al to said peeps.

Poetry -- the gift that keeps on giving!


have been updated over at moi Galatea Poetry Library Blog. To wit, I've decided to offer some titles from my publisher stock over at Meritage Press as trade opportunities for poets who wanna swap poetry titles. Additions are:

Ed. Jean Vengua & Mark Young

by John Yau and Archie Rand

OPERA: POEMS 1981-2002
by Barry Schwabsky

by Sean Finney

Ed. Nick Carbo

These titles, along with two of my books and spare copies of various titles in the library (check individual listings where I note if I have more than one copy of a title), are available for trade. Please to go here for more information. Note that you don't have to trade your own title -- maybe a poetry book you have a spare copy of or don't feel the need to keep copy of.

This is an offer made at midnight!

Sip. Tonight, wine from a bottle with a screwtop...one's gotta be Missy WinePoetics to actually want to read every single poem ever written...

Speaking of drunking poetix, Michelle shares this below; she thinks it's funny whereas I think it's serious:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Done! Just wrapped up the inside text for my PUNCTUATIONS poetry book. The last bit was getting the Artist Statement from Eve Aschheim. I like her essay mucho, in part because it ends with this phrase (whilst she was referring to small line paintings such as the ones featured here):

"...the lines paradoxically become streaks of light."

That's how punctuations can work. Insert its briefest of marks within a sentence or other set of words and, suddenly, they make sense! Revelation!


And now Moi turn my attention to other projects, which is to remind: Peeps -- I'm still taking blurbs for THE BLURBED BOOK PROJECT until December 31, 2005. That'll be a doozy of a book -- please to participate! All contributors will be acknowledged.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I got a Meritage Press submission recently where the cover letter mentions that the poet is not skilled in the social arts she considers useful for navigating through the poetry world. My reaction to the matter: "Why is that on the cover letter?"

Yah, yah, the social aspect of poetry world culture deserves some stones. But that don't mean social ineptness/grumpiness is a virtue either -- certainly, the issue ain't worth raising in a submission cover letter, in my non-humble opinion. It don't deserve cultural capital either way, is what moithinks.

Speaking of submissions, I'm pleased to say I'll be part of Cutbank Poetry #65 -- thanks to editor Brandon Shimoda for asking. Cutbank took poems from my forthcoming PUNCTUATIONS book. And they're still open for submissions through end of the year; check Cutbank's new blog here.

Speaking of submissions again, don't forget about the Babaylan Speaks Holiday Poetry Contestfor Filipino poets. Deadline is end of December, and judged by Jean Vengua. One of the prizes will be a copy of THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY!

Sunday, November 27, 2005



Vacation Reading:
MAIDEN VOYAGE, memoir by Tania Aebi

THE DEW BREAKER, novel by Edwidge Danticat

POULTRY IN THE PULPIT, memoir by Alexander Cameron

THE REAL JAMES HERRIOT, memoir by Jim Wight

LIGHT ON SNOW, novel by Anita Shreve

THE WEIGHT OF WATER, novel by Anita Shreve

THE LAST PROPHECY, novel by Jon Land

Post Vacation Reading:
why:...1...2...3...4, poems by Peter Ganick

The Red Virgin: A Poem of Simone Weil by Stephanie Strickland


Breaking Clean, memoir by Judy Blunt

IDYLL BANTER: Weekly Excursions In A Very Small Town, memoir by Chris Bohjalian

A GRIEF OBSERVED, meditations by C.S. Lewis

2004 Castelo de Sala Antinori chardonnay
1995 Finca Villacreces Ribera Del Duero
2002 Graff "Urziger Wurzgarten" Spatlese, Moser-Saar-Ruwer
2002 Ramey chardonnay, Carneros
2003 Mitolo "GAM" McLaren Vale syrah
2001 Gaja Ci Marcanda Magari
2003 Dutch Henry zinfandel
1990 Moccagatta Barbaresco Bric Balin Restituta
1990 Renninia Brunello Di Montalcino Pieve Santa
2003 Schloss Schonborn Rheingau-Riesling Beerenauslese


You are Form 2, Angel: The Pure.

"And The Angel rose as holy protector for
all that was created. She fought with honor
and valor to serve the good of the world. But
the coming of the mankind was her downfall; and
end to purity."

Some examples of the Angel Form are Michael
(Christian) and Hercules (Greek).
The Angel is associated with the concept of virtue,
the number 2, and the element of wind.
Her sign is the zenith sun.

As a member of Form 2, you are a person of your
word. You generally keep your promises and
give everything you do your best. Although
some people see you as overbearing sometimes,
you know that you have to stay true to yourself
and do what's right. Angels are the best
friends to have because they are brutally

Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, November 26, 2005


It's always nice to get affirmation of how my blind eyes see the world. The profound Michael Wells got sucked in by Eve Aschheim's "Conway" (see prior post), which is like how I hope for my poems to suck in their readers (cough: so to speak). Anyway, here's a peep piping up:


I really like Eve Aschheim's "Conway" as a representation of punctuation. The picture sort of sucks you into it in freefall. I think of punctuation much the same way. It is there, we happen upon it while reading and it dictates what or how we do something almost without thought. We're just sucked in.

I have no way of knowing what is being conveyed in your book, but the idea certainly works for me up front as an excellent connection to punctuation from a very abstract artistic point of view.

Michael Wells

Friday, November 25, 2005


I'm pleased to share a reproduction of the painting by Eve Aschheim that will grace the front cover of moi forthcoming book, THE SECRET LIVES OF PUNCTUATIONS, VOL. I:

The painting (which I should say is photographed against black background just to ensure said blackness is not thought to be part of painting) is titled "Conway" and was inspired by the brilliant mathematician John Conway who, just a few days ago, became a member of the Cambridge Philosophical Society so kudos to him, too, on that!

And isn't Eve's painting just lovely? The book will include a couple more of her images as well as an Artist statement. Certainly, one can argue that the image in the painting can relate to parentheses, but I also think the relationship has to do with how Eve's depictions of intimacy and scale (her paintings are modestly-sized) relate to how the smallest mark (like a punctuation) can significantly affect meaning.


