Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Nice company of poets -- order info here. Thanks to editors Nikki Widner & David Gardner for including me. I'm looking forward to the mag's multidisciplinary contents!


Oh wow!!!! With Francesca's "fridge hay(na)ku", I finally know what to do with those magnetic poetry thingies! Makes sense given the One Word Hay(na)ku!

snap snap
snap snap LIGHTbulb!


the I
of invention, always,

anyone's kingdom,
but a haven,

shelter we
all helped construct.

What a lovely response by Ernesto to my prior post -- go here to see his hay(na)ku sequence entitled "I of Invention."

I don't know whether I believe Poetry is a haven -- or maybe I would consider it such if redemption is a sanctuary (oh, yeah, baby -- once, I practiced *illegitimate dangers* and came to lengthen my poems' lines! Sip. 2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay tonight).

What I am clear about: Poetry is "not anyone's kingdom."


I know I didn't invent the hay(na)ku. It's curatorially convenient -- e.g. in bios and descriptions of the form -- to say I "created" or "invented" it. But I do know the difference between B.S., I mean, P.R. and reality. So, for the record, I know I didn't invent the hay(na)ku (though I ask for your forgiveness in advance if I lapse to using that word in the future since I'm also lazy).

The word "invent" begins with "I". I didn't invent hay(na)ku. I merely (cough) facilitated a space for it. That space was filled by a core group of poets who wrote the form out so beautifully that their results came to others' attentions and then created interest in the form. (Well -- to belabor the obvious -- how's 'bout that! It's exactly how I view the experience of reading/engaging a poem!) This group during the early days of the form's growth includes, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, Tom Beckett, Mark Young, Ernesto Priego, Jean Vengua, Craig Freeman, Kirsten Kaschock, Pinoy poets from the Flips Listserve, and others whose names I can't recall at the moment.

Iin particular, credit is due to the hay(na)ku sequence poets who persuade Ron Silliman that it's a stanza not a poem (though I only partly agree with that) because the sequence was what most elevated the form (in my opinion anyway) during the early days of it being writ.

It's all to say, that core group poets -- not me -- invented the hay(na)ku. They did it viz Love.

I am all about Love.

When it comes to poetry, there are certain things that interest me -- and it's not this stuff I get credit for in tomes that seek to pin down history. I'm mostly interested in the stuff that will never be credited to me because they cannot be known, only felt. Felt. I will always welcome being felt up. Felt, Honey. Like sheer





Sip. Morning coffee. Well, Good morning. So if you'll excuse me -- gotta go offline to wash my hair from all that piss the angels released as they laughed quite hard this morning at my latest incarnate incarnation.

Monday, January 30, 2006


This is a post partly for students. I love you students. I love it and appreciate it -- and, quite unbelievably, am even humbled -- when you wish to write a paper on me. To help you out -- but also to prevent the time-consuming consumings by Moi of going through the same territory over and over with individual youse -- here are two links where you can gaze back at Moi Kiss-Puckered Navel: This, supplemented by This#2.

Which is all a preamble to: so I got emailed this last night (judiciously edited to protect the missive-maker's identity) --

Hello ma'am.
I am a student [at] __________. I am taking up BA Language and Literature. My undergraduate thesis will be about your poetry. I'm very interested in studying about the influence of ekphrasis, abstract expressionism and wine in your poerty. Indeed, the aesthetic value of your poetry manifests the genius of a Filipina writer.

Other than this, i am also incorporating your poetry to the issues and discourses od postmodernism, diaspora and possibly, postcolonialism. I am truly excited about pursuing this study. However, I am having a great difficulty looking for your books at bookstores here. I only found "Beyond Life Sentences" and the other two books which I prefer to study titled "Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole" and "I Take Thee, English, for My Beloved" are nowhere to be found.

I am in deep trouble if I don't have a copy of those two books within this week because I need to be able to submit analyses of all the poems related to my study ASAP. I'm still thinking if I'll just focus on "Reproductions of the empty Flagpole" or I'll get a sample of poems in your three collections which i aforementioned. If i dont get a copy, it might impede me to graduate on time.

Please send me the poems included in your Reproductions of the Empty Flagpoler ASAP. Im really in dire need of your help. Other than that, i might be needing informations and insights from you during the course of my study so I might be interviewing you through e-mail. I hope ypu won't mind. This is to help me have an excellent and well-researched study on your brilliant collections. I'll be waiting for your kind reply,... God bless you.


Well. It speaks for itself, eh? Most importantly, it seems to me, if this project might impede this student's ability to graduate, why is said student waiting a week before deadline to determine my books were not available locally? And then you email the author ...?!

Now, the thing is, this is not the first time I get emails from college students. Is this the meaning of living in an Internet Age? That students can now approach the authors they're studying and it's certainly easy enough to get many peeps' emails.I sort of find that interesting and keep wondering what it would have been like for me, at age 18-21, to be able to approach the authors of texts that I was studying.

Oh, but wait -- I never studied in college dot dot dot though I would like to think that had I been sending a letter to anyone requesting a favor, especially to a writer, I'd at least use Spellcheck dot dot dot


Speaking of collegiate and collegial days, SF State had -- maybe still has? -- this fabulous class on contemporary literature or poetry or writing. My point being that the instructors would invite the authors of assigned texts to give a class lecture and Q&A. I was honored to be invited twice, by Profs. Bob Gluck and (then-prof) Justin Chin. Following each spiel, there was a Q&A.

I've never forgotten this one question from a man who asked twice for me to explain how exactly my poetry (and specifically the poems in Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole) are "political." I could tell he was genuinely trying to see my POV, versus asking the question with some underhanded negative intent. And I did, in fact, understand his confusion -- it does seem at times that people seem to talk more about my ekphrastic vs political approaches (background: I've never seen why I had to choose between the stances of "art for art's sake" or "politics").

And I did try to answer the gentleman's question, e.g. how abstraction lends itself (for me) to dissing narrative as in The Master Narrative used to turn my birthland into the United States' first colonial exercise.

Still, I've never been sure I was clear that day. Well, while setting up Moi Goody Blog (which, while useful for students, is really to continue my E-therizing myself into an E-presence in the literary world -- see 1/29 post), I realized that others can explicate why I'm a political poet (and maybe better than I can). It being a new blog, it's barely gotten off the ground, but Moi's navel there is already presenting some black political moles.

All FYI, y'all. Moi exists to shovel out FYI's dot dot dot


taste of
something similar to

--Allen Bramhall

So soo me if youse see me since I had to switch (but temporarily!) from THE BLURBED BOOK to another book. But now I've finished editing CONTEXT: A POET'S MEMOIR and can return to the book that y'all blurbed.

Still, I gotta do some warmup. To wit, I've been making hay(na)ku out of each blurb, just for said warm-up. Like-ish the "decontextualization" discussed by Allen and Jeff over on their Antic View blog (while also discussing Allen's hay(na)ku). Like, here's one blurbed hay(na)ku (titled after each blurber):


gets married everytime
she writes

a beautiful wildness
where she

occasionally other things
happen, like

she glows, too
her peeps

several projects (languages,
books, blogs,

airplanes) at once.

For comparison, here's Del Ray's original blurb:

"eileen tabios gets married everytime she writes a poem. her poetry is a beautiful wildness -- this is where she lives. occasionally other things happen, like wine and even more beauty. she glows, too, like poetry. sometimes her peeps blink in aweness. several projects (languages, books, blogs, new forms, airplanes) at once. sip."

Here's another example:


"My Glorious Melanie
on Squid's

is too an essential act!

And here's Mike's original blurb:

Over the years our company brings in different talent once a month over our lunch hour. I don't know how they got Eileen Tabios -- she is the best we have ever had. In her craft of her storytelling and in her compassionate gutsy tough expression of female experience, she creates unique designs on her 1969 electric typewriter, including strong, graphic images inspired by calcium deposits and mildew, over which she has run a squeegee like a heartbroken woman mourning the loss of her lesbian lover. A sheep, goat, camel or cow can be sacrificed but we should not lose sight of the fact that Eileen Tabios's "My Glorious Melanie on Squid's Whelping" is too an essential act.

It's all amusing to Moi dot dot dot who's warming up, warming up dot dot dot


And as I revvvv up Moi's Lamborghini engine, check out Ernesto's report on how

is dangerously
spreading in Mexico!

Mexico City-based hay(na)ku writers:

Noé (in Spanish)

Hilda (in English and Spanish)

Francesca (in Portuguese and Spanish)

Rebeka (in English)

Emmanuel (in Spanish and English)


And not to forget this lovely moment in the Netherlands:

"Mama, we are both writers."

And Mama is writing some hay(na)ku!


