Friday, April 30, 2004

from the ever-popular "Achilles Series"

It's rattlesnake season. I was reminded of such today by Brandt, Achilles' trainer.

So I asked Brandt when he was going to do the rattlesnake avoidance session with Achilles. Said session, as I understand it, involves Brandt setting up Achilles in a context where moi puppy stumbles across snakes ... and as curious Achilles would be wont to do, he would go sniffing to investigate them, at which point Brandt would snap the leash hard to teach Achilles that's a no-no.

Brandt replied that he's waiting to receive a shipment of benign snakes (I think "corn snakes"?) that smell like rattlesnakes. Then Brandt said, "If you see any on your mountain, just give me a call and I'll come pick them up."

Before I could say "Well, I wouldn't know what a corn snake looks like if it bit me on moi nose," Brandt added, "In fact, if you see a rattlesnake, call me as well. I'll pick it up and just wrap duct tape around its head."

I wonder how long the image will stay in moi mind because, Peeps, ... the image of that rattler blindfolded by duct tape feels rather imprinted on the walls of moi brain.


Moi Girl!

Ishle Yi Park is the new poet laureate of Queens, winning the honorary post out of a pool of more than 70 candidates, some with popular names such as Joseph Simmons, known as Reverend Run of Run-DMC.

Here's an excerpt from the article Sesshu Foster (also a fabulous poet; specifically one of my favorite prose poem stylists) sent to proclaim the good news and wake the Chatelaine this morn -- hah! I hadn't known that about Ishle once being forced by her parents to attend NYU Business School, where I, on the other hand, got my MBA; how amusing (so many different strokes for different folks!):

The ranks of contenders for poet laureate swelled after The New York Times reported earlier this spring that competition for the poet laureate’s slot in Queens was thin.

“When The Times put down Queens, a lot of Queens poets said ‘oh no, no, no, no, we’ve got to get in there,’” Marshall said. “Culture and arts are alive and well in Queens. Poetry readings take place all over the place.”

Park, a 26-year-old master’s student at New York University who grew up in Flushing and lives in Whitestone, said the world of words is thriving in the borough in which she grew up.

“I was really surprised the only quote The Times used from me was the one that was disparaging about Queens,” she said. One of the first poets to throw her hat into the ring for the post, she was quoted by the newspaper as saying “for me Queens is like a suburban nightmare.”

Instead, she said the borough has inspired her and the women who raised her here are some of the muses of her verse.

“I can only hope my work resonates with the lovely echo of their lives,” she said of her mother and aunt, who attended the ceremony.

Her mother, Sucha Park, said she and her husband tried as hard as they could to encourage her daughter into a life other than that of a poet’s.

“We forced her to go to NYU business school. She wasn’t happy,” the elder Park said. “She transferred to Sarah Lawrence and did very well.”

Thursday, April 29, 2004


"yadda, yadda, yadda"
--Tom Beckett quoting the Chatelaine in VPR

Such wisdom in Tom Beckett's Vanishing Points of Resemblance (Generator Press, Cleveland, 2004):
Context is everything -- or rather, everywhere.

Such play of lucidity:
The Subject is stepping carefully through an environment which is full of holes. These are holes of the Subject's and of others' making. The holes increase the circulation of air. To negotiate one's way around them takes care.

One's desire to disappear into or be absorbed by something larger than oneself -- a project or book or bottle or drug or lover or ocean or desert or darkness or light.

Something hapens when something is described. Something also happens when nothing is described.


Such Achilles mentality:
I want to suck my own cock like a thumb.
Yes, Achilles mentality. Achilles, being a dog rather than a man (to reference that joke about their difference) can accomplish Beckett's line, much to the Chatelaine's, uh, disconcert-ment when she inadvertently witnesses said act...

Such suchness:
At some point I turned out to be my method.

Such Moi-ness:
Wings frame book.

Such poetics:
The subject appears to be dancing but is, in the reality of this sentence, actually stepping on ants while softly sobbing "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...."
The insertion of the word "softly" in the above excerpt is ... brilliant.

Such wonderful convergence between art and poetry via the book cover: the spun copper ceiling of the Rock Church in Helsinki (photographed by John Byrum) in stasis but also aswirl to deftly manifest a vanishing point of resemblance.

Such wisdom in Beckett's VPR:
All words are misspelled.
Yes, I emphasize/empathize by daring to specify: all words are misspelled in poems because Poetry is not words.

VPR is one of the most satisying reads I've experienced this year -- thank you, Tom, for living as you have in order to have written about



Preeeeeen. I certainly never thought to see moi name in this company below (courtesy of Wily Filipino's Listening Profile). All of a sudden, that white hair that popped up a couple of days ago is even more irrelevant -- after all, this aging 43-year-old just beat Ice-T and Sonic Youth!

Top Artists
Guided by Voices 212
Thee Headcoats 79
Tobin Sprout 75
Wild Billy Childish and The Blackhands 47
Circus Devils 36
Michael Gira 28
Robert Pollard 28
kanye west 27
Eileen Tabios 25
The Buff Medways 23
Radiohead 21
robert pollard and his soft rock renegades 20
Ice-T 20
Sonic Youth 19
Monade 19
Gal Costa 18
Merzbow 16
G-Unit 16
Alicia Keys 16
Os Mutantes 15
Robert Pollard With Doug Gillard 15
Snoop Dogg 14
David Napihi Burrows 12
Electric Masada 12
A.A. Allen Miracle Revival Ministries 11
The Weakerthans 11
Modest Mouse 10
The Meads Of Asphodel 10
Jules Ah See 10
Deerhoof 9
Glass Casket 9
PJ Harvey 8
R.Kelly & Jay-Z 7
Stereolab 7
Steely Dan 7
Mike Hanapi 6
M.K. Moke 6
The Human League 6
Autechre 6
Sunburned Hand of the Man 5
Iron & Wine 5
Ennio Morricone 4
David Carradine and Uma Thurman 3
Uri Caine Ensemble 3
James Booker 3
The Warlocks 3
Benny Rogers 3
broken social scene 3
R.E.M. 3
Meiko Kaji

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


Philippine National Artist (Literature) Nick Joaquin has died in his sleep. He was 86 years old.

Maraming Salamat -- ref. the Chatelaine's baby story, "Defining the First Letter in 'E-mail'" (Philippine Graphic). You welcomed the diasporic wanderer when others would not have....

Dios Ti Agngina / God Will be the One To Return the Favor...


So, while I was in Los Angeles, I spent a day touring the galleries, including at Santa Monica's Bergamot Station. And, there, I stopped by an exhibit at the China Cultural Art Center. It featured calligraphic works by a Chinese artist whose photo was prominently displayed by the gallery's entrance. And said artist was featured in the middle of making a painting....with his prosthetic arms/hands. The artificial limbs looked like they began right about at the shoulders....