Speaking of PUNCTUATIONS (xPress(ed), 2006), I'll be kicking off the book design process with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen over the next couple of days. Gads...where did the year go? Anyway, yah, had turkey et al. But on Thanksgiving Day this year, I thought -- in the poetry area -- of the wonderful publishers/ and/ editors who've been really supportive of my work. Maraming Salamat to you all -- and were it possible, I'd have had you over for turkey, which I personally find to be a rather boring meat but the wines that go with moi turkeys can't be beat!

And I do want to thank in particular Jukka and his various publishing ventures over the past several years, both e- and hard-copy publications. That'd range from xStream to xPress(ed) to his Cafe LuLu line-up to his M&G line to his latest Blue Lion (with Peter Ganick). Whew!

Ever since my early days with Jukka's publishing work, I've always appreciated how he allowed me to set my imagination loose (and we all know I'm just one loose woman!). Matter of fact, it's fair to say that a significant portion of PUNCTUATIONS would not be possible without Jukka: two of the series (related to colons and parentheticals) in this manuscript were influenced by Jukka's own groundbreaking works. He has been and is, for me, an ideal Poet's Publisher.

Thank you, Jukka!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Finally, I find a pleasure in structure that I never knew existed before--precisely because this form allows me to move, to grow, to transform, and yes!--to transgress my own notions of structuring.
--James A Wren on the Hay(na)ku

This surely must set a landspeed record for invention of form to first anthology of pertinent exemplars -- less than two years from Eileen Tabios' conception of hay(na)ku to this debut of its fruition.
--Crag Hill

Though the landay (see prior post) was created "at a far remove from any books", these "popular improvisations have managed to develop forms of great diversity with very specific rules of versification." observes Sayd Bahodine Majrouth, editor of SONGS OF LOVE AND WAR: AFGHAN WOMEN'S POETRY.

Majrouth notes that the landay is a brief poem of two verse lines of nine and thirteen syllables respectively, without any obligatory rhyme but with solid internal scansions. Depending on the region, it is vocalized in different ways and frequently punctuates conversations where it is used as a quote or a saying, lending support to a feeling or an idea.

The above thoughts (and others from the book) do suggest that there is a right way to write the landay, even if it is a form meant to be taken up by anyone (vs only the "erudite" who often push rhetorical devices to "absurd limits" in Persian literature). And this actually made me consider again how the hay(na)ku has come about.

I remember that in many discussions I've witnessed over the haiku, there'd frequently been this questioning of whether a particular (Western) poet's haiku was a real haiku etcetera etcetera. Such discussions, in my case, have discouraged me from writing much haiku. In poetry, I've found that "simple" form is not necessarily a "welcoming" form.

One of my intents with the hay(na)ku was that there would be no such proscription to its practice and evolution besides the tercet of one-, two- and three-word lines (and DESPITE its very specific birthing as a "Filipino diasporic poetic form")

That's why I feel blessed whenever I read (and I reread and reread) the thoughts by several hay(na)ku poets over at the publisher's page for THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, for instance Nicholas Downing's thought that the hay(na)ku's "constraint sits so lightly on the composition process". I had wanted, with the hay(na)ku to create a WELCOMING poetic form -- one that facilitated the birth of poems without the poets wondering whether they're doing the form correctly. I was interested in a poetic form that acted as a world-class surfer -- that it didn't lose its form even as it hung loose.

Well, as I never said during my teen years on Southern California beaches but declaim now, Hang loose, baby. Poet, Try that hay(na)ku!

And speaking of surfing territory, off for a few days to the Pacific. Won't be back on the continent and probably online until the U.S. Thanksgiving Day. Wave!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I will gladly give you my mouth,
By why stir my pitcher? Here I am now, all wet.


Go and fight in Kabul, my love,
For you I will keep my body and my mouth intact.

--two landays by anonymous

Huh. How ‘bout that! I’ve just read the first poetry book to elicit from moi the particular thought: I wish this book would become a bestseller! I refer to SONGS OF LOVE AND WAR: ARGHAN WOMEN’S POETRY, edited by Sayd Bahodine Majrouth and translated by Marjorin de Jager (Other Press, 2003).

These songs are in the Pashtun poetic form called “landay,” two verse lines of 9 and 13 syllables, respectively. The book’s Introduction and the other section introductions are basically poetics essays, and they offer evocative illumination on how something seemingly so simple is not (as in the same way that certain effective poems distill without being reductive).

I want to share below an excerpt from the book Introduction. I have a sense that it may be controversial; I have no opinion as I don’t know much about Pashtun culture. But the Introduction was written by Majrouth, the book’s male Editor who wrote what’s been called the major poetic work in 20th century Afghan literature, Ego-Monstre, and who was assassinated in 1988 in Peshawar:

“… all the landays presented … originated from the female compendium in which the authenticity of some is revealed to be incomparable. For it is a fascinating face that emerges from these texts in which women sing and speak about themselves, about men, and about the world around them. Theirs is a proud and merciless face that is in rebellion.

“In the Pashtun community, with its tribal and clannish structure, women’s condition is especially difficult. In a group of warriors of which only the adult men who belong to the tribe and sub-class are fully fledged members, the society is run entirely by male values with the code of honor as its fundamental law. In such an environment, masculinized to the extreme, pious and fanatic in its own way, women are subjected to a double physical and moral oppression.

“Physically, they shoulder the weight of the most exhausting domestic tasks. If from time to time the men exchange gunshots and occasionally work in the fields, the better part of their life is spent in the mosque or the village square -— places where affairs of tribal policy are discussed. Women, on the other hand, work throughout the year from well before dawn until deep into the night. In addition to the help they provide during the harvest season, they assume regular and permanent manual labor without rest or any time of….