Last but not least, don't forget the SEX lost among papers littering my writing desk!

Sunday, January 29, 2006


I've canceled my trip to AWP, including 2 panels at which I'd been skedded to appear (sorry). The impetus to canceling was family-related, but truthfully, it's a relief, and now seems a fitting decision.

Prior to AWP, I'd canceled another gig. Recently, I came up with a panel idea (a brilliant one, I might gratuitously add since this blog exists partly to enable me to be gratuitous), but then have yet to do anything about venue-ing it.

I've been feeling for a long while now that the ("usual") public arenas for supposedly sharing my work -- fun-ly social though they can be -- aren't really that conducive to how I would like to approach my poetry.

In fact, as one who's long been active on the Internet for so many reasons (such as significantly bypassing the closed arms of those would-be power brokers), I am beginning to see that Moi's latest concoction, GALATEA RESURRECTS (see 1/24 post), is an extension of the Form in which I revel and relish for my Poetry:

An E-Form.

E as in internet, sure. But E also as in Ethereal, Evanescent, Evaporating. E as Eileen but only part of Eileen because a Poem transcends its author. E as in process: where I begin a poem but desiring to have it Elevated away from mE.

(This is partly the paradox behind the covers to my books ENGLISH and MENAGE A TROIS -- the inclusion of my image being a grounding, but from whence the poems Escaped. A grounding because Poetry for me is timeless and a book is a snapshot.)

Which is to say, I'm down to two scheduled readings at the moment -- the lowest number of scheduled gigs I've faced in a long while. And I don't know how my appetite for more non-virtual public appearances will go beyond that.

So this post may be a head's up, Peeps. Soon, you might see me as just my Words. And that may be the most fitting Path after all for mE.

It's time for mE to get out of the way of my Poetry's Words. Soon, the Eileen y'all know as a poet shall mostly be an E-presence. Catch me while you can on Feb. 12 in Bay Area and May 15 in New York (details to come).

After that, dear PeeeEEeeeps, this Poet might exist mostly to be E-peeeked. To be E-mailed. To be rEad.


The pokEr-playing Angels beneath hEr ceiling look down at her. One of thEm thinks, "Eh. maybE..."

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Close. Very close. I'm getting closer, to determining the formula for changing water into wine! Then I can work, Anny, on cloning moiself! (Scarey thought to some of youse, I know!)

Anyhoot, I know I'll succeed in turning water into wine -- Missy WinePoetics here nota benes that it ain't that different from transforming words into poetry!

Meanwhile, here's the latest list reflecting my ongoing efforts to read every poem and taste every wine. Okay, A junk novel thrown in there -- but then, the poet doesn't privilege among raw material.


COMMUNION, POEMS 1976-1998 by Primus St. John

TEPHRA, poem by Barry Schwabsky

BRAMBLE, poems by Joseph Massey

MEADOWLARK WEST, poems by Philip Lamantia


BETABET, poems by Mark Young

WITHOUT, poems by Donald Hall

CONSTANCE, poems by Jane Kenyon

AMERICAN TATTS, poems by Linh Dinh

GAGARIN STREET, poems by Piotr Gwiazda

SLIP, poems by Christopher Stackhouse

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF FOUDINI M. CAT, fictional autobiography by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer (btw, THE BEST CAT BOOK I'VE EVER READ!)

THE FUR PERSON, prose by May Sarton with illustrations by David Canright

TRAVELS WITH LIZBETH, memoir by Lars Eighner

ONE DANGEROUS LADY, novel by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

1992 Christophe Roumier Ruchohes-Chambertin Grand Cru
2003 Schloss Schonborn Beerenauslese
2003 Dutch Henry pinot noir
2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1997 Napa Reserve cabernet
2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1998 Ciacci Pertimali Brunello
1990 Clerico Bussia Barolo
1989 Luciano Sandroni Cannubi Boschis
1995 Montiano
1995 Rubino
2002 Luce Abbey cabernet
1993 Rick Forman cabernet
2001 Kistler Durrell Vineyard chardonnay
1996 Fox Creek Reserve cabernet McLaren Vale

And last but not least, during the span of not even two hours today: TO ZIN IS DIVINE:

2003 Tofanelli
2004 Tofanelli barrel sampling
2004 Hayne Vineyard Turley
2004 Ridge Paso Robles Lytton Springs
2003 Ridge Geyserville
2004 Rosenblum Henry Reserve
2004 Ravenswood Tedeschi
2004 Ravenswood Old Hill
2004 Ravenswood Belloni
2004 Ravenswood Dickerson
2004 Schrader Train Wreck Vineyards
2004 Neyers Pato Vineyard
2004 St. Francis Reserve Pagani
2003 Chase Family
2003 Chase Family Reserve
2003 Cline Live Oak
2003 Ed Meade


Salamat to editor Lars Palm for featuring four of my poems at LUZMAG.

The first 2 poems, "A CRYSTALLIZATION" and "BURNING PULPIT" are from a section in CONTEXT: A POET'S MEMOIR (see 1/26 post). The 2 poems are also from my "scumbled scramble" poem series where I use the painterly technique of scumbling to engage with Mina Loy's poems in order to generate new poems (was that clear? the process is more fully explained here where I GASP).

The fourth poem featured at LUZMAG, "PYGMALION'S EMBRACE" was commissioned for a mural project at Galatea "where poetry, art, wine and nature converge." Commissioned poems are tricky for me -- it's hard for me to force the white heat type of energy that I like permeating my poems when there is a mundane (commission) target in mind for the poem. But anyhoot, I'm glad Lars liked it!

Lars is not just a faboo editor but also a faboo poet. Congrations to him for his first e-chapbook, mindfulness, now available through poet-publisher William Allegrezza's MORIA Books. Bill also designed the absolutely DIVINE cover.

Please to visit us!

Friday, January 27, 2006


yaka khiyup siyaxus
xalaql siyaxus

What do you know!? A hay(na)ku -- rather, a reverse hay(na)ku -- in chinuk wawa written by Kelvin Saxton.

I just know youse are asking, What is "chinuk wawa"? As this blog exists to serve you as an educational site (cough), I am pleased to say that such (according to its author who resides in Washington ) is "a uniquely northwest coast native pidgin/creole, having elements of old chinookan, nootka, misc. salish languages as well as english and french."

You kapisch now?

Okay, go to Kelvin's blog to enjoy the English translation here, as well as the very lovely SKY!


and not come off as buffoonish is stellarly shown in the latest interview over at EXCHANGE VALUES: Thomas Fink interviewing Michael Heller. Here is a passage from Heller:

"for both poets 'the poetic act...becomes the working dimension of being, a way not of inventing counter-roles against traditions but of outfoxing the need for either role or counter-role.' In both poets, then, there are few instances of being lectured to or orated at but rather sublimely one is given a sense of experiencing something like necessity."

This is simply beautiful. And then to go on to read:

"The ethics then are of transparency--solidity, not of language, but of the thing we call poetry."

The all of it is simply and complexly sublime.

And then there's the brilliance. Can I just say that this passage is simply brilliant:

"You will recall that, as I say, the act of 'transposition,' or defamiliarization if you wish, is the more common act of most poetry; but I go on to describe how [Marianne] Moore is ever-alert to the male-dominant modalities of that transposing and, in the act of resisting or modulating that tradition, her ambivalence is a felt thing. It's like being in the room with a no-nonsense person, electrifying and, for want of a better word, 'real.'"

Shit. The next time I see Michael Heller, I'm just going to have to stop talking about myself (hah) and start picking his beautiful beautiful beautiful brain. Certainly, just for purpose of the interview, a shining that comes through is logical given this as a starting point:

"I've tried to understand how the given of uncertainty, the poet's willingness to embrace it, rather than strategize around it, has led, for me, to the power I see in poetry."

There are just so many reasons, here to pause and consider -- one gem after another, as on David Ignatow; on Language poetry (as when he finds himself engaged with Language poetry, Heller says, "When I succeed, this can give access, not to the fetishizing of language, but to the dynamic interplay between the will to representation of “reality” and language’s complicated, uncertain, not always precise (enough) workings"); and so on dot dot dot

Interestingly, I found least useful this point, true though it is: "a contradiction or lacunae within the claims made for a poetic practice or between that practice and the actual poetry itself". I always find it curious that practicing poets (not referring to Heller here, though, but to others) would make a big deal out of something that's so self-evident dot dot dot which is to say, I blather on this blog, Peeps, but everything becomes a lie when it comes to the poems you actually read with my byline.

Anyway, one smart point after another -- Heller's reflection on "political poetry," for instance, makes me pause to reconsider where I've evolved to on that matter.

I just need to stop burbling here as you should just read the interview for yourself. (I suggest reading slowly, even though it is published in the internet and on blogland, to boot).