The unsubtle message: look at the works on the gallery's walls and be even more impressed that they were made by an artist using artifiical limbs.

I didn't think, by the way, that the works were particularly great (competent but nothing to write Mama about, so to speak). But that assessment (if I'm right) only worsens the exploitation -- especially self-exploitation -- done to promote the work.

I mean, it is so horrific on many levels -- like....the disrespect of art to subjugate it to, what, feeling sorry for the handicapped (?).

Interestingly, one of the immediate things that popped into my crowded disk brain when I saw the artist's photo was how ... certain poets write their bios. How certain poets pepper their bios with references to politically correct jobs or to what may elicit sympathy. How the bio is not just used to share information about the author or even praise the author's achievements but to ... market the poems. Yes, at times that type of information is relevant but there's a balancing here that, in my view, certain poets don't address (and partly because they don't think through the implications of using certain matters as bulwark for their work). I won't say much more on that (for now) except to raise it ...

(Methinks, some of you will get right away what I am discussing here, but am walking away from addressing further because .... the Iron Gate tries to filter out negative energy from entering Galatea....)

Tuesday, April 27, 2004



(For Midori)

New York came, rampaging.
Broadway approached, barking.
The mad heavens roared down,
Clouds enveloped me.
All was motion, darkness, the
Ground rushing up.
Mountains leveled themselves
And my feet, faithful dogs, brought me
Home to you, my anchor, my light.


I love "Sanctuary," Luis' poem for his wife Midori. That poem is part of his forthcoming collection cited below in Meritage Press' latest press release:


Meritage Press is pleased to announce the publication of a new poetry collection by Luis H. Francia, Museum of Absences, copublished with the University of the Philippines Press and due to be released this summer.

Museum of Absences grew out of Francia's insistent sense of the void that haunts our contemporary lives, whether because of politics, faith, history, or personal circumstance. With such themes as loss, transcendent love, and revelation, the book's three sections introduce us to a wide array of personae, from a Filipino old-timer looking back on a life of invisibility, to Cinderella in middle age, from a grandson communing with his deceased grandparents to a New Yorker responding to the horror of 9/11. However different the masks, the poet's voice remains consistently lyrical, with language heightened by irony, metaphor, and musicality. This collection is marked by poetic inventiveness--in a disaffected age, surely one of our most valuable resources.

Francia's collection has received advance praise, as follows:

In Museum of Absences we see a poet writing at the height of his virile, vatic powers. Luis H. Francia's themes of love, loss, and redemption weave through the collection with the expert hand of a Stéphane Mallarmé or a Federico Fellini. His uniquely New York poetic responses to the tragedy of 9/11 are some of the finest I have come across. This is a book you will return to again and again.
--Nick Carbo, author of Andalusian Dawn

In Luis H. Francia's Museum of Absences, the halls and corridors are lined with poems that assert their presence and history against indifference, erasure, and oblivion. These are poems that bristle with kinetic energy: They step out of their frames, ultimately refusing the cold elegance of a display case in order to run amok in the streets, start fires, stage rebellions, sing and fuck and love even in the shadow of apocalypse. Despite the variety in this collection, Francia's subject remains the Filipino:"The beauty of our darkness//... Our delicate bones, our/ Millennial colonial contradictions/ The humanity of the subjugated//...the thoughts of a brown man/ ...in the season of aridity." He gathers up the different fragments of our selves and treats them as reliquaries, uncovering their grammar and meaning, all the while offering the startling perspectives of "an aerialist of uncommon grace."
--Luisa Igloria, author of In the Garden of Three Islands and Encanto

Luis H. Francia is the author of the semiautobiographical Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago, honored with the 2002 PEN Center Open Book and the 2002 Asian American Writers literary awards. A winner of the Palanca Poetry Prize, one of the Philippines’ most prestigious literary honors, Francia has two earlier books of poems--Her Beauty Likes Me Well (with David Friedman) and The Arctic Archipelago and Other Poems, as well as a collection of reviews and essays, Memories of Overdevelopment. He edited Brown River, White Ocean: A Twentieth Century Anthology of Philippine Literature in English; as well as Flippin’: Filipinos on America, with Eric Gamalinda as coeditor; and, along with Angel Velasco Shaw, Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999. He writes,in New York, for The Village Voice and The Nation, and, in Manila, for The Sunday Inquirer Magazine. A tale of two cities--Manila and New York--Francia teaches at New York University.

In anticipation of Museum of Absences' summer release, Meritage Press is pleased to announce a Pre-Publication Special.  For $12 (vs the U.S. retail price of $15) and free shipping/handling within the United States (normally a $3 value) per book, you can reserve a signed copy. This special ends on June 30, 2004. 

For more information, please e-mail Eileen Tabios at MeritagePress@aol.com

Monday, April 26, 2004


My reading/performance with kulintang (gongs) performer Mary Talusan no doubt will rank among my most enjoyable gig experiences -- thank you Catherine Daly for curating this multimedia series that takes place every last Sunday of the month at Smell in downtown Los Angeles (thanks also to the fantastic crew at Smell). Tonight, dancer Carolina San Juan unexpectedly joined Mary on the kulintang to continue the improvisational collaboration....all of it, Poetry.

Returning online, I also now must thank Crag Hill for his recent post on the hay(na)ku, which includes:

"I’ve been attracted by the line I’ve seen in these poems: limber, bending, stretching, a yoga, something I haven’t felt much in the poetics of the line in poetry of the last twenty years. These lines have hinges, armature, as well as full-ranging shoulders and hips. Check some of Mark Young’s poems out on As-Is and Pelicandreaming. They’ve got a dance I’ve found quite appealing of late. // I’m not sure when Eileen Tabios birthed this form, but it’s grown exponentially."

Crag, I delivered the hay(na)ku baby shortly before first blogging on it (on my former blog, WinePoetics) in June 2003. So, yes, the form is less than a year old -- and I've been amazed at how it's spread. It's enough to make me, you got it, PREEN.

And I suppose it is a blog product as its popularity occured through blogland. I guess that makes hay(na)ku the first (?) blog-based poetic form....which is to say, hay(na)ku for me also incorporates community, without attempting to obliterate authorial presence, in a poem. My gratitude to all poets who have danced, did yoga, and otherwise partied with the form.

Last but never least -- Salamat to Bruna Mori for the day's chauffering services with wine, Indian food, much humor, and consistently, Grace.

Sunday, April 25, 2004


My first book Beyond Life Sentences (Anvil) was published in the Philippines in 1998. So you should have seen me coo at my "baby book" when this enchanting faeri-like lady approached me at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books bearing it in her lovely arms. She asked if I could sign it.

"Of course!" I replied after I forced myself to stop cooing already at the book in said faeri's hands. I opened the book to the title page and saw(!) that a mutual friend had signed my poetry collection first to the faeri named "J." Ruel De Vera, a journalist but who is also one of the Philippines' most accomplished contemporary poets apparently had gifted my book back in 1998 to J. And now, in 2004, J -- who since has moved from Manila to L.A. -- is asking Moi to inscribe the book!