“In fact, what causes most of their suffering is the moral side of their subjugation. They feel repressed, scorned, and thought of as second rate human beings. From the cradle on, they are received with sadness and shame -- shame that does not spare the mother who gives birth to a daughter….Later, and without ever being consulted, the little girl becomes monetary exchange between families of the same clan. She spends her entire life in a state of inferiority, subordination, and humiliation. Even her husband does not stoop so low as to eat with her.

[Elsewhere in the book, there is this paragraph: “When he is barely adolescent, the son begins to beat his mother. These bursts of brutality and cruelty against the person who is his mother constitute an initiation of sorts into adulthood, a guarantee of toughness. The father watches these scenes in which the son confirms his virility with a kind of indifferent complacency.”]

“In the face of such conditions, of such ancestral restraints, what could her reaction be? Apparently, it is total submission. She performs her duties like clockwork. She accepts and suffers the value system that makes her just an object among so many others. And yet, if one takes a slightly closer look, it turns out that in her innermost self the Pashtun woman is indignant and skeptical, feeding her rebellion. From this deep-seated and hidden protest that grows more resistant with every passing day, she comes out with only two forms of evidence in the end –- her suicide and her song.

“It is known that the tribal code of honor considers suicide a cowardly act and that Islam forbids it. A Pashtun male never resorts to it. By eliminating herself in such an accursed way, a woman thus tragically proclaimis her hatred of the communitys’ law. Even her choice of the means by which to die emphasizes the iconoclastic meaning of the sacrifice: It is made only with poison or deliberate drowning. There is no bullet wound to the heart, no hanging, since the tools needed -- rifle or rope -- touch the execrated hands far too closely. Man uses the rifle to hunt and wage war and he uses rope to tie up cattle and branches of wood or to pull heavy loads.

“If with her suicide the Pashtun woman forces a socially irremediable act upon her community, her song creates a challenge of a similar nature that in its own way can also prove to be fatal to her, because her three themes taste of blood. They are the themes of love, honor and death.”


Given all that, it makes sense that the landay relies on brevity and rhythm (vs. more "learned" or mystical bases) -– “they are unprotected and without affectation” for they are meant to be able to be created by even the culturally marginalized (women). Here are two examples (these translations don’t necessarily conform to the landay’s syllabic count):

Fate brought me as husband a child I must raise
But, God, when he is tall and strong, I shall be old and weak.


Cruel people, who see how an old man leads me to his bed
And you ask why I weep and tear out my hair!

(By the way, the relationship of the landay's form to the circumstances in which women write them is an interesting forge -- I actually thought it would be of particular interest to those who've studied/been interested in/practiced Langpo. Of course, it should be of interest to many others interested in the worlds of poetry vs the poetry world.)

And it’s certainly worth noting the landays written in refugee camps. The woman in exile, say, addresses the wind:

Breeze, you who blow from the mountainside where my lover fights,
What message are you bringing me?

And the wind replies:

The message from your distant lover is the smell of gunpowder,
And the dust of rains that I carry with me.

Check out these songs – they are a history of humanity; they are talking about and to you:

I have a fading flower in my hand,
Don't know to whom I'll give it on this foreign soil.


Other recent relishes:

COLLECTED POEMS 1951-1971 by A.R. Ammons

SONGS OF LOVE AND WAR: AFGHAN WOMEN'S POETRY, edited by Sayd Bahodine Majrouth, trans. by Marjolin de Jager

THE BOY IN THE WELL And Other Poems by Daniel Mark Epstein

ECONOMY OF THE UNLOST, essays by Anne Carson

EMERSON: The Mind on Fire, biography by Robert D. Richardson, Jr.

EL CANTO DE ANIMAL, poems by Joel Tan


EVERY LIVING THING, memoir by James Herriott

THE LORD GOD MADE THEM ALL, memoir by James Herriott

JAMES HERRIOTT: The Life and Times of a Country Vet, biography by Graham Lord

1995 Harlan "The Maiden" Napa Valley

Domaine Chandon Etoile Sparkling Brut

2001 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Domaine Carneros Brut

2002 Behrens & Hitchcock merlot

2003 Dutch Henry merlot


Meanwhile, I am looking forward to reading Lev Rubinshtein's Catalogue of Comedic Novelties (recommended by the fab poet with fab critical eye, Barry Schwabsky). Based on this appetizer, I expect Rubinshtein's writings to be as enjoyable a read as another Ugly Duckling release, Brent Cunningham's BIRD & FOREST.


Zeke's Gallery has created a very useful list of those who blog on art, 414 art blogs to date (honored to be included) over at "The Art Bloggers of The World." Go tell him about your blog if you post on art and are not on his list. I've already started going through it -- specifically focusing on visual artists' blogs. I'm always interested in process. Process, of course, includes the daily living of it: a brilliant example here by Eve Andre Laramee.

I forget where I read about some now-defunct magazine in New York that had eschewed "criticism" to discuss process direct with the artists. Sadly, it only lasted 7 issues -- which, if that implies that there's no market for such, implies something sad.

(I am thinking of creating a more comprehensive set of links of visual artists who blog and interest me. Right now, they're just sprinkled through my links here, e.g. . But I'm thinking a more comprehensive listing will help me keep up with them ... who do so interest me. If I get the time to do this, I'll move over the fuller listing to the Galatea art blog.)


Galatea is special partly because of the spirits who've attended to it and attended it. Galatea's former construction foreman will be part of this effort. Some of you peeps may be interested in his (I assume) pastor's letter below, with details on how to help. And why is this on moi poetics blog? Because complaining words are paltry relative to action. I'd rather have poets than poems vote.

(Well, okay, if the poems wanna vote, let 'em vote, too...I'm certainly not here to get in their way.)

Dear potential partner,

I am sure you are aware there was a disastrous earthquake in Pakistan a couple of weeks ago. At last report over 75,000 people died and hundreds of thousands of people are without basic shelter. In the mountainous areas of Pakistan this is leading to the potential of a second tragedy. Winter is coming and due to population loss the people have not been able to rebuild their houses. In addition many families have been decimated and tens of thousands of children are now without the care and support of their families. When the snows come into these mountain villages the children will simply begin to die.