I've had the honor of meeting Michael Heller -- nice guy. But it's this interview by Thomas Fink that's going to make me stop thinking about his warm personality and instead move on to explore his Words.

Bless you, both, Gentlemen for sharing.


sock puppets
cupped my breasts

dot dot dot
--Tom Beckett

Twisted Tom Beckett conflates my prior post with one of Ernesto Priego's lovely sock puppet hay(na)ku to offer a


-- something that Tom suggests you envision could have been found beneath my desk while I wrote my latest book that compelled me, at one point, to delete 34 pages of sex (see prior post). More contest details at Tom's Shadowy Blog.

Deadline of no later than February 13, 2006. Email to Tom at Saneeetee3@aol.com

And I suppose that's one way to celebrate Valentine's Day.

And it's a great idea! Obviate those saccharine Hallmark cards! Twist yourself over a sexual a hay(na)ku! Good morning! Be awake!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


is what it took to come up -- via collage-writing, then editing -- with this 368-page brand new spanking book: CONTEXT: A POET'S MEMOIR. The form looks like a hybrid -- short stories, lists, poems. But it's really a novel if one reads through it.

During editing, I deleted 34 pages of sex. After all, it is fiction.

The result, as is often the case with Moi blather, is heavy. Literally. They don't make those black binder clips big enough to encapsulate moi tomes. I suppose that's apt -- I believe in books with no endings or beginnings. That's why I'm a poet.

Yes, CONTEXT is a novel. But I lapse to categorization when I'm tired and 36 hours of white heat is dot dot dot tiring. Truth is: as it is with all I write, ultimately, the form is a poem.

Speaking of sex, recall that I'd used my Garbage Blog as a receptacle for raw material for a section of the book. But I also had to concoct new "trash" items. Like, towards end of the book, the CONTEXT poet apparently "recycles" a shopping bag, per so:

--excerpt from CONTEXT:
"1 shopping bag to return books to "Senor Why", from whose shelves I'd borrowed the following for research:

THE MARKETPLACE by Laura Antoniou
THE ECSTATIC MOMENT, Eds. by Marianna Beck and Jack Heffercamp
THE REAL THING by William Carney
THE IMAGE by Jean De Berg
ADULTERY by Louise DeSalvo
DIFFERENT LOVING: THE WORLD OF SEXUAL DOMINANCE & SUBMISSION, Eds. by Gloria G. Brame, William D. Brame and Jon Jacobs
THE BEST AMERICAN EROTICA 1997, Ed. by Susie Bright
DAMAGE by Josephine Hart
AGAINST SADOMASOCHISM, Eds. by Robin Ruth Linden, Darlene R. Pagano, Diana E.H. Russell and Susan Leigh Star
BOUND TO BE FREE: THE SM EXPERIENCE by Charles Moser and JJ Madeson
THE CORRECT SADIST by Terence Sellers
SM VISIONS, Ed. by Cecilia Tan
AN ADULTERY by Alexander Theroux
THE LOVING DOMINANT by John "Mentor" Warren


Well, doesn't this tease you in wanting to read CONTEXT?

I actually have those books. For research et al. But just between you and me, I couldn't finish reading through some of them. They were kinda dot dot dot boring dot dot dot

Nuff said. Right now, I gotta go offline and see what I can scavenge out of 34 pages of sex. It's gotta be good for at least a One Word Hay(na)ku tercet, eh?

Sip. Tonight, the 1996 Fox Creek Reserve Cabernet McLaren Vale. A most def sexy wine.


to hear sales must be brisk as I just refilled second orders from Meritage Press' distributor SPD for our last 2 titles:

Sean Finney's debut poetry collection THE OBEDIENT DOOR


THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, Eds. Mark Young & Jean Vengua.

Please to check out why these titles are in such, cough, HUGE DEMAND!!!

(Jes doin' moi publisher-duty here, mind you, with this pronouncement to up the hype dot dot dot which is not to say I'm not genuinely happy at the receptions, to date, for these 2 books.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


If it ain't one book, it's another! My lovely fate -- and she croons upward at the angels, even as she rubs her right shoulder blade (R--do move that Reiki energy to the shoulder blades, pleez!)

Yay! One less blog to do! I've finished my Garbage Blog. It did its job -- which is to help complete a first draft of a new book:



402 pages. Editing this week.

And sending to publisher next week. I mention this paragraph to do a foretelling: _____________ ______________ ____________________ ______________ ______________!

An earlier working title of this book was "Context: Prostituting Myself for Her Poetry" -- which is to say, it's lipstick-red hot!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I'm heartened by the initial responses to the latest project to spew itself out of my insomnia: GALATEA RESURRECTS (A Poetry Review), or GR. I cutnpaste below for convenience GR's (updated) Call for Reviewers & Reviews.

I also wanted to note or emphasize a few things based on initial queries and feedback:

----I am looking for reviewers; you don't need to commit to reviewing for more than one issue (that is, you can review just once for GR, if you want). Also, anyone's opinion, in my view, can be valuable so I'm open to first-time reviewers for this project.

--GR is open to all sorts of poetries (no particular style, school, form et al are restricted from GR). And all poetry books -- not just new releases -- are eligible for GR reviews, as long as those books are still in print/available.

--The deadline for the inaugural issue is Feb. 26, 2006. That deadline might move a little but that's the date for those of you who work better under deadlines.

--Though each issue of GR will present new reviews written specifically for GR, GR is about facilitating poetry discourse, not just promoting publications. Thus, GR is open to reprinting reviews previously printed in hard copy publications as long as GR is said review's online representative venue -- this idea is based on observing how online readership is often higher than print publications' readerships, and so we thought to facilitate expanded readership for reviews not yet available on the internet. N.B. For this aspect, anyone can submit a review but it is generally the reviewer (not the poet being reviewed) who owns copyright to the review and whose permission must be granted for GR's reprint.

--Potential GR reviewers can choose which books they wish to review, or abide by review copies I have available.

--I am open to receiving review copies and, YaY, GR received its first two such review copies -- and I do believe I've been able to assign them out for reviews! Please send more!

THANKS, everyone, and here's the Call. Please continue to pass on the word!

A Call from GALATEA RESURRECTS (A Poetry Review)

Dear All,
I'm inaugurating (as Managing Editor) a new online publication called


I hope the inaugural issue will come out sometime in March or so. The focus of GR will be presenting poetry reviews (though there will be interim poetry features).

The goal of this project is to offer another venue for poetry reviews and hopefully expand discourse. It's not limited to "new" poetry publications -- all books, chaps, broadsides, and other poetry publications, as long as they're still in print and available to the public, are eligible to be reviewed. Indeed, we encourage reviewing books that you may feel have been undeservedly ignored. Online publications may also be reviewed.

Reviewers will be "paid" with books (which you don't have to review) from certain titles published by Meritage Press or, if there's interest, with books by the Managing Editor (assume smiley here) The author of the review most enjoyed over the course of a calendar year by Oenophiles for Poetry also will receive a bottle of wine.*

And because the project is just to support the expansion of poetry discourse, GR is also available for reprinting reviews previously published in print but not yet on the Internet. We've all heard how online readership often supplants print readership, and I wanted to offer a means for expanding the audience for reviews worth reading but which may not be accessible if the journals are no longer around or have small print runs. (Previous publishers will be acknowledged, of course.)

Finally, if you wish your poetry publications considered for reviews, send a copy to me at

Eileen Tabios
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Road
St. Helena, CA 94574

Obviously, there's no guarantee that your publication will be reviewed but here I am with open arms. Please feel free to query me directly if you have questions.

Eileen Tabios

* Limited to reviewers who live in the U.S. and in states which allow shipments of alcohol from California.


Wrote a brilliant blog post disquisition just now re snideness. Then realized I can't post on snideness as it's inherently negative energy.

(See? Not all moi blather ends up self-trashing on blogs dot dot dot)

Meanwhile, flannel-nightgowned Moi was on my knees scrubbing down the wooden stairs and tile floors in the middle of the night last night. Coz moi baby Gabriela had a little wee-wee accident and, you know, one's gotta neutralize right away those spots where dogs piss. So they don't return to those same spots to release more urinary attacks. This moment has something to do with poetics.

Monday, January 23, 2006


recently by

Lorna Dee Cervantes

Rhett Pascual (and on balut, no less!)

Ernesto Priego

Michael Steven

Leigh Knight

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

amongst others, I'm sure. And those are just the English ones! All of you, Thanks for sharing.


is Tom Beckett's NEW interview of Mark Young over at EXCHANGE VALUES.