Manila -- Los Angeles. 1998 -- 2004.

Peeps: 'twas a MOMENT.

Saturday, April 24, 2004


HOWWWLLLL!!!! And the moon splits. But before said moon can fall, the compassionate Chatelaine lifts a wingtip to wave a wand and the breach is healed. And the moon once more can hover.


Welcome Richard Lopez to blogland. Thanks for sharing your texticles, Richard! I got them just before leaving San Francisco for L.A. and so didn't have a chance to tell you until now -- those thingies are mighty fine poems. (Let's leave the peeps -- except for the preening howler -- to wonder about your tes...uh, texticles.)

As for youse in Los Angeles, hope to see you twitching noses tomorrow at the smell! From curator Catherine Daly (and how lovely to see you today at UCLA!!! Thanks for the postcards!)

Eileen Tabios with Mary Talusan playing the Kulintang (gong-drum)
Franklin Bruno

at the smell! Sunday, April 25, 6 pm
247 SOUTH Main St., LA 90012

Eileen Tabios is a poet and vintner (and blogger) and editor and ... you HAVE to come see her read and perform with Mary Talusan!

Mary Talusan's works were performed at the 18th Annual Conference and Festival of Asian Composers, which was held in the Philippines. She spent last year in the Philippines as a Fulbright Fellow.

Franklin Bruno is a poet and songwriter and philosopher as well. His CDs include A Cat May Look At A Queen (Absolutely Kosher), Kiss Without Makeup (Absolutely Kosher), numerous Nothing Painted Blue titles (Shrimper), and the lyrics for Jenny Toomey: Tempting: Jenny Toomey Sings the Songs.


We generally hold coercion to be unacceptable in this society, even if the desired end is socially acceptable, but the general populace is unconcerned about such things when they are done to "abnormal" people
--Frank Klein

"Prime Time" earlier this week aired a show on autism revolving around the story of a family where the four children include three autistic boys. The episode was educational in many ways -- notably how this issue should be a concern to us all as autism is very much on the rise. But there was something very problematic about the episode -- and I am writing on the blog about it as part of addressing issues of identity -- indeed, I see this issue as very much linked to some of my earlier and others' blog-writings on postcolonialism and kari edwards' address of the transgender issues.

The problem in the "Prime Time" coverage can be addressed in the father's answer towards the end of the segment when he was asked what he hoped for his autistic children. The father replied, "Full recovery."

Which is to say, autism is considered a disease (from which to recover). No, autism is not something to be repaired though some of its resulting behaviors should be addressed by therapy to make the autistics more capable of living in society. Autism is .... Identity.

Here is a link below to an article written by Frank Klein, an autistic adult. I don't know enough yet on this matter to comment on the specific dispute of one type of therapy (e.g. ABA) over another. But, for now, this issue is worth raising because autism should concern us all -- one in every 166 children, according to "Prime Time," is now being diagnosed with autism. Here's an excerpt from Frank Klein's statement:

Most ABA today supposedly does not use aversives, but it is still morally questionable in my mind. For one thing, I don't see most autistic behaviors as being particularly "undesirable." The use of that term as such implies that normality is good, and that all else is pathological; all that is not normal has no right to exist and must be extinguished immediately, in other words. I find that reprehensible, and I am personally insulted that Dr. Lovaas and his minions find me and some of my behaviors as "undesirable."

One in every 166 children is being diagnosed with autism. Think about the implications of that -- the beginning of which, in my view, is the lifting of silence over their rights to self-determination....

Let's educate ourselves -- isn't that what Poetry is also about? Here's a plea from Frank Klein whose implications reveal how -- this issue isn't just about autism; it's about how we as human beings live together to form society:

"Please do not buy the sales pitch that the autism is "overcome," "cured," or anything like that. It cannot be cured; it can only be hidden. Please don't make your child live a lie just so his existence is more acceptable to you. There is no normal child hidden inside of an autistic child. The autism goes all the way to the center; it affects every experience, every thought, every feeling the autistic person has. Appearing normal and being normal are not the same thing! The autism is intrinsic; inextricable and permanently bound to who the autistic person is. To remove the autism would be to eliminate the person and to replace him with someone else. The majority of autistic people with whom I have communicated do not wish to be cured, and that includes the ones that have had a rather horrible life because of their autism. Not every autistic child has to suffer because of his condition, though, as they generally did in years past. It is up to the parents to advocate for their child, and to make sure that the child's needs are met. There will be many people from whom the child must be protected, including a number of them that pose as people that are trying to help. Jealously guard the child's well-being, and never forget that there is nothing wrong with being what he is."

Friday, April 23, 2004


Woke up thinking about the panel I'll be moderating tonight on Filipino Diasporic Writings. Over at the Philippine Consulate (scroll down for details). Thinking about it as I've delayed thinking about it until the last minute. Delayed because I'd rather do a million things other than thinking about this issue.

A Filipino writing in the diaspora, in my experience, has meant rejection.

Not just rejection from what one might expect: the racist sectors of U.S. society.

Also, rejection from certain Philippines-based Filipinos -- despite giving me their own Manila Critics Circle National Book Award for my first book -- for reasons long and complicated such that I don't yet understand fully where they're coming from...but which relate to my not living in the Philippines.

Also, rejection from certain Filipino-Americans because my work doesn't fit their paradigms.

This is what I'm supposed to discuss at .... the Philippine Consulate General's Offices?

Yeah, right. Bring it on. I'ma talking: bring on that Filipino food on those cocktail tables so I can stuff moi mouth, thereby preventing me from talking too much.

But if my immediate family members attend, at least they'll think me less crazy for being ... a poet.

It is ... the Philippine Consulate General's Offices....


But the good news is, before tonight, I'll be trawling the art galleries in Santa Monica, Chinatown -- eyes gleaming.


And now, a brief survey as regards moi navigation du jour, what does the word "transcolonialism" evoke or mean, if anything, to you? Please send your replies -- no matter how brief -- to GalateaTen@aol.com. I would appreciate your thoughts, whether or not you're Filipino. Thank you.

Thursday, April 22, 2004


consisted of

white rice
barbecued beef on stick
arroz caldo
chicken adobo

while drinking sago

and followed by a dessert of puto cochinta with shredded coconut.

Wow, some of youse may ask. The parents welcomed home the wanderer with a great home-cooked meal? No. My mother doesn't cook and hence I don't cook. Still, I made the parents take me to a Filipino turo-turo restaurant and I pointed and pointed at all these thingies that I and Mom can't cook and that I never eat at Galatea except (to date) when Michelle, Rhett and/or Michelle's mom visit (I'ma waiting for your laing, Barbara darling -- because laing, darling rhymes! Cough -- punchy here on the sago). For late night snack, available are:

slices of green mango with bagoong
macapuno tarts
ube cake
leche flan

I'ma golden for the rest of the night. Meet me at one of my three events in L.A. this weekend (scroll down for details) and I promise to beam RIGHT ATCHA!!!!


over moi new look over at Limetree -- why thank you, Kasey. Preen (howl), preen (howl)....