An organization called Frontiers has found a solution. A person has invented a way to construct a shelter ... It is made with materials available locally and can be constructed in just a few hours. It is insulated using packing foam and is strong enough to support ten people on the roof. It will provide a winter emergency shelter for people without housing. Enough money has already been donated to purchase the materials and get them into Pakistan. What is needed now are people to get the materials into the mountain villages and train local people to construct them.

... If you would like to partner with ...others to save the lives of families and children in Pakistan you may make a donation made out to Redwood Covenant Church -- Pakistan Aid. If you are partnering with a specific person please write their name on the memo portion of the check. Otherwise just put "team" or leave blank and we'll assume it is to support the whole team.

Redwood Covenant Church will use this money only to support this mission and will be glad to give any donor a financial report about how all donations were expended. Our connection with Frontiers comes from supporting two of our own members who were in Iraq for the last year with Frontiers. One is helping rebuild the water system (he went back!) and another was giving support and training to Iraqi medical personnel. I can vouch for Frontiers and for the work they do.

A Frontiers worker on the ground in Pakistan has sent us an account of the situation there. It is terrible in the mountain areas. The government is overwhelmed and has not been able to get anyone in there to even help bury the dead. He is pleading for people to come before winter to save the lives of the children. The government is also pleading for outside workers and need them so badly they are granting visas in just 30 minute. There is no time to waste.

Please do what you can to help your friend and others get there. You'll probably never have a chance to help people far away in so direct a manner.

God bless you for being a partner,

John Strong
Senior Pastor
Redwood Covenant Church
3175 Sebastopol Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
www. Redwoodcovenant.org

Monday, November 14, 2005

10:32 p.m., Monday

The German Shepherds are snoring. The cats are still furballs. In the darkness, we wait out the world in the interstice between two fists formed by wind and mountain. Their struggle is noisy, but stone walls and thick glass hold to keep their war "outside" of us. I shall store this moment in a locket that, this Thursday, will dangle over the Pacific Ocean. And black sand against which my toe shall draw this memory.


From latest (ongoing) interview:
...we have been talking about US military bases in the Philippines, and all of us were pretty upset, emotional, and sad about what is happening over there. There was a news report about one filipina being raped by 6 US Marines... How do you feel about such issues?

My Answer: Obviously, I am distressed over the incident. It's telling that I can't help but focus on how the Philippine authorities will respond over this incident, i.e. whether they will actually follow through on punishing the perpetrators or whether they'll sacrifice this incident for colonial kiss-assing of the U.S....

It's always so gratifying to see intelligence, commitment and committed intelligent writing at work. To wit, Carol Pagaduan Araullo is my latest link, and she has this to say about the OUTRAGE:

"The chances that justice will come for the 22-year-old Filipina who has accused 6 US servicemen of raping her last November 1 inside the former US base in Subic, Olongapo City is no better than previous cases of rape and even homicide that were lodged against members of the US military during the heyday of the US bases in the country.

"During that time, poor Filipinos scavenging for scrap material inside the fenced-off base area were shot at like wild pigs, apparently not so much for security reasons but as target practice for bored soldiers manning security outposts. No cases of rape or manslaughter have ever been successfully pursued till the perpetrators get their just desserts because of the sheer lopsided status of the Filipino victims versus their American tormentors.

"The Filipino public is especially quick to be roused to sympathize with a rape victim [...] But this is not an ordinary criminal case involving another Filipino whereby Philippine jurisdiction over the case would be undisputed. What has immediately been invoked both by US and Philippine authorities is the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that, despite merely being considered an “executive agreement” by the US government, appears to supervene the national laws of this land, including the Revised Penal Code that covers heinous crimes such as gang rape."

from the ever-beloved "Gabriela and Achilles" series

From latest (ongoing) interview:
Q: Do you own any pets?
A: I have two German Shepherds and two cats. They are good for me since I'm a poet, i.e., they take me out of my mind and self.

Missy WinePoetics notes: in wine country, we do it the French-Kissing way -- by taking our long-tongued dogs to restaurants...

...which we did Sunday for brunch at the faboo Cindy's Back Street Kitchen. I didn't have a camera to memorialize the occasion. But I do have a related photo of a similar incident. To wit, this photo of Moi and Achilles was taken in de-lovely and de-licious Bistro Jeanty.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


YaY! Moi Meritage Press' latest release, Sean Finney's debut poetry collection THE OBEDIENT DOOR just got reviewed by Midwest Book Review. Shortly and sweetly:

The Obedient Door is the debut publication of journalist and copywriter Sean Finney's seemingly spontaneous and always original poetry. Shout Words at Your Feet: Our deep green descent/of the lake road/in arms again and after/nothing to turn away//from the syllables on a different/autumn road, where I watched the leaves/shout words at your feet//Shelve the past, its mullions,/its cardinals, rent from the homes/on cold streets//and to design you, out of glass,/no one sat

You can check out Sean's doorway to poetry via Small Press Distribution, Amazon, and special bookstores near you (who would become special if you told them to stock it!).

By the way, more than one Peep has said that they consider THE OBEDIENT DOOR one of the most fabulously-designed poetry books they've ever seen. I concur -- with the credit due to Ward Schumaker whose artistry graces the book.


So I curate "Galatea" as the intersection of poetry, art, wine and nature. And this occasionally calls for asking local artists to participate in this mountain-intervention I'm concocting. And one Madame Durall is one such artist; in her case, she's doing a series of ceramics -- a series that may be her most significant work to date.

Well, the Madame is also a "senior citizen" and thus was exponentially affected by a recent bout of flu that she'd caught from her grandchild. She says she was "an hour away" from expiring sometime last week. What got her out of the emergency room? Realizing that she hadn't finished her Galatea ceramics series.

I saw her yesterday as she dropped off some more pieces, and she looked quite chipper.

Can you imagine rousing yourself out of your death bed because, hand slap to forehead, There's that poem that still needs to be finished...!