Various interesting notes, e.g. the connection between William Carlos Williams and the hay(na)ku, the poet's constancy across a multiplicity of poetic strategies and styles, the Valley of Quietude, the poetic significance of out-of-place vs place, as well as the ever-timely recommendation to read Kirsten Kaschock's fabulous poetry.

And this sequence that Mark wrote 40 years ago also shows that in a prior life, we must have drunk panty-removers:

The beat
of my knight's

the pulse
of my daze.

Okay, nuff said from Moi. Just go over and read his words, lovingly extricated, as always, by Tom.


I agree with Ron Silliman (in his post today) on at least this excerpt:

"...there can be no doubt that some people previously excluded from the social agency of power find it necessary, beyond just useful, to occupy those same positions because simply to do so overturns centuries of expectations on all sides. But I don’t think that this can ever be a full or permanent solution."

which no doubt is why I'm tricky for the variety of ethnic-american studies (as they're *norm*-atively configured) out there. (Not to say I'm dissing the overt oppositionists -- within that frame, too, are a multiplicity of effective aesthetic strategies dot dot dot although, in my experience many fail to get beyond repetitive forms because they're mired in dot dot dot something else.)

But that's just a secondary point (one of many secondary points). My primary point has to do with ... well, let me address it via something else I've been noticing among recent reading:

Some artists and poets say that when they want to do something "new," (or new to them), they often do the "opposite" of what they've been addressing in their work. I used to be in this group. Then I realized that -- per moi aesthetic standards anyway -- the results don't get deep enough for me. So my approach, per this POV, has been: determine (for one's self) the opposite of what one's focus has been, and then begin from the next step after that.

Sip. Morning coffee during morning blog jog...

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I was about to go back to prior post and edit (make consistent) the inconsistencies between past and present in my report. But then it seemed/seems more natural to leave it as is. When blogging -- or is it, when recounting, i.e. remembering -- it seems that the borders between tenses blur. And mebbe that's apt: within memory, the unfolding of the past is often not linear . . . as with the unfolding of (many) poems.


If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; ... for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place.

At a dinner last night, I sat next to a local real estate businessman. And what a joy to have to raise poetry (given the logical question "What do you do?") and not be Other-ed. It turned out that he was a poetry major "waaay back in undergrad days. I wanted to be a poet but knew I didn't have it in me" and so he didn't continue writing.

I asked how he knew.

He just waved a hand.

Of course I didn't press dot dot dot

And we continued talking and it turns out he's a supporter of many local causes including the high school. And apparently he gives out, every year, to graduating high-schoolers Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet.

What I brilliant idea, I wax since it is a brilliant idea.

He agrees, and he shares tales of how so many respond to his gift in lovely ways. It's unexpected by most dot dot dot then he mentions -- and it seems apocryphal -- the idea of a high school football player looking up at him, beaming with gratitude, saying, "Thanks that you think I'm worthy of something like poetry."

I'm thinking of that conversation this morning -- it's really unfortunate how Poetry can be such an Other in today's culture.


Tomorrow, I send a box of poetry books (mine and those I publish) to him. He insisted on paying for them. It's important, he says, that I be able to be paid for my poems, and that I be able to later report to the poets whose books I publish that I was able to sell them versus give them away.


I write it here to foretell into reality: the books he receives shall make him rediscover his own poetry (he's already living it; he may as well write poems, too).

Saturday, January 21, 2006


I lived for nearly 20 years in New York City and never drove a car through those city streets. Basically, moi days as a New Yorker leached off almost all driving skills I early on possessed based on driving a souped-up Camaro on the freeways of Los Angeles where I lived as a teen.

So, about 7 years ago when I moved from New York to the Bay Area, I was inept at driving. And I still can't back parallel park -- a big deal in a hilly city like San Francisco where street parking is often difficult to find (what a pain to keep driving by single-car sidewalk parking spaces as I can't back into them as I only can parallel park if I can front-enter into two adjacent spaces).

Anyhoot, Kelsey Street Press, as many of you know, is based in Berkeley. Upon first moving to the Bay Area, I lived primarily in San Francisco. Mei-mei Berssenbrugge introduced me to the Kelsey Street founder and fabulous poet Rena Rosenwasser. We agreed that I volunteer one day a week for Kelsey; it's a good cause, of course, but I also needed a reason to re-learn driving. Working with Kelsey forced me out of the apartment where I otherwise would remain glued to a computer screen and drive at least once a week -- in this case, from San Francisco to Berkeley. Somewhere in the process, I ended up on Kelsey's Board.

And this is all to say,

What car suits your personality...

brought to you by Quizilla

Nowadays, I drive a beeeg car because I'm hauling around two German Shepherds. But before the dawgs, I drove a sporty car. And I just remembered that the very first byline I ever got in The NYTimes when I was a newbie journalist was for a feature article on a car I've always admired because its name is a poet's phrase:


To say "countach" is to can't help but relish that "cooooooooooontaSH" feel. Come on: all together, Peeps:


Whilst still licking your tongue (deliberate slip: lick your own tongue!), leap on then to this faboo image I saw at Robin Reagler's blog of Brody Condon's sculpture of a Lamborghini made out of plastic branches. It's grrrrrrr-eat!


I finally finished the A-Z listing of poetry books in moi Poetry Library (and now I can just fill in with stray stacks I stumble across in the house or with new purchases/trades over time). You are invited to peek through if you want to see a sample of a poetry library set up by a self-educated poet who educated herself about this poetry thingie over the past 10 years. I've kept every poetry book I've bought (except perhaps for the stray book or two lost during my moves).

There's some specifics specific to me -- like how I didn't buy as much when I was in NY due to storage constraints, and certainly I've read more books than are shelved in my library (a list I recently began to track here).

But if one is not a member of any poetry school/club/whatever-you-call-it, and did not attend an MFA program, but am reflective of what is available out there in shelves beginning from big chain stores to, after learning about them, indie bookstores and SPD, the list may imply something (beyond my own taste).

Or maybe not.

In which case, feel free to visit my library anyway as there are books there that are available for trade in case I have more than 1 copy. One of the reasons I decided to blog my poetry library was to organize the stacks about the house and figure out what I have. So there you have it!



Dear Charles,

I have your email but I'm going to post this on my blog to test whether you read me.


Just kidding. Anyway, thank you for teaching (Tom Beckett's) hay(na)ku in your class -- YAY!

Equally wonderful, I'm glad that you're writing hay(na)ku -- Peeps, read Charles' hay(na)ku over here!

But in your "Hay(na)ku" Sampler for the PEPC Library, you say the form was invented in 2005. 'Twas invented in 2003, as the back cover of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology says dot dot dot does this mean you don't read books' back covers either? Well, now you know why I've permanently foregoed blurbs.

A Wink
One Two Three,




is the subject of Ray Craig's hay(na)ku whereby he translates GS into Japanese --

anata no motte
ita koto

nai inu ga
tameiki o

Gertrude Stein : a
dog which

have never had
before has

how to write
page 27

Thanks Ray! I believe, Peeps, those lines are supposed to be quad-centered but dang if I know how to do anything technical...



further on the hay(na)ku dot dot dot and why not enjoy it here dot dot dot as well as learn how "American Poets Are Denaturing Joan Houlihan"!

Friday, January 20, 2006


So here's a CALL for my latest project below dot dot dot

But on this blog, you of course can find out more information than the official Call that I send out to various Listserves. Like, why the name? Moi Peeps know that's the mountain where Moi resides -- but to further explicate since to read my blog is to be obsessed with my life, the whole idea behind Galatea relates to resurrecting a new life for her after a Greek myth relegated her to the arms of that misogynist Pygmalion.

And, in Moi's 21st century thinking, the question was: If Galatea were alive today, what would she be interested in? Well, as noted in the Title box to Galatea's Art Blog, she'd be "where nature, poetry, art and wine converge."

So GALATEA RESURRECTS (GR) is but another manifestation of the Chatelaine's attempts to re-mythologize the world's myths. Anyhoot,

Poets, Writers, Critics, Poetry Lovers -- please to pay attention and hopefully participate. Nota Bene that section where GR offers an on-line venue to reviews previously published in print venues -- it's all about facilitating Poetry Discourse:

A Call from GALATEA RESURRECTS (A Poetry Review)

Dear All,
I'm inaugurating (as Managing Editor) a new online publication called


I hope the inaugural issue will come out sometime in March or so. The focus of GR will be presenting poetry reviews (though there will be interim poetry features).

So this is to say I am looking for folks interested in writing reviews for GR. I've backchanneled a few folks and have gotten review commitments from Barry Schwabsky, Thomas Fink, kari edwards, Ann E. Field, Yvonne Hortillo, and Guillermo Juan Parra, among others. I drop their names because I'm writing this Call before there's an issue out there that I can point to as a sample issue.