Off to Los Angeles (scroll below for where you might see all of me and not just above the neck as moi Limetree image features me -- after all the whole view is magnificent).


Wednesday, April 21, 2004

from the series "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron"

How purrr-making that as soon as the second printing of Reproductions was released, SPD ordered 200 copies. So I was at SPD delivering the books the "small press way" -- i.e. off the back of the truck (except it was moi teeny red car) -- and schmoozing and buying books off the rack in that front room they have...when Laura Moriarty showed up and introduced me to her companion, Rusty Morrison, one of the two heading up the fabulous Omnidawn.

As Laura said, "One publisher to another publisher...."

And Rusty and I started schmooozing about poetry publishing ... and then Moi pointed at the bag of books being tallied for me, "Oh, I bought one of Omnidawn's books!"

YAYAYAYAYAY! Rusty was pleased. And I was pleased at her pleasure. Because I would definitely want that feeling -- you know, that some peep bought one of moi Meritage Press books...

And Rusty logically asked, "Which one?"

And I said, "It's in there..." while Laura started rifling through the bag....uh, but no Omnidawn...and Laura kept going through title after title and we all started making noises like, "Well that Apogee book is good too...." while Laura said somewhat under her breath, "Maybe it's the last title in the bag...."

....so what a relief when Laura found the Omnidawn-published book I'd just bought: The Fatalist by Lyn Hejinian....WHEW! So more YAYAYAYAYAYs around.

Then I got home to discover I'd actually bought TWO Omnidawn books, the other being Rosmarie Waldrop's Love, Like Pronouns....

So now Moi is sitting here miffed because I didn't have a chance to say that to Rusty....because, you know: these things matter. As I'd overheard her say to Laura whilst both were entering SPD, "We don't do these things for money."

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

from the beloved "Achilles Series"

Achilles now weighs nearly 60 pounds. He had arrived at Galatea weighing about 14 pounds at 9 weeks of age. For his half-birthday this evening, I fed him a bunch of grapes. Each grape was individually split by moi loving fingers so that his puppy tongue could taste the juice right away.

I noticed that though moi baby has very sharp teeth, he has a "soft mouth" and never bit -- sigh: his training is paying off so well!

Achilles' breeder wants to feature us on their website -- to post his picture and a poem by Moi over Achilles. So I'ma looking at Auden's 1952 poem, "The Shield of Achilles." Because I'ma thinking of a poem where MY Achilles ends up not having the fate of Auden's (and the Greek myth's) Achilles. Why not? Because my adorable puppy is human's best friend, instead of a "man-slaying Achilles" in Auden's poem which begins

She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees,
Marble well-governed cities,
And ships upon untamed seas,
But there on the shining metal
His hands had put instead
An artificial wilderness
And a sky like lead.

The "She" in the above is Thetis, the mother of Achilles in Greek myth. The poem continues on to say that what Thetis sees instead -- reflected on Achilles' shield of "shining metal" -- is

A plain without feature, bare and brown,
No blade of grass, no sign of neighbourhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,
Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line,
Without expression, waiting for a sign.

But because Moi the Chatelaine is the mother of puppy Achilles, I do see "vines and olive trees." And, yes, actually, the Chatelaine does ... see vines and olive trees -- such is the magic of Galatea and the redemption who is my puppy, Achilles.

Happy Half-Year-Old Birthday, Moi Sweet Furry One...!


And the Chatelaine raises a goblet to toast

THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY (Meritage Press, 2005)

Please to check the Submissions Call over at the Hay(na)ku Blog!



UPDATE: I just added a sentence on the Hay(na)Ku Anthology Call of Submissions asking for poets' commentary on the form itself, for an anticipated "Afterword" essay. Thoughts about the form, e.g. Crag Hill's April 17, 2004 post at his Poetry Scorecard blog. Okay: cheers again!


Scroll down for info on panel I'm moderating on Filipino diasporic writings at the Philippine Consulate General this Friday eve, April 23; and signing books on Saturday afternoon, April 24, during the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in UCLA. Then, here's an invitation for moi Sunday, April 25 gig -- Please drop by if you can (and thanks to Catherine Daly, curator):

Sunday, April 25th 6-9:30PM

247 SOUTH Main St., LA 90012

Come enjoy this media/arts event running the last Sunday of every month. Mark your calendars.

Poetry and Music
* [A reader; name to come]
" Eileen Tabios with guest performer Mary Talusan on the kulintang (gongs)

" Franklin Bruno
" The Urinals

Monday, April 19, 2004


Tatang notes (while visiting NYC, I assume):
I just realized that Manhattan is the city that created the poet Eileen Tabios. I wonder if the angels came to her while she was in New York or whether she always had said angels. I can see her ghost walking the sidestreets of NY. Said ghost making comments about the city as 10 million peeps watch.

Yep....the angels started dropping their cigar ashes on my head whilst Moi was in Manhattan. I do recall the first time I ever acknowledged them in public. It was to scholar Edna Manlapaz whom I met in Fundacion Valparaiso, an artists' colony in Spain. That's what happens when wine is served for lunch and dinner...

Two more comments on Reproductions at Juliana Spahr's 250 from Lauren and Angela Domenica. Thank you. (Leny/Jean -- please see Angela's comments when you have chance re. discussions on literary Babaylan-ing?).


Strychnine, you whispered
And gazed as if it were chipped
From a crystalline sphere of angels.
--from "Passing Under the Mountain" by Walter Lew

Coming from the "Poetry In Time of Crisis" get-together in Santa Clara (see Kasey for a report), Walter Lew passed through the Iron Gate to ... lunch on pizza, beer and diet coke with Moi. Afterwards, with Achilles swirling through our ankles, we sat on a wooden bench looking out over vineyards and more as Walter smoked from his pipe and Moi inhaled the fragrance (I love the smell of tobacco via pipes and cigars). Walter pointed out the cloud dragons swirling through the mists rising from the mountains across the valley. Wide-ranging discussion, culminating in the exchange of poetry books; he shared his award-winning collection Treadwinds: Poems and Intermedia Texts (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) and a book he edited Crazy Melon and Chinese Apple: The Poems of Frances Chung . On his, Walter signed his name atop the red-stamped logo of his name in Chinese characters. His family name means "Willow Tree."