Friday, November 11, 2005

from the ever-beloved "Gabriela and Achilles" series

known to moi Peeps as "Galatea," everyone gets along, no matter how different they are from each other. To wit, all claws are sheathed here as:

L: Artemis; R: Achilles


I hope that this brings home to them not only the importance of studying Filipino American history and the Philippines, but also the importance of having a transnational, holistic perspective in general. It's all connected.
--Gladys Nubla

So much rape going on. Yes, I use that word "rape" judiciously.

So much rape (including self-raping) in the poetry world. Then there's the raping (an old story) by U.S. soldiers whilst presumably conducting counter-terrorist training over at the Philippines.

I mentally structured a new poetic series connecting these (and other) dots while driving around this morning on errands. Returned to the writing studio eager to write it out. As soon as I began, I lost the appetite for it. To paraphrase Anne Carson, "The vocation of [assholes] is not mine / I know my source."

I'm just blogging this brief-ness now because if you are reading me, you are implicated in all this. Yes: you are.

Educate yourself.


If this post offended you, the form still mismatched content: just think of how rape victims feel....


Speaking of flying Filipino poets (scroll below for photo), Regie Cabico is one of the recipients this year of Poets & Writer' "Writers for Writers Award". Let me share Regie's missive sent to a million of his best friends, to wit:


its regie cabico here giving you a shout out of personal good news...

some of you may already know this but i am writing to tell you that i am the recipient of the 10th annual writers for writers award sponsored by poets & writers. the award honors authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community.

three writers are chosen each year and honored at the ritz carlton, feb. 28 (my truman capote moment)

honored with me are anna quindlan, novelist, and bill henderson, founder of the pushcart prize, best of the small press

below are the previous recipients

over the last 12 years of my work as an educator and literary curator & editor never in my wildest dreams would i expect to get this honor. i feel that i do the work because i want people to be heard and i enjoy that. my jewel has been the bellvue program and work with urban word. i share this award with you because you inspire me.

i feel that by having won this prize, the work that we do as freelance poets digging heart and soul in the further disenfranchised trenches of this city are being honored.

we are an emerging group of politically charged teaching artists and activists with passion and i can only hope that more attention will be given for what it is we do.

much love
p.s. now all i need is a hot guy in a tux

past winners:
edward albee, mary higgins clark, e.l. doctorow, rita dove, cornelius eady, marita golden, barbara goldsmith, e. lynn harris, bob holman, june jordan, stephen king, barbara kingsolver, stanley kunitz, wally lamb, terry mcmillan, james michener, arthur miller, walter mosley, sidney offit, ishmael reed, susan sontag, william styron, amy tan, quincy troupe, scott turow, hilma wolitzer


I read [Derek] Walcott for some of the same reasons I read poets such as Amiri Baraka, Elizabeth Alexander, Wilson Harris, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Sandra Cisneros, N. Scott Momaday, Eileen Tabios and Thomas Sayers Ellis: because of how they negotiate the inevitable conjunction of language, race and the canon.
--Guillermo Juan Parra

I thank Guillermo for that honor of listing me among those he reads for negotiating "the inevitable conjunction of language, race and canon." Related to such is one of my modest efforts: the sponsoring of

2005 Meritage Press' "Babaylan Speaks" Poetry Contest

Babaylan invites Filipino Poets to click on the above link and participate. This year's judge is Jean Vengua.

Previous winners were

2004: Joel H. Vega (Judge: Sarah Gambito)

2003: Luisa A. Igloria (Judge: Patrick Rosal)

2002: Naya S. Valdellon & Michella Rivera-Gravage (Judge: Oliver de la Paz)

2001: Carlomar Arcangel Daoana (Judge: Nick Carbo)

I'm pleased that the Babaylan Speaks Forum has served to introduce fabulous Filipino poets whose English deserves attention. You can click on the Babaylan Speaks Archives to see these poets' lovely words. Winners' poems are featured during the February months.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

from the beloved "Achilles and Gabriela" series

Dear, was it the sex that made you come ...

... here to the blog?

Twas the poetry? you say? I say, You lie through your teeth!

Anyhoo, the hubby just emailed Moi:

"Achilles' brother, Xoltan, just won the 2005 Dutch Junghund Sieger meaning he was the best young dog in show. Xoltan also came in third in the 2005 US Championships for young German Shepherds. Achilles is such a special dog he would trounce all of them under his paws!!!"

Then the hubby said I should post a photo of Achilles. Now, my hubby rarely pays attention (or pretends he doesn't pay much attention) to my blog. So I'll accommodate his request. After all, Mama Moi is also proud of Achilles who just passed his veterinarian exam, to wit: no hip dysphlasia (sp). Yay! Plus his stool has hardened again! YaY! (Hard poop is always cool -- just ask any dawg lover!)

Here are Achilles (on left) and Gabriela peaceably sharing a squirrel soft toy (long since chewed apart and disposed of in tatters):

Moi, moi! The doggies are engrossed with watching that sun approach! Good ol' sun loves to embrace moi puppies!


Yesterday, did some slight editing of CONTEXT: THE POET'S MEMOIR. Chopped out the bad sex (this is fiction, after all, and in moi fictions I always have anti-bad sex). Which reminds me of this absolutely hilarious comment from the Suny Poetics List in this morning's in-box; from Dan Waber (a hay(na)ku appreciator! Hi Dan!). The comment was in response to a post by Ron that partly addressed stressed vs unstressed syllables (see how all poetry leads to sex?). To wit, Dan sez:

I side with John Barth on the issue:

"My feeling about technique in art," he told an interviewer in 1968, "is that it has about the same value as technique in love-making. That is to say, on the one hand, heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and, on the other hand, so does heartless skill; but what you want is passionate virtuosity."

Sex is like poetry, to me -- not in foregoing the "heartfelt ineptitudes" but in knowing that when one chooses the inept, one does so for a reason rather than having been compromised into that position.