The goal of this project is to offer another venue for poetry reviews and hopefully expand discourse. It's not limited to "new" poetry publications -- all books, chaps, broadsides, and other poetry publications, as long as they're still in print and available to the public, are eligible to be reviewed. Indeed, we encourage reviewing books that you may feel have been undeservedly ignored. Online publications may also be reviewed.

Reviewers will be "paid" with books (which you don't have to review) from certain titles published by Meritage Press or, if there's interest, with books by the Managing Editor (assume smiley here) The author of the review most enjoyed over the course of a calendar year by Oenophiles for Poetry also will receive a bottle of wine.*

And because the project is just to support the expansion of poetry discourse, GR is also available for reprinting reviews previously published in print but not yet on the Internet. We've all heard how online readership often supplants print readership, and I wanted to offer a means for expanding the audience for reviews worth reading but which may not be accessible if the journals are no longer around or have small print runs. (Previous publishers will be acknowledged, of course.)

Finally, if you wish your poetry publications considered for reviews, send a copy to me at

Eileen Tabios
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Road
St. Helena, CA 94574

Obviously, there's no guarantee that your publication will be reviewed but here I am with open arms. Please feel free to query me directly if you have questions.

Eileen Tabios

* Limited to reviewers who live in the U.S. and in states which allow shipments of alcohol from California.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


As, much, as, I, perceive, the, Future,
Lo: the, Future, perceives, me:
A, Mutuality, of, Eyes.
Jose Garcia Villa

The color of
               S, E, E?
Jesse Glass

My review of The Passion of Phineas Gage & Selected Poems by Jesse Glass is now up at Jacket 29. Enjoy dot dot dot


Poets Theater Jamboree program 2:
NEO-BENSHI NIGHT: Move Over Silver Screen

Friday, January 20 at 7:30 pm
California College of the Arts, Timken Hall
1111 Eight St. (at Wisconsin & 16th, foot of Potrero Hill)
San Francisco

Around 2003 a convergence of scribblers and flickers brought forth a new kind of film commentary. In "neo-benshi," after the Japanese word for "film teller," movie scenes are projected silently only to be reinterpreted by narrators from the stage.

A Bay Area all-star lineup of local poets continues this effort to bring Cinema from the living room couch back into the Theater with live overdubbing sessions of popular films.

Emcee'd by Roxi "Rebel" Hamilton, the evening consists of 7 performances to the following movies, here listed in the anagrammatic form of their original titles, so you have something to do until the show:

"Ahem, Conspiracy!" (2000)
benshi: Ronald Palmer
Macabre tale of a criminal investment banker's personal habits.

"An Horseman's Option" (1952)
benshi: Tanya Brolaski (performing with Dan Fisher)
This crime drama stars Bette Davis as a murder mystery writer embroiled in one of her own plots in an English country manor.

"By Bob" (1973)
benshi: Summi Kaipa
From Bollywood, the sweet agony of love bridging the castes.

"Fall Down & Bounce" (1972)
benshi: Leslie Scalapino.
A well-loved outcast-swordsman adventure adapted from a well-known japanese manga.

"It's Sweet & So Dry" (1961)
benshi: Dennis Somera
A celebration in dance and song of tense race relations.

"My High: The Death Thing" (1954)
benshi's: Dodie Bellamy, Colter Jacobsen & Kevin Killian
A transpacific flight of both colorful and renegade passengers, with John Wayne and Robert Stack as God's co-pilots.

"No to Torture Inflicted" (1939)
benshi: Alan Bernheimer
Romantic comedy set in the glamorous New York Theater world, sparring Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy and Eve Arden.


is a
catalyst for reaction
--from "Extremes" by Leigh Knight

I'm delighted to discover more hay(na)ku writers:

Leigh Knight (who's writing poetry again after a break of 22 years!!! Welcome back, Leigh!) at http://sleightmind.blogspot.com/.

And Francesca writing en espanol at http://jardimpublico.blogspot.com/

welcome news
et cet era!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


And, somewhere, a map begins to fade
--from "White [Page] Throbbing"

Today, I started the writing of the book that will be generated by THE BLURBED BOOK PROJECT. Here's the opening salvo:

No one knew if she actually lived in a castle. She never allowed visitors. But many agreed she deserved her title: the "Chatelaine" which the English dictionary also defines as

"Keeper of Keys"



The Egyptians believed the heart is the center of intellect
--from last night's engagement with Hatshepsut, the first and only female Pharaoh (De Young Museum)

Long before poetry blogland started to ascend, I'd been enacting various performance projects within the internet -- which also influences my approach to blogging: not just, say, to journal-ize but to enact performance.

But as a result of this performance- and conceptual art-based approach, there's always been some disinformation about the truth of Moi-self in the internet. Mostly, this amuses Moi: a favorite is the notion that I'm some studded-leather-whip wielding dominatrix (bwahahaha -- obviously, I'm not the only one confused between Moi and Angeline Jolie in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"). Anyway, I've been rediscovering some other exagerrated if not false info about me while having to do some self-googling for doing this new blog (which I'm doing for various other projects).

For instance, I'm obviously being used as a foil in being quoted in this New Criterion site commentary touching on that F___ site -- I'm the last person to give a hoo-haa about the F___ site, but my reputation (Treva, dear niece -- I really am big. BIG.) is such that a stray quote becomes magnified....at New Criterion (which again makes me intersperse snorts and geeeegles).

But I am discovering some nice things about myself, which is always dot dot dot nice. For instance, how kewl to see one of my book reviews become a course requirement, in this case my Jacket review of Sharon Dolin's Serious Pink being assigned by University of Washington.

(I interrupt myself -- as who better to interrupt myself -- to recall how the last time one of my internet-available articles started being read at University of Hawai'i, I pulled it off the internet because I didn't want to be associated with the referenced controversial book -- see how I don't even mention this book's name--wink.)

And I also belatedly discovered a poem inspired -- take off? --from one of mine. Rochelle Ratner's "In Reality" is published in Identity Theory last year but I just learnt of it (thanks Rochelle):


-- In reality, he never failed to witness air spill
when she unclenched fists. – Eileen Tabios

When he clenches his fists they suck up all the air.
Her throat tightens, as if she'd just eaten shellfish.
Her fingers move frantically along the hem of her blue
floral blouse, searching for some small thing to hold
onto. With one swipe, fists unclenched, he rips that
blouse off her. Now her body has room to breathe, at
least, the air around her stirred for just a moment.
She inches toward the door. He grabs the doorknob in
his fists. Turns it. Locks it. Some day she'll go to
the hospital. But not now, it's not what you think.
The anger will dissipate, he won't ever hurt her.
He'll spend half a week's earnings on a new blouse.
She'll discover other times when it's hard to breathe,
her heart lagging behind her. Her body's raised by the
bed in the hospital, while he sits there, stroking the
back of her hand. Three times a day they come to take
her blood. Make a fist, the nurse says. Then, seeing
how hard that is for her, offers a little floppy-eared
pink rabbit beanie baby to squeeze instead. One from
her daughter's collection.

Rochelle wrote her poem after one of mine in Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole -- lovely to see that book continue its meandering throughout the world...


Well, yadda. So I guess I'll just keep E-Dancing. After all, Moi Local is Global.


rope No
one to believe
--Sam Rasnake

Nice to see new writers of the hay(na)ku, such as Sam Rasnake.

And, via Ernesto, hay(na)ku writers en ingles y espanol:

Emanuel Caballero at http://inconstanti.blogspot.com/

and Hilda Leticia and Domínguez Márquez at http://dovesatdawn.blogspot.com/2006/01/miedo-vientos-fuertes.html

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Richard Lopez is reporting on a recent poetry reading in Sacramento by Sean Finney, David Larsen and Lauren Gudath (with pictures!). Which reminds me to pitch out -- y'all should check out Sean Finney's debut collection THE OBEDIENT DOOR -- moi Meritage Press' lone single-author poetry collection published in 2005. Beautiful words and, I would argue, physically the most beautiful poetry book recently released. (Email me to order and I'll concoct a publisher's special for you...)

Here's one of Sean Finney's:


Dogmatic city of ruined lights
that haunts the Greek infiltration
of all my baths, your face
corroded like a coin

and the careful belt you won
in a fair and wore
(legend interweaving)
to my wedding-
that's senescence under
the original hut

that's the senescence of a snake
eating itself

[now the 75 year old diver is eager to resume her investigation]

Neoprene nights amassed like days.
You'll believe the creeping love of red chairs
is real
and beaten out of copper.
[past tense, lighting tricks]
Handsome underwater archeologists
have gotten over their names
and the injected clouds.