"We were children of the sunrise; a race discovered only in the seven streaks of the sea; a conspiracy united by wild flowers raised from the guitar. When we lived, there was no other life, and it was so sung by the elements that made us tall as the rapture of our island. When we died --- crushed and killed by time under the verandah --- a mood, a manner and a mountain died."
--from "Harana," a short story (1962) by Wilfrido D. Nolledo (1933-2004)

I can only imagine the grief caused by a parent moving on (I can't even type the "D" word). Just over 40 days ago, Filipino fictionist, playwright and editor Wilfrido D. Nolledo passed on. Nolledo's novel But For The Lovers was originally published in hardcover edition by E.P. Dutton in 1970; a revival of interest caused its reissue a few years ago as a paperback edition by Dalkey Archive. His daughter Melissa Nolledo-Christoffels just sent out this missive below with a poem (take care, Melissa):

I'm currently working on the book design & layout for PINOY POETICS---it is inspiring (and therapeutic). Thanks Eileen, Galatea is Sanctuary. 'GALATEA: A Day at Sanctuary'! (sounds like another poem)
Melissa Nolledo-Christoffels

40th Day

Yesterday was the 40th day
He had been gone. I did not say
Goodbye, and this was wrong.

I had dreamt about him.
Carefully, had waited for the signs,
Hoping he'd remember to tell me
Something we forgot to say.
To each other.
Something before he'd pass into time.

Is there another way?

Moments ago, there were many
Opportunities. But now all that’s left are
Visitations. In mind
Where asleep, I see clearly.

His eyes are open. I reach out. I cannot touch.
Does he see me?

The silences of grieving. Painful and apart.
But you are there!
With bated breath. I watch.
Still. Afraid to lose the night.
If I wake, and nothing said.
How to bear this silence.
Why, be?
This is disconcerting.

Too long ago, I heard the sounds.
At night, you were typing.
There --- I’d be
Listening. A spell. A trance.
Your voice:
the passages,
the scenes,
the dialogues.
               The crumpling,
               falling, a sea of paper,
               the light, still on.
               We were imagining.
You. Weaving.
The bolds
The itals
The paragraphs.
And many spaces.


I dreamt, awoke….and wrote. Today.
Yesterday, was the 40th day you had been gone.


Melissa is currently preparing a presentation on her father's works for the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles later this week. She and her family also will be available at two events taking me to Los Angeles this week; here's press release from Philippine Expressions Bookshop:

Philippine Expressions Bookshop
in cooperation with the
Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles

cordially invite you to celebrate the Written Word and the launching of several books by Filipino American authors.

Friday, April 23, 2004
6:30pm - 9:30pm

Philippine Consulate General
3600 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90010

6:30pm - Reception
7:00pm - Panel Discussion on :
Filipinos in the Diaspora: Beyond Identity and Nostalgia.

Q & A and Booksigning to follow.

RSVP (310) 514-9139 or email: lindanietes@earthlink.net

Free and Open to the public.
Street parking available along Harvard or Kingsley.

The books are:
Women Warriors: History's Greatest Female Fighters.
By Teena Apeles. Seal Press, Seattle, WA. 2004.

Monster: Poems by Joel Barraquiel Tan.
Noice Press, Los Angeles, CA. 2002.

Behind the Blue Canvas: Short Stories by Eileen Tabios.
Giraffe Books, Manila, Philippines. 2004.

Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole by Eileen Tabios.
Marsh Hawk Press, New York. 2002.

Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, Edited by Marianne Villanueva and Virginia Cerenio.
Calyx Books, Corvallis, OR. 2003.

We are holding the event on the eve of the ninth annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books which will be held on Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25 at UCLA Campus. The Festival is one of the largest book events in the US today. During the Festival, the authors will also sign their books at the booth of Philippine Expressions Bookshop (Eileen Tabios will be signing on Saturday, from 1-4 p.m.):

# 427, Zone D, Royce Quad Mid.

Please join us in the celebration. Tell your friends. The Festival is free.

Teena Apeles is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of the nonfiction book, Women Warriors: History's Greatest Female Fighters (Seal Press, Seattle. 2004.) Her work has also appeared in the anthologies Bare Your Soul: The Thinking Girl's Guide to Enlightenment (Seal Press, Seattle. 2002), Geography of Rage: Remembering the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 (Really Great Books, Los Angeles. 2002), and in literary journals such as dlSorient and Suisun Valley Review. She has contributed contributed to several publications, including BUST, Giant Robot, LA Weekly, Audrey, Pasadena Weekly, Philippine News, Filipinas Magazine and SOMA, where she currently serves as book editor. Apeles works part-time at PEN Center USA as its literary programs director, overseeing its renowned Emerging Voices fellowship program and "Best in the West" literary awards competition.

Joel Barraquiel Tan was born in Manila in 1968. He received his BA in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley and his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. He is the author of Monster: Poems (Noice Press, Los Angeles. 2002) and the editor of the Lambda Award Nominated Best Gay Asian Erotica Series from Cleis Press, San Francisco, CA. 2004. His essays, fiction and verse are widely anthologized and has appeared in Q&A: A Queer in Asian America,Asian American Sexualities, On A Bed of Rice: An Asian AmericanErotic Feast, Eros Pinoy, and Flippin: Filipinos on America.

Felix Fojas is a member of PEN International and the Philippine Literary Arts Council. He holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature, and an MA in Linguistics and Literature. A former creative director in various multinational advertising agencies, he has received numerous fellowships and honors. His piece, Have Come, Am Herehas appeared in Not Home, But Here: Writing from the Filipino Diaspora edited by Luisa A. Igloria. He has published two books of poetry and a third book, The Supernatural and Beyond, is ready for publication. He lectures on exorcism, mysticism, shamanism and witchcraft.

Eileen Tabios is a poet, fiction writer, editor, critic and publisher. She has released a poetry CD and written, edited or co-edited 13 books of poetry, fiction and essays. Her most recent book is a selected prose poem collection (1996-2002) entitled Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (Marsh Hawk Press, NY. 2002) and her first short story collection Behind The Blue Canvas was just off the press.(Giraffe Books, Manila. 2004). Forthcoming are two poetry books, Menage A Trois With The 21st Century (xPressed, 2004) and I Take Thee English For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press, 2005). Her other books include Beyond Life Sentences: Poems (Anvil Press, Manila. 1998); Black Lightning: Poetry in Progress (The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 1998); The Anchored Angel: Selected Writings by Jose Garcia Villa (Kaya Press, NY. 1999); Babaylan: An Anthology of Filipina and Filipina American Writers which she co-edited with poet Nick Carbo (Aunt Lute Books, San Francisco, 2000); Ecstatic Mutations: Experiments in the Poetry Laboratory (Giraffe Books, Manila, 2000); My Romance : Essays (Giraffe Books, Philippines. 2001). Her awards include the Philippines' Manila Critics Circle National Book Award for Poetry, the Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award, a Witter Bynner Poetry Grant and a PEN Open Book Award. She is the founder of Meritage Press, a multidisciplinary literary and arts press based in St. Helena, CA.