Gratitude to Dan Waber for waking me up this morning! And now to spend the day with sex on moi mind.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


MOI WINGS ARE INVISIBLE BUT, CLEARLY, I FLY! By which I mean, take a look at 2nd photo below. But before that, a preface:

Occasionally, I take a swipe at cleaning up my voluminous files. Well, in my latest effort, lookit what said files spewed out! From my days in the New York still topped by Twin Towers, here are photos of me with U.S.-American poets and with Filipino-American poets. Hmmm. So what would be the implications to the difference in stances...? Heee....

L to R: Billy Collins, Donna Massini, David Lehman, Marie Howe, Charles Bernstein, J.D. McClatchy, Eileen Tabios, Yusef Kumonyakaa.

L to R: Eric Gamalinda, Jessica Hagedorn, Nick Carbo, Regie Cabico, Eileen Tabios, Luis H. Francia.

Hmmmm. That first photo -- dang if, even now, I can sense how tightly I'm gripping that wine glass.

Heeee. What I do to amuse moiself....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


is the title of an "experimental novel" that I conceptualized this morning and sculpted into a completed draft this evening. About 250 pages.


THE BOSNIA ELEGIES, poems by Adrian Oktenberg

HIV, MON AMOUR, poems by Tory Dent


"CAR TUNE" & NOT SO BELLA DONNA, poems by Julie Patton

48 MINUTES LEFT, poems by Michelle Naka Pierce

BARK IF YOU LOVE ME, memoir by Louise Bernikow

ANNE SEXTON: THE LAST SUMMER, photographs by Arthur Furst and writings by Anne Sexton, with intro by Linda Gray Sexton


THE VIEW FROM 80, memoir by Malcolm Cowley

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, memoir by James Herriiott (re-read)




IT TAKES A VILLAGE IDIOT, memoir by [some "idiot"]

WILDERNESS MOTHER, memoir by Deanna Kawatski

VET IN THE VESTRY, memoir by Alexander Cameron



1993 Ravenswood zinfandel
2000 Chateau La Narthe CNP Cuvee Des Cadettes
1994 Wynn's Connawarra Estate "Michael" shiraz
2000 Kistler chardonnay Durell Vineyards
2002 Tofanelli Napa Valley charbono
1998 Lengs & Cooter Reserve Shiraz

Monday, November 07, 2005


I began my blog Galatea Poetry Library so that I can keep track of which poetry books I own -- a goal ever since I noticed that I've been buying more than one copy of the same book because I haven't kept track of my To-Read Piles. Anyway, I just updated the blog to include authors whose last names begin wtih "P." This seems like a good reason to remind that -- as part of my goal to read every single poem ever written -- I will trade poetry books.

I will trade from my author copies of Reproductions... and Menage a Trois... , and then spare copies of certain titles, all of which are in excellent or new condition. If you wanna trade, here are some of the available titles I have in no particular order (I have more....just haven't gotten around to a comprehensive listing yet). To trade, just email me at GalateaTen@aol.com:

HEADING HOME (Giraffe Books, Quezon City, 1996)

N/O (Roof Books, 2005)

Say Goodnight (Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA, 1998)

WARP SPASM (paintings and poems, Spuyten Duyvil, New York, 2001)

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, Ed. Karen V. Kukil (First Anchor Books Edition, New York, 2000)

As Editor, WOMEN OF THE BEAT GENERATION: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution (anthology, Conari Press, Berkeley, 1996)

the time at the end of this writing (Ahadada Books, Tokyo and Toronto, 2004)

SEEKING AIR (fiction, Sun & Moon, Los Angeles, 1997)

Museum of Absences (Meritage Press / University of the Philippines Press, St. Helena/San Francisco and Manila, 2004)

Bridgeable Shores: Selected Poems (1969-2001) Edited by Eileen Tabios (Kaya Press, New York, 2001)

As Editor, Pinoy Poetics: Autobiographical and Critical Writings on Filipino and Filipino American Poetics (Meritage Press, St Helena and San Francisco, 2004)

As Editor, Returning The Borrowed Tongue: An Anthology of Filpino and Filipino American Poetry (Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 1995)

TRI / VIA (Erudite Fangs, Boulder, CO and PUB LUSH, Pittsburgh, 2003)

As Co-EditorS, Man of Earth: An Anthology of Filpino Poetry and Verse from English 1905 to the Mid-50s (Ateneo de Manila University Press, Manila, 1989)

I will also trade from most of the titles at my publisher's stock at Meritage Press; list of books here at this link encompasses titles by John Yau, Archie Rand, Barry Schwabsky, Sean Finney, among others.

P.S. Ernesto just e-mailed me about "Library Thing" which allows you to catalogue your library online (thanks Ernesto). Looks interesting and may be of interest to some of you Peeps!


I'm thankful for Patrick's GRACE-WRINGING response to my prior post re anger and love....

...and the movement from my blog post to his post is also what I mean by "mirror poetics". In my poems, I'm not writing to say something so much as to hear what you have to say.

Pat, thanks for sharing.


Sometimes, when I'm interviewed by people who know a little about my background, I get the impression that people want me to be angry, to react angrily...because, yah, I am a political poet. And this push to anger reminds me of what I've long wondered about anger, specifically its limitations.

There are all sorts of good reasons to be angry, both in terms of causes and strategies for response. But I also find it ... a bit easy. For instance, I think anger can be easy relative to love-ing (I insert that "ing" to denote love as a verb, pro-active, vs as a noun).

On the other hand, it's often convenient -- in poetics -- to be angry. I call this the papparazzi effect. Like, when a movie star throws a blow at some "pappa" photographer, the story becomes about said blow and nothing else. Hence, the ultimate uselessness to me.

I'd rather try to love you...."try" being the operative word here because I often fail (love would be weak if it only loved the love-able, eh?). But I would like to persevere. I would like to love you.

Speaking of my lies, ahem, my loves, Michelle writes in as regards my recent posts on being interviewed:

Hi Eileen,

Read your "Note Bene" post. I don't see how those "lies" are conflicting. Perhaps you did like finance and considered yourself more of a financier as opposed to being a banker. Besides isn't poetix all about embodying multiple lies, ahem, truths? I don't see a reason to keep track of the "lies". It simply said that you had a love-hate relationship with your previous career. And who can't relate to that? i think we all too often try to portray "truth" as a singular idea, it was only good, it was only bad.