I sat mapping the red stones
that will grow your hair

Kings blister from the dour water of selling.
There is a tureen of hate in your stare,
from greed eaten according to menus of grey skies
that are pants in every other language.

Monday, January 16, 2006


After reading the voluminous Sunday papers this morning, I was reminded of yet another reason why I like using poetry to communicate. Because I don't want to be in the company of politicians who debase language with their practice of deniabilities. From Iraq to Pakistan to Venezuela to Spain to good ol' U.S.A. et-fucking-al -- these politicians make me heave.

It's not true, as some have been saying of late, that the times are worse than at any time in history. Know your history -- there have been worse times than what we're living through today. But what may be "new" is the total lack of honesty in discourse dot dot dot partly perhaps because technology has progressed so to hasten the dissemination of information.

Policies of denials -- by sucking the truth out of words, they attempt to transmute realities into metaphors. As if "the child dying of malnutrition" is a phrase.


Rich Magahiz has created a fishy -- as in bangus -- hay(na)ku site for his poems. Check it out at http://del.icio.us/milkfish/hay(na)ku. Here's an excerpt from his "biker hay(na)ku"

the Hog,
ignoring black rain


I was so cheer-ed to read this at Drew Gardner's Overlap Blog:

Happy is the literary movement which requires no heroes.

And also to see Allen Bramhall do the hay(na)ku! Here's an excerpt from his sequence:

a virtual
spice of light

Sunday, January 15, 2006


over the dining table this morning. Coz whilst reading through the papers, came across the Horoscope section and tho I don't usually follow such the eye always glances at the horoscope assigned to one's self, in this case Virgos. So this is what the SF Chronicle horoscopes to Moi:

Who knows? You may become the world's best-known blogger. As 2006 progresses, Jupiter acts as your administrative assistant, adding zip and zest to communications. Go ahead: Take a shot at the title. You're a top contender.

Snort dot dot dot


Aw shit. Artemis the huntress-kitty just ate the fetchingly-thin wire to my spankingly brand new I-Pod. If I could catch her, I would spank her.

So speaking of music, Barry Schwabsky not just has a great critical eye but a great, uh, critical ear. Here is his list of favorite new music 2005:

1) Eels--Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
2) Antony and the Johnsons--I Am a Bird Now
3) M.I.A.--Arular
4) The Concretes--layourbattleaxedown
5) The Arcade Fire--Funeral
6) The Duke Sprit--Cuts Across the Land
7) Iron and Wine--Woman King; Calexico &Iron and Wine--He Lays the Reins*
8) Of Montreal--The Sunlandic Twins
9) Goldmund--Corduroy Road
10) The New Pornographers--Twin Cinema
11) The White Stripes--Get Behind Me Satan
12) Broken Social Scene--Broken Social Scene

* While Samuel Beam may not have released a full-length album in 2005, his two substantial EPs certainly add up to one of the best albums of the year.


One of you Peeps once called moi Meritage Press list quite "cosmopolitan". Well, if you appreciate the cosmic, uh, -ness of Barry's music list, it hopefully encourages you to check out, if you haven't already, what kind of poetry he writes with much sophistication, here and here.


Meritage Press is delighted to congratulate the following winners for the 2005 "Babaylan Speaks" Poetry Contest, judged by Jean Vengua:

"Spaces" by Arkaye Velasquez Kierulf

"A House" by Mikael de Lara Co
"Save as Draft" by Joel M. Toledo
"APO BAKIT" by Amalia B. Bueno

"way /way/" by Marlon Unas Esguerra
"charmed" by Yvonne Hortillo

There were so many great entries that we created 3 categories of winners. To see the winning poems and the Judge's Commentary, please go to Meritage Press' "Babaylan Speaks," an intermittent column dedicated to developments on Filipino literature.

Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to the winners. For convenience, I also cut-n-pasted the Bios of the winners below.


Eileen Tabios
Meritage Press


BIOS OF "BABAYLAN SPEAKS" winning authors in alphabetical order:

Amalia B. Bueno is a researcher and publicist living in Honolulu. Born in Quezon City, PI she emigrated to Hawaii at the age of seven. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and entertains herself with writing poems and short stories. She was published for the first time last year, when three of her poems, "Filipina," "Shame," and "On Hearing My Mother Call Out To Our Neighbor Over the Courtyard Fence" were included in Bamboo Ridge Press, Spring 2005 Issue #87. "Apo Bakit" is a tribute to her grandmother.

Poet, Writer, Teacher, and DJ, Marlon Unas Esguerra is second generation Filipino American Muslim, born and raised in Chicago. He is a first year M.F.A. candidate in Poetry at the University of Miami. In 1998, he co-founded the panAsian spoken word ensemble, I Was Born with Two Tongues, which has since performed in over 300 colleges and venues across the country. Marlon is a three-time Chicago poetry slam champion and recently performed on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO. He is currently completing his first manuscript of poetry and is co-editing a new anthology with Nick Carbó, Son of the Dragon: Literary Dialogues with Asian American Men. Marlon's most recent awards include a fellowship to the University of Miami, the Wallace Douglas Award for Excellence in Teaching, a Columbia Award for Scholarship, and two Eileen Lannan Poetry Prizes from the Academy of American Poets.

Yvonne Hortillo says about herself: si yvonne? inuumaga kung matulog. walang tulog yan. di natutulog. hinihintay yung kindat ng araw sa umaga bago magpakalunod sa kumo't kama. maraming plano, ambisyosang nakakatawa. di mapigil kung tumawa, tunog asukal at malaya, tunog kapit-patalim na simot na simot. pareho pa rin, natatandaan ko nung high school - mahilig sa nobelang may bidang dragon: lahing aswang.

Arkaye Velasquez Kierulf is a senior chemistry student at the Ateneo de Manila University. He was a fellow of the Ateneo and UP National Writers Workshops, and a recipient of the Loyola Schools Award for the Arts.

Mikael de Lara Co graduated with a BS in Environmental Science from the Ateneo de Manila; he is supposed to be working on his MA in Panitikang Pilipino - Malikhaing Pagsulat from the same university. A fellow of the Ateneo, UST, Iyas and Dumaguete National Writers Workshops, Mikael has been writing primarily in Filipino since his college days and has yet to publish a poem in English. He plays lead guitar for the new wave/punk/blues band Los Chupacabras, and is lead vocalist for Gapos, a progressive rock/jazz/blues band with a social realist bent.

Joel M. Toledo is currently finishing his M.A. degree in Creative Writing (majoring in poetry) at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He is an instructor at the Department of English of Miriam College. In 2005, he won first prize for his poetry collection, What Little I Know of Luminosity in the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. He was also awarded second place for his poetry entry in the 2004 Palanca Awards. Joel is the recipient of the 2006 National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Writers Prize for poetry, a grant for the writing and possible publication of his first book of poetry.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


poets spread the sky as though
their earnest love were the dark
wet thighs of perfect sound

oohh that refuses its end
--Sam Rasnake

I'm grateful that Sam Rasnake found something in my (re-definitions) of certain words (from my version of English) that caused him to write a poem -- click here for full poem, as well as his poetic series "Alphabet of Days."


Just finished the poetry book review I'd been working on this week. Dang. It sure didn't feel like blog-writing. I actually felt a sense that I was work-ing.


when form is prevention, quel est la pointe? but when form indicates a path, without being a chute into the industry of spew, then there's some useful glimmer.
--Allen Bramhall

Allen has some very useful things to say about form, and he gladdens Moi's heart in that the hay(na)ku and Tom Beckett's manifestations of it pave the way for his note.


Now, speaking of Tom Beckett dot dot dot or, rather, as regards


Tom, on his new blog CHIAROSCURO METROPOLI, wrote a few days back


I've been thinking ever since how the bris might be conducted dot dot dot

Sip. Diet coke.

You know, my best friend from college is an obstetrician. When she was a newbie doctor-in-resident, she kept slicing 'em off sideways. She'd always groan and worry. Finally, one of the nurses who'd been around for a while told her, "Don't worry about it. Their future girlfriends will be grateful."

Sip. Kosher diet coke.

Actually, I know many a Peep who'd wish my thoughts would be circumcised dot dot dot multiple times.


I've always enjoyed the smoked fish at the bris-es I've attended. I'd tear up like the Moms, and then go on over to the groaning buffet tables to recover.

Well, as the Hollywood stars seem to like to say: Peace out. For the sake of your hearing eyes, I should get some sleep.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Well, I was over at SPT for just the first hour of tonight's Poets' Theatre. Sadly, I had to rush off as I had the German Shepherds with me and had to drive the hour-and-a-half back from San Francisco to Napa.

But I adored what I saw -- the first three performances all simmered with this enjoyable slyness.