Marianne Villanueva was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the U.S. and the Philippines including ZYZZYVA, The Threepenny Review, Puerto del Sol and The Literary Review. She has twice been a recipient of the California Arts Council Literary Fellowship, in 1993 and 2002. Her collection of short fiction, Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila, was released in 1991 by Calyx Books. The collection was simultaneously published in the Philippines, and was one of five finalists for the Philippine National Book Award in 1992. Her short story, "Silence," was shortlisted for the 2000 O. Henry Literature Prize. She co-edited the Filipino women's anthology Going Home to a Landscape. Her second short story collection, Mayor of the Roses, is forthcoming in the fall of 2004 from Miami University Press. She is an instructor in the English Department of Notre Dame de Namur University, in Belmont, California.

Sunday, April 18, 2004


So dear David Hess has this hilarious *()(*^%$(*&_()& post as regards the Midwest, including a trip to Memphis to see Elvis! And guess what Moi is holding between her wingtips? Yup, a pinkish and rhinestone-filled postcard of Elvis from said David. Croon. This post then is dedicated to David for thinking of Moi as "the wine goddess, a sharer of spirits":

One of moi oenophile-peeps asks a folo-up on the 2003 Bordeaux. Well, as I understand it, 2003 was the hottest summer in the last 500 years in Europe (okay, mebbe 2nd hottest). That, along with the progress in wine-making technology, has made (I heard) the peeps at Petrus think 2003 may be their best Petrus ever made!

This effect, of course, is partly a result of global warming -- benefited the wine industry in that paradox that makes one foretell .... may have decreased Mother Earth's life span which explains heightened drunkenness....or something like that. Anyway, heat of course is good for grapes which need said heat to become fully mature. Unfortunately, it's bad for truffles but that's another story.

So speaking of decadence (oh, yes, I do know of what I'm speaking of here), the hubby was on a business trip this week. Sez hubby (who obviously is unaware of what may threaten his life span) informed moi that on this trip he imbibed the 1983 Vega Sicilia, 1990 Chateau Margaux, 1999 Pingus and 1997 Dalla Valle Maya. Ponderously, I might add, the hubby ponderously added, "They were all great." Grump -- I wasn't there, Bubbalah....

Contrast with what Moi drank last night and night before for dinners -- I mean, I enjoyed these wines but still! So, I had the 2000 Oakville Ranch Vista Vineyards Chardonnay, the 2001 Abadia Retuerta, Tempranillo Sarden de Duero (Spain), and the 2002 chardonnay and zinfandel from Napa Wine Company. Lovely, lovely.....and undoubtedly available still in the wine stores.

Galatea's House Wines This Week
is a short report due to my trip to Los Angeles in a few days; do catch me there if you can at some of moi gigs -- for information, check out the last two posts on the Marsh Hawk Press Blog. Anyway, house wines:

1996 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley chardonnay
1999 Kistler Russian River Les Noisetiers chardonnay
1990 Laurel Glen Sonoma Mountain cabernet
1997 Greenock Creek Barossa Valley cabernet


Dang. Mebbe Moi should begin a series of posts just thanking people. Saying "Thank you" generates such positive energy! If youse could see Moi now -- I'ma just golden with positive energy! My skin is irradiating the room! I am a Sun on moi own!!!! Or mebbe that's too many mangos but ... whatever.

So, Mama says "Thank you" to Crag for his wonderfully-smart post as to why he appreciates the hay(na)ku, which I lovingly excerpt here so I can Preen (and make Tom "When She Preens I Howl" Beckett bare his teeth):

Why me? Why now?
Every word counts. That's hard to resist in The Age of Logorrhea.
The form encourages paring, discourages padding.
Lines shaped by word count rather than syllable, engendering more rhythmic variety among poems and within the poem itself.
Enjambment abound, bounds.
Poems start small, grow taller, taller, then hunkerdown, dip, curtsy, until they build toward tall at the end. I read the sea there, gentle tides. (I'm so damned land-locked right now, I read the sea just about everywhere.)
They often arrive on my tongue before I can even locate pen or paper.
And if you've had the chance to read some of the poems found through the links above, the form's not so rigid that it breeds sameness. Mark Young's hay(na)ku do not read like Joseph Garvey's.

Saturday, April 17, 2004


Anna from Juliana Spahr's class (250) has offered one more response to Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole, to wit an excerpt:

"One thing that makes Tabios’ poetry feel relatively linear and storylike to me are the complete sentences within the poems. Also, the paragraph like stanzas, the complete, linear phrasing all lent themselves to the narrative feeling. It was interesting to me that she insisted on the abstract nature of the poems. I can see what she is saying in a way- the stories are abstract in terms of their nature, that is, to her, they are disimbodied, pulled from her imagination, and abstract visual art, and not personal. Because they were inspired by abstract paintings, and thus somehow abstract in their meaning. And many of the anecdotes were rooted in landscape, and had such strong visual images that I can see perhaps an abstract painting within them. However, the structure contained them in a linear, and thus (closer to) tradional manner of story telling, which is one reason I enjoyed them so much."

I am repeating the above, not just to make moi wings preen -- Preen! -- but because it gives me another reason to praise Forrest Gander. I once showed some of the poems in Reproductions to Forrest. One of his comments had to do with suggesting the deletion of what may be considered extraneous words in a poem -- words like "the" and "and" and adverbs. (And this was at a time -- still a time? -- when fragments were/are particularly popular among our peers.) I said I preferred to use grammatically complete sentences because in addressing my postcolonial concerns, I wished to question English while adhering to its grammatical rules.

Forrest GOT IT right away.

In the past, mind you, others not only did not get it but when they heard of my intention they scoffed at it (which is not to say authorial intention should rule but...).

Anyway, to insist on prose and yet transcend one's way to Poetry ... to do so without lapsing to devices considered poetic by others ... well, I dunno -- implies something, don't it?

Anyway -- so reading Anna's comment and relishing a memory involving Forrest while drinking a steaming cup of coffee and enjoying mango slices, and while the kitties Scarlet and Artemis share the windowsill by the computer -- Life is Good. Bless all beings....


'Tchure: I'll play the game, as suggested by Shanna Compton via other bloggers:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

Moi result:

"Not designed for us to notice, we knew the headlight/ Formed a hand that splayed like ribs off a white umbrella."

That's a sentence from the poem "When Poets Meet At Huntington Garden" that's in Daniel Morris' very enjoyable collection BRYCE PASSAGE. It was the nearest book at hand as I'm considering writing a review of it....which reminds me:

I just finished another review of kari edwards' IDUNA. My review on Sharon Dolin's Serious Pink is now out on Jacket (#24)....and I'm trying to also do a review of three books by this one poet...

Should I be announcing moiself as someone who does poetry reviews? I dunno. I do these only if a book REEEEEEEEEEALY grabs me AND -- and this "AND" cannot be underestimated -- if I have the time at a particular time when a book drops itself on moi In Box. That's right -- my decision on which books to review often have to do with the coincidence of when they arrive through the mail, given that I read/receive more books than I can ever have the time to address with a review (often, my blog posts on readings that please me is a way to just nudge attention to them without having the time for a more rigorous articulation of why I like those books).