Often I think that our answers to questions sometimes more reflects the kind of question asked and how the question was phrased, along with a whole lot of other things like moon cycles, planet alignment, and whether the coffee was just right in the morning.

There are two ways to create magic: don't reveal anything and make them guess, or reveal everything and make them question what they think is true. If you go the "watch your answers" route, that's don't reveal anything, but it seems you're well on your way of "reveal everything" and make them wonder what is true, so why change tactics now? Keeping track of lies is so much work too.


Nicely -- and for me, conveniently -- put, Michelle. I guess I'll just have to keep lying to y'all in moi own loving way!

After all, when it comes to poetics, I may be political but I'd much rather be magical!

Friday, November 04, 2005


I'm being interviewed....again. Maybe I'll try something new this time -- and actually be careful of what I say (keep track of my lies, that is). Because I realized yesterday that in my Sidereality interview, I said I enjoyed my ex-finance career....whereas in my interview in The Sword Review, I said I detested my ex-banking career.

Sip Diet Coke.

Nah. The thought of being careful when it comes to poetix just seems so pussy vs jaguar.

Anyhoot, I'm being interviewed again...and the latest bout made me wake up this morning with this Nota Bene:

When I say I want, in my poems, to write mirrors, that is not quite the same thing as writing to an audience.


Yah. I just added Ted Berrigan's 632-page COLLECTED POEMS to the poetry library. I'ma with Allen on this: how can one not?


Sigh. And there go my computer screen go wet and dripping again as more wine snorts out through my enchanting nose.

Remember when this occurred recently? 'Twas when I opened an email from someone addressing me as "Professor Eileen Tabios"...and I told them to bag the professorship as I'm just trying to grow some grapes here on the mountain upon which moi ass is delicately parked. Well, just now, I opened their reply and they begin, "Dear Professor Eileen Tabios, / I cannot help but be formal when addressing someone such as yourself, Eileen Tabios."

Such as moiself?

That's rich, ain't it? Too bad it made me nose-spout out some of that yummy 2000 Chateau La Narthe CNP Cuvee Des Cadettes....Wipe, wipe...

Mayhap some peeps are are actually believing my promotional blather (well of course Moi promotes moiself -- who else would do it with such elan, not to mention composure)?

or maybe, since they're students, they're just showing respect for their elders -- which I appreciate ... and if only I felt like my age so I could behave like a respectable "elder" (hah).

Anyhoot, peeps really shouldn't take my blather more seriously than I do. After all, I'm illegal.


Oh, yes. I've been advised by a lawyer-peep that Moi am illegal. I long have known this, of course, but politely asked when this conversation occurred last week, "What do you mean?" as I didn't know which transgression of mine was raising said lawyer's eyebrow.

He explained that the use of trademarks on the cover of Post Bling Bling infringes copyrights, to wit:

I guess he means the logos of Nike, American Express, Ford et al. Well, puh-leaze: if only these conglomerates would care about poetry and the munificent sums made in commodifying such, so's I can get into a ramble with the big boys; nothing like said rambles to sell poetry books, you know what I mean? So I thanked the lawyer but mentally replied with a Yawn and went on with my life. To wit, we's got a winner in the "Bling on the Wabi Sabi" contest (scroll below for last week's posts), and:

I'm grateful to the Philippine American Writers & Artists (PAWA) organization for designating a "Calatagan" Award for Moi four books including the one with illegal cover:

I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press)

Menage a Trois with the 21st Century (xPress(ed))

Behind the Blue Canvas (Giraffe Books)

Post Bling Bling (Moria Poetry)

I'm looking forward to the award manifestation of a ceramics piece by San Francisco Bay Area ceramics artist Sharlyn Shegoian, as inspired by the "palayok" earthenware artifact discovered about 2,500 years ago in the caves of Calatagan, Batangas, Philippines.

Sadly, I won't be able to make it to the Awards festivities (gotta do "Hollywood Nights" in southern Cal this weekend), but you should go anyway if you can as it sounds like a fabulous time -- and FREE ADMISSION -- with music and other entertainment, plus, I believe, a pot-luck din din. (Dang! I hate missing food!) Here's details, with more info at http://www.pawainc.com/events.htm

PAWA, Inc.
invites you to the second biennial
Calatagan Awards Night
Saturday, November 5, 2005
7:00 P.M.
at the Randall Museum Theater
199 Museum Way, San Francisco, California

Lucia Bayona, singer
Florante Aguilar, guitarist
the Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company
Maria Clara, Pakaraguian and Barrio Fiesta suites
accompanied by the Hiyas Music Ensemble.

Refreshments and book displays will follow the program.

This event sponsored by PAWA, Inc. is free.
Although not necessary, please e-mail: pawa@pawainc.com if you plan to attend and indicate the number of people you will be with.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


"By choosing to be inspired by non-literary forms, I feel that my literary works end up being more surprising within the literary arena. And because the other non-literary forums are typically areas in which I have zero or very little expertise, it also allows me to grow more and grow less predictably as a person/artist."

So I sez in this interview where all my lies, ahem, fictions are catching up to me. The latest interview of Moi is published by THE SWORD REVIEW, a fantasy publication. How apt! Please to check out my conversation with Rochita Loenen-Ruiz. (Thanks Rochita!)

(And ye beloved synchronicity! Merriam-Webster's word du jour is "catachresis"!)

Now, if only I can find that sci-fi story of mine, "Fahrenheit 55" -- inspired, of course, by Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451". Or as I put it in interview:

My favorite fantasy story is arguably Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 whose title references the temperature at which paper spontaneously combusts. // I loved it so much that it inspired me to write my first -- and, to date, only -- sci fi story which I titled Fahrenheit 55 to reference the ideal storage temperature for wine. The story was about a future where food had become commoditized into tasteless pills, thus elevating the value of the remaining bottles of fine wine that still exists (some really great fine wines can last for a century if stored properly).