First up was Paolo Javier's "A Play, A Play" that reminded me of Woody Allen's "Interiors". Maybe I'm just talkin' sumthin' Bergman-ish, but even if I made a huge leap in what was evoked, I enjoyed Del Ray Cross' elegant staging (since he was director?) of the four actors, Barbara Jane Reyes, Dennis Somera, Anthem Salgado and Rashaan Alexis Meneses.

I was able to catch the introductory performance -- of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and the alphabet -- by Jon Brumit who excavated his subverted typewriter cum musique instrument from his days when he was (supposed to be) studying painting. Hmmm, there was an element of subversion through the three acts.

My sentimental favorite has to be Michelle Bautista's "The Laureate" with actors herself, Dennis Somera, Rhett Pascual, Rona Fernandez and Caroline King. It's my sentimental favorite because I know that Michelle incorporated a scene I helped inspire (hah): my first AWP experience. 'Twas at Palm Springs and I told Michelle I hung out at the pool throughout the conference and refused to give up said pool for any panel except the one at which I presented.

And the styling! People, who did your wardrobes?! I thought Italian, with a dash of disco (she did wear a red feather boa at some point) but Michelle corrected me. Wardrobe was actually courtesy of Halloween leftovers.

In any event, I was also mostly impressed by Rhett's acting debut as "Blockhead" -- he really did come off as a block head and I know it ain't typecasting! Cheesy in a positive way, this play that Michelle wrote to spoof the canon. As I told her as soon as I got off the stage, "That was pathetic and I loved it!"

Next Friday will be Neo-Benshi night and the following Friday be another round of Poets' Plays. Hope you all check it out -- information here.


On behalf of Small Press Traffic's director Elizabeth Treadwell and non-boring Board members Kevin Killian, Susan Gevirtz, Brent Cunningham, Del Ray Cross, Stefani J. Barber, Norma Cole, Rodney Koeneke, Eileen Tabios, & Stephanie Young, you are lovingly invited to:

Today, Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m. at CCAC, San Francisco

#1: “A Play, A Play” by Paolo Javier, directed by Del Ray Cross

Entre act: Music by Brumit

#2: "The Laureate" Written and directed by Michelle Bautista. Performed by Michelle Bautista, Rona Fernandez, Caroline King, Rhett Pascual and Dennis Somera. (Hilarious photos here and here!)

Entre act: Music by Brumit

#3: A Vinculum” by Chris Vitiello, directed by Mary Burger


#4: Scenes from “The Lady Contemplation” (1662) by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, directed by Elizabeth Treadwell

Entre act: Music by Brumit

#5: “Asphodel In Hell's Despite" by John Wieners, directed by Kevin Killian

Entre act: Music by Brumit

#6: “Who is the Real JT LeRoy?” Written & directed by Mattilda (a/k/a Matt Bernstein Sycamore)


It occurred to me recently that I hadn't written a poetry review for some time. Well, though I have to grin at most such reviews that I read, I do believe that poets can (can, not must) find it conducive to their own work to do this exercise every so often. And for me, the activity is actually part of how Moi exercises her poetix -- it's good to draw attention to poetry books one loves and that others may love. Spread the love and all that dot dot dot

So, this week, I've been working on a review of one such book (will announce it when I place it and, yah, I know I'll place any poetry review I bother to write because if I say so here I spell it out as in white witchcraft dot dot dot).

And working on such review, I was reminded again how the process lends itself to encouraging the reviewer to lapse in vigilance, such are the at-times pitfalls of attempting to articulate poetry.


I don't lapse, of course, in part cause I "S,E,E" those potholes, ye horned ones. And with her fullsome broom, she sweeps away the horned critters offa her stone floors dot de dot dot dat

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Allen Bramhall also posts on THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY:

Eileen Tabios sent me a copy of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology (Meritage/xPress(ed) (2005). I saved her life back in Nam (I don't like talking about it, being extremely modest), so she feels obliged to send gifts. nice looking book, with cover art by Jukka. and just skipping thru, it's lovely. many noteworthy writers collected herein (edited by Jean Vengua and Mark Young). the hay(na)ku form offers a pulse, let us say. 3 lines / 6 syllables. one isn't forced into oddities for the sake of maintaining the form, yet one must keep a grip on the machine as one writes. and reads. too often, formal writing fails (when it fails, I mean) when form overwhelms content. when concerns of form distract the writer. this form is neighbourly, not demanding. yet writer and reader must pay attention. Sandy McIntosh went to the trouble of supplying a pronunciation guide for every letter in his lone poem, which is a nice touch, and it suggests the giddy energy in this anthology.


this first generation of hay(na)ku writers have created -- not a poem, but a stanza, simple, supple, elegant, capable of considerable variation.
--Ron Silliman

Heartfelt Salamats to Ron Silliman for his post du jour which is on THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, co-edited by Mark Young and Jean Vengua.

(He also explains why I admire those who write hay(na)ku so well....because I'm more miss than hit at this form. But I love Poetry's paradoxes, and I adore the fact that in poetry one can invent something one might not be expert at dot dot dot)

Now, if you'll excuse me...I'm gonna print out Ron's review and shove it -- albeit lovingly -- in the face of everyone I come across today...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


My niece Treva moved to Florida and started at a new school there a couple of weeks ago. Her 9th grade English teacher met her, then said, "....Hmmmm. Tabios....why is that name familiar?"

Then he looked at Treva and said, "Are you related to the poet Eileen Tabios?"

Treva: "Uhhh. Yeeeeaaaahhhh..." (emphasis on that drawn-out yeah)

So Treva reports this to me tonight during a phone call. I gotta say, for once, I'm truly versus fakely impressed with Moiself. I mean, what are the odds, right? Last I checked, we're talkin' about Me the Poet versus moi newly-pregnant doppelganger Angelina Jolie.

So I tell Treva, "As I've told you several times....you have got to understand just how big your Auntie is. Big, Treva. I am BIG."

And I waited expectantly for some respectful noise. What I got was the hee-haw of a 14-year-old laughing in my face.

Well, I harrumph. Nonetheless, I'm BIG, Treva.

Now, stop laughing at me or next time I'll drag you to another poetry reading more austere than SPD's with its platterfuls of cookies and David Buuck at the keyboard.

Okay -- do your homework!


I just learned that Northwestern University, in some Visual Arts / Asian American Writing course, will be using my first Meritage Press book, John Yau & Archie Rand's collaboration 100 MORE JOKES FROM THE BOOK OF THE DEAD.

What an excellent idea -- I've always thought that John's essay on the collaborative process elucidates mucho about poetry/art collabs, and how such transcends ekphrasis. Here's an excerpt:

...Archie proposed that we do a thousand watercolors over the course of a weekend. His reason was simple. Only by doing so many works in a single sitting could we possibly get beyond our habits of thinking, seeing, and doing. I wasn't so sure that we had that many habits or even ideas, but I didn't tell Archie that.
--John Yau

This article on Archie's collaborations with not just John but also Robert Creeley is also helpful...

Teacher-Peeps, this book and other Meritage Press books are available at SPD!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


used Grabber heating pad
2 used Salonpas muscle relaxers
plastic strip for Salonpas muscle relaxers
--from "The Chatelaine's Garbage"

Today, I had what must have been the noisiest massage I've ever had -- and I've had many a bone-crunching dialogue between my shoulder blades and various masseuses' elbows, fingers, toes and foot soles.

Afterwards, the masseuse asked dot dot dot in a quite awed tone: "What exactly is it that you do that makes you dot dot dot be like that dot dot dot?"

"Be like that" meaning agonizingly tight.

Miserably, I replied, "I write poems."

But this is an old story on this blog, right?

dot dot dot but something new SOMETHING NEW happens:

One of the angels looks down at the pained Chatelaine, sighing as she applies yet another strip of muscle relaxant on her back, and in that angel's eyes well out, for the first time --



Someone backchanneled me -- which reminds me that others had queried recently -- about the status of my Blurbed Book Project. As the deadline for receiving all blurbs was Dec. 31, I couldn't start it until after then.

But as I told one of moi Peeps this morning, I gotta finish 3 books first over the next 3 days. Then Moi shall begin a new dimension to her blather.

We clear now?

Sip. Morning coffee.

Now, you can begin your day with one less stone atop your breathing chest...


The "hay(na)ku" is a poetic form invented by Eileen Tabios, as inspired by Richard Brautigan, Jack Kerouac, and Tabios' meditations on the Filipino transcolonial and diasporic experience.

I understand Ianthe Brautigan has a copy of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology and she LOVES it!