Well, hey -- if you wish to take your chances by sending me a review copy, e-mail me. I promise in any event to read the book and never pitch it off to resell. Poetry always finds a permanent home on Galatea's shelves.

Friday, April 16, 2004


Shin Yu Pai just sent me a poem broadside in the scale of a greeting card. I opened the envelope assuming its contents was said greeting card only to find her poem, "De Stijl"! I adore the text, excerpted here

a method of placing blue
.........alongside yellow
to signify green

as presented on a card whose front shows two lateral lines, one black and the other red, and two horizontal lines, the top yellow and the bottom blue....

It's all very nifty. And the SHARING -- SHARE! -- generates a space of intimacy apt for how much the engagement becomes so personal, as facilitated by the scale and nature of the object. Thank you, Shin Yu, for this blessing.

And this reminds me of how Meena Alexander (in Black Lightning) says that no matter how huge and multilayered the poetics may be in the the formation of a poem, ultimately a poem is intimate in scale....which further reminds me, too, to say Thank You to James Meetze for sharing the poet-artist postcard collaborations through Cloud-type, edited by Kathleen Miller. I am enchanted by this series (previously saw James' postcard) and would love to know more about it! The cards I received from James involve Trevor Calvert's collaboration with Joey Alamo and Noah Eli Gordon's collaboration with Peter Gregorio -- obviously, poet/artist collabs are very close to my heart. These "building" efforts, off the grid of literary structures based mostly on power, are as effective in their own way as room-size paintings -- like an inch-high painting I once saw in a Chelsea exhibit (sadly I can't recall the name of the artist) that somehow manages to hold up a 12-foot-high wall. Here are some fabuloso excerpts from the fabuloso poems featured through Cloud-type:

You need my subversion, the way
I find holes in your system; the way
I liaise. You understand the way,
the rhizomorphic probability.
--from "Rhizer" by Trevor Calvert

Felt as a mistake in translation: leave for leaf,
so the tree is an exit, a door into weather,

a symmetry in the spectrum & the stasis
of an open page. Here, morning unfolds
--from "a falling in autumn" by Noah Eli Gordon


I'll meet Shin Yu in person for the first time during this upcoming reading in New York City. Please to come meet us all:

Eileen Tabios, Murat Nemet-Nejat & Shin Yu Pai
September 22, 2004
kundiman & verlaine -- a reading series
110 Rivington Street
Between Essex and Ludlow
Open Bar, 6-7 p.m.
Sponsored by Gekkeikan
Grey Goose -- World's Best Tasting Vodka
Happy Hour until 10 p.m.


Hoy. Comadre Evelina Galang shares the news:

Screaming Monkeys has been nominated for a ForeWord Magazine "Book of the Year Award" (in the anthologies category). Here's a bit more about the award and the list of other nominees:


The best ideas have always come from independent thinkers, and we at ForeWord Magazine believe this maxim holds true for written ideas as well. Six years ago, ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards was established to bring increased attention to the literary achievements of independent presses and their authors. The editors of ForeWord are pleased to present the following titles as finalists, and congratulate the authors and publishers of these exceptional books.

For those of you planning a trip to BookExpo America this year, plan to take a break and join us as we announce and celebrate the 2003 Gold, Silver and Bronze winners as well as the Editor's Choice Prizes for fiction and Nonfiction. The event will be at McCormick Place, room S105A, Friday, June 3rd. Everyone is welcome, refreshments will be served and notable guest speakers will discuss the merits of working with small publishers
including Lissa Warren, author of The Savvy Author's Guide to Book Publicity.

Anthologies (Nominees):

Out of Area By Alex Goldfein (1stBooks)
Screaming Monkeys By M. Evelina Galang (Coffee House Press)
Alaska Women Write By Dana Stahernow (Epicenter Press)
Short Arabic Plays By Salma Khadra Jayyusi (Editor) (Interlink Books)
Strong Women Stories By Kim Anderson (Sumach Press)
Fly Fishing Women By Cecilia "Pudge" Kleinkauf (Epicenter Press)
No Boundaries By Ray Gonzalez (Tupelo Press)
To Absent Friends By Jameson Parker (Willow Creek Press)
Bold Ink By Various Write Girl Members (Write Girl Publications)

Thursday, April 15, 2004

--for Walter Lew who caught the typo first (?)

And how appropriate that Robert Flach of UNADULTERATED TEXT-- that's "unadulterated," yall -- is among those to find the typo in Catherine Daly's poem "Oos" about which I posted earlier (scroll down to April 13)! As Robert aptly notes, "The typo, of course, is edulcolation for edulcoration. Edulcolation is not a word, while edulcoration is the act of making sweet, which fits in nicely in context. I am definitely going to be checking out the work of Catherine Daly in the future."

Robert was the second person to catch and e-mail me about the typo. The first was Michelle Bautista who explained her thought process as, "edulcolocation -- perhaps might be edulcorate or edulcoration. I choose this word mostly because I couldn't find it in the dictionary and edulcorate meant to free from harshness."

The third to catch the typo was Richard Lopez who first prefaced his remarks by talking about another post of mine (on building instead of being embittered) which touched on the notion of poems as sharing: "I totally agree poems, the reading and writing of them, and poets are at their best in the act of sharing. I am not an academic poet in the least: I do not teach, not trying to get tenure, so I don't worry about having to publish in an accepted mode or venue to strengthen my CV. the best ideas are got when one idea is shared with other thinkers which acts as a catalyst for more ideas and so on and on. // Anyway, I think the typo in Daly's poem is the second word in the first line: "edulcolation." it should be spelled: 'edulcoration,' the act of sweetening."

Richard, thanks very much for sharing!

Meanwhile, "Honorable mention" (as she puts it) for being the fourth was Jhana Nin, a writer/poet with some works online at http://www.jhananin.com/.

Jhana and Robert -- send me your snailmails and I'll send you your prize of Barry Schwabsky's OPERA: POEMS 1981-2002. Michelle and Richard, I've mailed yours and Michelle, I'll bring yours to our next meet.

Thanks for participating in this modest exercise. Equally important, I'm glad that others have noted my posts on Catherine Daly's lovely work -- including Chris Murray, Tom "Top Referrer" Beckett, Robert Flach and others. Do check out Catherine's DaDaDa!


I was watching the Chatelaine for the past week and not necessarily liking what I saw. (No, I'm not a split personality; I'm a multi-personality). So, one of the Chatelaine's duties is to choose the art works for Galatea. Cecily Brown is an artist she much admires. But because Brown is hot and hip and talented, her paintings have escalated in price (and also become difficult to get immediate access to). Nonetheless, a small drawing became available to the Chatelaine.