But I can't find the dang story. That's the -- my -- "problem" with being a poet: it's okay if I lose whatever I write, including anything brilliant (which my non-biased eye deems for my token sci fi story). Losing the words is my desired path, after all, for all my poems.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I'm pleased, not just to start receiving some orders for THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY but also at the profiles of those expressing interest:

an "established" poet who wants to study the form;

a poet who is considering it for use in teaching high school students;

a reviewer from a Chicago-based Filipino American newspaper;

a decolonialism scholar;

a New Zealand-based poet (who also wants to know if there are other NZ-based poets writing the hay(na)ku -- let me know, please, if you know of any);

someone interested in Filipino literature who wants to give it out as Holiday presents this year;

and poets, poets, poets...from around the world! I do love the internet's global reach!

Thanks for the continuing interest -- do keep the SPECIAL RELEASE OFFER in mind!


Trespass, pilgrim,
toward and away from me
the one who broke ranks
with the dead, sprawling classes
out of use. Making
free with syntax they say
they want to get me high
and they do; I definitely
heard the ghosts singing and this
was the sound they made.
--from "CRICKETS, INC." by Barry Schwabsky

Three new poems by Barry Schwabsky at Drexel University's Dragonfire website offer three reasons to check out his books

OPERA: Poems 1981-2002


[ways] (with Hong Seung-Hye)

If you click on the Dragonfire link, you also can hear Barry read his poem "Crickets, Inc."


14 sonnets in 14 minutes.

Said time span including a couple of coffee breaks.

Just thought you'd like to know.

I'd never written a sonnet before....It's amazing how easy this poem-writing stuff is when one practices "silence poetics." Sip.


flexibly tempered
to American speech

received sound pearls
fit (un)tutored
--Sheila E. Murphy

Thanks to Jerrold Shirroma for putting up my new publisher's page on THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY over at the Meritage Press website. About 40 poets from around the world are represented in the anthology. You may be interested in clicking on the publisher's page for many of the poets' thoughts about the hay(na)ku form --

like Aimee Nezhukumatathil saying writing the hay(na)ku is like snapping a towel at someone you love. Or Karri Kokko using it to travel around the world. Or Ernesto Priego appreciating how the form engenders an English that "doesn't obliterate the mothertongue." Or landlocked Crag Hill being enabled by it to smell sea salt. Check out the publisher's page for their complete thoughts, as well as the thoughts of Ivy Alvarez, Tom Beckett, Michael Chmielecki, Nicholas Downing, Jilly Dybka, Thomas Fink, Michael Helsem, Jill Jones, Kirsten Kaschock, Rachel Kendrick, Tucker Lieberman, Sheila E. Murphy, Jay Rosevear, Jim Ryals, Radhey Shiam, harry k. stammer, Dan Waber and James Wren.

And then check out the book itself for what others have to say about the hay(na)ku! If you're a poet and haven't yet tried it, please to try the hay(na)ku! That form just might surprise you -- and please you -- as it has so many others!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I relish every poem I read, even the ones that elicit a snort.

It's a useful strategy for Moi.

But then again, Moi doesn't need November to be drunk every day, every hour, every minute, every second. Others in wine country need to get to October or November to be drunk from merely breathing -- harvest is nearly over in wine country and the air is one of fermentation.

And because my thirst can never be slaked -- and is only stoked with more emptied goblets -- I relish every poem I read.

Missy WinePoetics

P.S. 2005 looks to be an outstanding year for California wine -- such, no doubt, will affect moi Poetry...


...and the Chatelaine coos at her latest baby:

Which is to say, I reviewed proofs and sent back to printer said proofs for THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY!!! Should be out by the end of this month, in time for holiday gift-giving!!!

Check out the NEW RELEASE OFFER via the Hay(na)ku Blog!

from the ever-beloved "Achilles and Gabriela Series"

Don't take my word for this.
Put no head above your own.
Have your own experience.

Halloween was a matter of Achilles and Gabriela chewing through their pumpkin-shaped soft toy. A special toy, mind you! It was "carved" with spaces denoting eyes and mouth and nose -- spaces through which the doggies could stick their snouts in trying to get at the treats: a white soft toy shaped like Casper the Friendly Ghost and two brown bones marked "TREATS".

They enjoyed struggling to get the treats out, which then became, to their gratification, squeaky toys.

And all this has to do with poetics because the dogs wouldn't have appreciated the toy as much without the struggle -- they appreciated the squeaky treats more because they had to work them out. It's worth considering when it comes to the writing process: whether one ends up just repeating what one inherits -- which is to say, also repeating one's self over and over again.

Some poet-peeps, from my readings, understand the point I'm making. Where they falter is how their search for the "new" (or maybe not the new but even just the "next" step) sacrifices the archetypal intensities required to make their writings relevant to readers not invested in their searches.

I digress to share, too, of what this reminds me tangentially -- a poet/art critic's tale about meeting some monochromatic minimalist painters in Germany. How, said poet was visiting an artist's studio replete with large single-color canvases. And the painter insisting with much much intensity, "But look here....look here....this inch, this inch is very significant...". I suspect that despite the minimalist image, the canvases just emoted expressionistically...which is important. I think if I lived next century and stumbled across those canvases, I would still feel the intensity of the painter's feelings, even as the whole underpinning of that period of monochromatic paintings was coldly calculated, in many ways, to be anti-gesture.

This also all reminds me of Hollywood's reception to Angelina Jolie vs. Jennifer Aniston. How many in La-La land are more likely to side with Jennifer because she affirms what they are about in the acting world. Whereas Angelina is off adopting orphans in Africa. Perhaps some in Hollywood would side with Jennifer because Angelina's path shows how the Hollywood in-bred path is so limited. And doesn't this, too, hearken...the poetry world?

My mood this morning? I'm giving the finger to all my inheritances.

And the finger becomes the pen...

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