Isn't that nifty? It's too late for me to thank Richard Brautigan for helping to inspire the form -- but at least his daughter knows. And she loves it!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Here are recent relishes dat de dot dot dat

DESERT FLATS, poems by Rena Rosenwasser & images by Robert Rosenwasser

I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, novel by Dodie Smith (the most enjoyoable coming-of-age tale I've ever read)

WATER & POWER, poems by Standard Schaefer

CIRCE, AFTER HOURS, poems by Marilyn Kallet


YOU'VE JUST BEEN TOLD, poems by Elizabeth Macklin


POPULATION: 485, memoir by Michael Perry

THE OTHER SIDE OF AUGUST, novel by Joanna Hershon


APPLEBY HOUSE, memoir by Sylvia Smith

2003 Dutch Henry zinfandel
2004 Dutch Henry pinot noir
Schrambsberg Blanc de Noir
1990 Tarrabianca Campaccio
2001 Majella “The Mallea”
1999 Bierzo Descendientes de J. Palacios, S.L.
1992 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet
1970 Vega-Sicilia "Unico"
1994 Penfolds Grange Shiraz
1993 Ravenswood Dickerson zinfandel
2005 Dutch Henry rose (barrel tasting)
1993 Chambertin Domaine Armand Rousseau
1996 Screaming Eagle
1985 Conterno Monfortino
1988 Ch. d 'yQuem
Gosset sparkling wine
2003 Roque Pie St. Loup syrah
2004 Chave Crozes Hermitage Merssault
2003 Peter Michael Winery Chardonnay "La Carriere"
2001 Jones Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
2002 Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
1999 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon "Herb Lamb Vineyard"
1994 Dominus
1997 Abreu Cabernet Sauvignon Madrona Ranch
1997 Harlan Estate

Sunday, January 08, 2006


I've also just added Ray Craig to the list of Hay(na)ku sites.

And Maraming Salamat to Annabelle Udo for her review of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology! It's to be published in Listen & Be Heard, Jan. 11 issue -- and here is a prevoo:

Book Review: The First Hay(na)ku Anthology

Legend has it that the discovery of tea some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, happened when leaves inadvertently fell into water that was being boiled under a tree. The alchemy so magical and the taste as equally astounding, there is no surprise that tea remains as one of the most favored drinks among poets.

With The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, the reader seems to return to the imperial courts of lore. As this book itself reads as leaves falling from a tree, it is somewhat reflecting of the kind of inspiration that might have sparked the process for Eileen Tabios, poet and producer of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, to make manifest this collection of a new poetic form.

As aptly described by Mark Young, who edits this book with fellow long-time poet, Jean Vengua, one can regard hay(na)ku as “postcards from wherever their author has touched earth.” Among the various definitions in which the word hay(na)ku is rooted, Vengua notes it to be a double entendre concocted with the scant Japanese poetic style of haiku and the Pilipino exclamation: “Hay, nakú!” similar to the English expression, “Oh!”

Adopting a tercet comprised of one-, two-, and three-word lines, the hay(na)ku represented in this anthology includes writings by a global assortment of poets bringing a sense of balance and a variety of themes. The unfussy layout tends to express a kind of simplicity, but some of the more dark passages make the reader feel as if lured into a chamber a la Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. The following excerpt from “because” by Nicholas Downing expresses this notion using a 3/2/1 pattern versus the 1/2/3 tradition of hay(na)ku:

my neighbor wants
me dead

i have beautiful
hair my

beat me because
she loved

she told me
in the

country her father
would kill

with a machete
because they

at her mother
she was

like me and
beauty makes

do strange things
she told

In contrast is the nursery-like quality of two poems written by Jilly Dybka:

giga. Not
far enough away.


this way
and that. Cows.

There tends to be a lot more ingenuity when a writer is given limited space—more quality than quantity, less room for pretentiousness. The First Hay(na)ku Anthology contains a gentle rhythm with a balance of far-reaching styles—forward thinking while being rooted in something in the past. One can read something like this over and over and receive different meanings from it depending upon the experience at that moment. Nevertheless, an enjoyable read that exudes the air of a bumblebee’s haphazard flight pattern while still feeling the innocence of drinking lemonade as a child on a hot, summer day.

© 2006 Annabelle A. Udo
(published in "Listen & Be Heard" weekly for January 11, 2006)


Over at the Hay(na)ku Blog, I've updated the links of sites that feature hay(na)ku written by various peeps. The latest additions are

Alex Gildzen at Arroyo Chamisa at http://www.arroyochamisa.blogspot.com/

Rhiannon at http://www.thequietone.net/

Feel free to email me with blogs or sites where hay(na)ku is presented, and I'll add to the list.


One of the many lovely paradoxes of/in poetry is how the notions of "mirror" and "window" need not contradict each other

dot dot dot

which leads me to something larger I appreciate about poetry: its slipperiness. Once you pinpoint something about it, it slips away.

Ah, Poetics. Or is that O, Poetics? In any event, Ah and O, Poetics -- how I love (to tweak) the impossibility of your game.


We will know you as our own
even if you speak
with an accent
that says
you have not visited
our shores for a long time.

Thank you Rochita. A land becomes nation through its people. Your poem shows why, when I "balikbayan," it's to people, not to an accumulation of dirt, not matter how lovely that terrain.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


My most profitable honor as a poet is Moi's Poet Laureate-ship over at Dutch Henry Winery. My lariat duties often require that I spend Saturday lunches reigning over the picnic tables facing the winery where I regale and am regaled. It's a profitable duty given the copious amounts poured into moi glass as I hold forth as pu-wet.

"Puwet", by the bye, is Tagalog for "ass".

So whilst Moi was being an ass over there today, winemaker Scott Chafen poured us a glass of the still-to-be-bottled 2005 rose. Oh man! Yuuuuuuuumy! It is nothing less than liquid poetry, specifically Poetry the way I like it: Poetry on the Move!

But what do you mean, O O-some One, some of her Peeps think. To which the mind-reader Chatelaine replies, Poetry on the move means dot dot dot, actually let me just quote from Gary Koehler, Dutch Henry's marketing mojo-magician. As he puts it,

It's liquid panty-remover.

I do believe the 2005 Dutch Henry rose will sell out quickly as soon as it's bottled in early summer. You heard it here first, and I ain't just lariat-ing you.


UPDATE: Dang if that liquid panty-remover hasn't already spilled forth a menage a trois...of puwets.

Friday, January 06, 2006


says Mom! Dan Waber's mom! I am so tickled to receive this from Dan this morning:



A little background is in order--my mom is kind of legendary (at least to me) for the brevity of her emails.  I even wrote a poem about it once--the last word of each line in this poem, if read in a downward manner, constitutes the complete text of one in particular.

Dear Poet Son

Letters from my mother sometimes start, "Dear
Long Lost Son," or "Dear Too Busy Poet,"
or "Dear Stranger Rumored To Be My Son."

It's her way of applying guilt in two
coats, but it makes a grown-man son feel good
to know he's missed. Sometimes there are more words
in the Dear-line than the note. Recently
she wrote: "Dear Number One Son Who Can't Come
To Visit His Only Mother, Come to
see me before I die. Love, Mom." Zen mind
or artist mind, I only know the sough
that patinates my lines, turns verdigris

my copper coinages, and thrums my love
of word play is the non-stop song of Mom.

Another bit of information is that she is one of the people I had you send a copy of the hay(na)ku anthology to, which she received before Christmas as planned (thank you).

A third bit of information is that she went in for some eye surgery on the 3rd of this month.

And the last bit of information you need is that next week is my birthday.

So, finally, after all that, here's why I'm writing today. I got an email from my mom last night that says, in total:

went well
Codeine is great!

amazon.com books
List still current?

and I thought you, of all people, could appreciate that.



Is that a hoot, or what? A TOTAL HOOT! And synchronicity! Dan's email's subject line was "Conversational Hay(na)ku". Now, Dan apparently wasn't intending to claim the invention of a hay(na)ku variant -- it was just, he said, "a subject line meant to  reference that my mom is now speaking in hay(na)ku (where previously she was just unstructured brevity)." That's all fine but I'm articulating it as a variant dot dot dot because I found such RICHness in how Dan expanded meaningfulness -- his poem, for instance, was inspired by his Mom's letter:

Dear Poet Son,

Two good words recently come to mind:



It's not a new strategy, Dan says -- he's done it with other missives before. It's poem-making what he describes as "having an 'echo"".

I'm not sure why this all so resonates for me. I think I'm really moved by the notion of echo in the reading and writing of poetry (it may not be new to Dan but the specific "echo" POV is a perspective new to me as it applies to poetry).

Anyway, I'm delighted that surgery went well for Dan's mom -- it partly resulted in her writing a hay(na)ku and may she live long and prosper!

As for Dan's upcoming birthday, how great that you're the one providing the gift! HAPPY BIRTHDAY indeed!

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