The drawing was nice but only so-so (to the Chatelaine's lovely eyes), but undoubtedly will find a buyer because it's by hot, hip and talented Cecily Brown. Yet, while the drawing was only so-so the Chatelaine didn't immediately pass; she actually thought seriously of acquiring it for Galatea. It's obvious what was going on -- the attraction of the name. The name as label.

The name as sufficing regardless of the specific work to which it's attached -- a disease shared by both poetry and art worlds.

This is the first time the Chatelaine's art collecting side had been tempted by the Dark Side.

Thankfully, the Chatelaine is better now. Integrity reigns again over ... Galatea.


To see Ravva's black chest hair poking out from my dress' pearl-strewn décolletage sent me roaring.
--from "Poems Form/From The Six Directions"

It's ONLINE!!!!

This guy in my wedding dress (moi outfit from my wedding of nearly 18 years ago)!!!

So, sometimes there's a time lag between when an article gets published in print and then appears online. I just found (though I may be late in finding) Asian Week's coverage of one of my "Poems Form/From The Six Directions" weddings -- this was during the launch of INTERLOPE #8.

What's significant about this article -- at http://www.asianweek.com/2002_08_30/arts_interlope.html -- is partly how it shows the photo I've been looking for: a guy in my wedding dress! (Sandy -- can you scan that; is the quality useable for my book?) In two other performance-weddings which symbolized my marriage to "Mr/s Poetry," Filipina poets wore my dress to symbolize how I'm also a Pinay. In this one, I chose (with Summi Kaipa's help) Amar Ravva, a South Asian male poet, because Poetry presumably doesn't have a specified gender or sex.

Anyhoo, it's all a hoot. But, that was some ... wedding dress. It's what happens when the only daughter from a Filipina family with a sentimental Mom gets married. You end up in a dress as baroque as a cream-laden, multi-tiered wedding cake (this was all before Moi formed moi own opinions on elegance, youse understand). Vouminous satin, sequins and lace. It all went very well with Amar's beard. Or as I put it in the OurOwnVoice article:

"Ravva, while petite enough to fit into my dress, is quite hirsute. His physicality offered a (wonderfully) dissonant contrast against my wedding gown festooned with lace, seed pearls, and white sequins. I had excavated my dress, along with a 12-foot train, from my parents' attic for Six Directions' purposes. Seventeen years ago, Mom went overboard as she helped choose the baroque style of my dress (this was her one shot to be Mother of the Bride). If my dress were cheese, it would be of the oozing, triple crème variety. Its elaborate style only highlighted the oddness of it draping the shoulders of a bearded man with a bemused expression and flat, black shoes that peeked out from the voluminous bottom folds of the skirt. (Whew! Was I glad Mom was not in town to witness Ravva in my dress!)"

Please to check out the Asian Week article....and please to also ignore all that B.S. (eh -- why prevaricate: call it bullshit) I was spouting off during the interview about poets "making it new." The context there was journalism, not Poetry.

from the ever-burgeoning "Achilles Series"

Michelle writes about the burning of Rome:

According to Veronica Montes' auntie, shrimp heads make good fertilizer for roses. Maybe you can try that on your lovely petals. wait, you don't cook, except for Achilles. hmmm...oh well if I ever cook sinagang (soup), I'll bring the shrimp heads by.

Yeah, yeah -- I know the subtext here. I absolutely understand Moi is a disgrace to the Filipina community by being culinarily-challenged (or at least, I'm a disgrace according to Mom until I reminded her that she can barely cook too -- Ah, ha! Now we know why Eileen can't cook! Don't need no bearded psychiatrist to lapse to blaming it on a parent!).

But lookit: I've been good. Parenting has taught me to become more comfortable in the kitchen....this morning, for Achilles, I took out two scoops of kibble, then soaked it for exactly one minute in hot water (his puppy tummy can't digest unsoaked kibble yet), then mashed in one calcium tablet (his bones are growing so rapidly!), then tossed the whole thing insouciantly up in the air to mix with two tablespoons of cottage cheese.

Insouciance in the Kitchen -- that's Moi!

(P.S. to Veronica -- how nice to see peeps be able to have fun with ... shrimps...., to half-paraphrase that saying: it's what you do with things that count....)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

from the wildly popular (I insist: wildly popular!) "Achilles Series"

Jim Ryals, Galatea's forthcoming -- and inaugural -- artist-in-residence is making Moi reconsider my decision to give him said residency. He just wrote this thingie below in response to moi post on Achilles chewing a toy shaped as President George Bush, Jr. (scroll below). Well: Humphf!!! Still, the fallen angels have a weirdo sense of humor so I am forced to post Jim's take on the whole situation (Jim -- if this really happens, I shall rely on your lawyerly vis literary skills and they better be damn good):

"The State of the Country"
by Jim Ryals

You hear the crushing sound of large tires on the gravel in front of your house. It is strange, because you did not open the "Iron Gate" to let anyone in. You do not hear car doors slam, just the shuffle of many feet. You see what appears to be several shadows moving rapidly towards the kitchen door.

A sudden pounding at your front door. You consider calling the sheriff, but instead shout out, "Who is it?"

"Secret Service. Open up or we will break the door down!"

You open the door and find yourself confronted by two men in dark suits and sunglasses. They are flanked by men dressed in black holding large weapons.

"Is your name Eileen Tabios?"

You respond affirmatively.

"Ms. Tabios, you and your dog are going to need to come with us. We need to talk to you two regarding what appears to be a threat against the president."

One suit looks at the other. "Do we need to cuff her?"

The other suit replies "Not her, just the dog."

As you are seated in the back of an unmarked black sedan, you see Achilles with his forepaws manacled, walking on his hind legs trying to hide his face from the press cameras with a trench coat you have never seen before. Achilles shouts in very clear, if coarse, language, "Moi demands moi lawyer!"

You mention that Achilles did not even know how to bark. The younger suit looks at you from the front seat and smiles. "He's not just a dog, he's an international assassin aiming to off the president. We've been tracking him via his pedigree for years."


I'm moderating a panel on Filipino diasporic writings at the Philippine Consulate General Friday eve, April 23; and hawking (I mean, signing) moi books on Saturday afternoon, April 24, during the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in UCLA. More details are available at my lovely publisher's blog: http://www.mhpress.blogspot.com/

Then, here's an invitation for moi Sunday, April 25 gig -- Please drop by if you can; contrary to what the invite below sez, I smell rather good (and thanks to Catherine Daly, curator):

Sunday, April 25th 6-9:30PM

247 SOUTH Main St., LA 90012

Come enjoy this media/arts event running the last Sunday of every month. Mark your calendars.

Poetry and Music
* [A reader; name to come]
" Eileen Tabios with guest performer Mary Talusan on the kulintang (gongs)

" Franklin Bruno
" The Urinals

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

from the wildly popular "Achilles Series"

So. Moi was sitting by her lonesome having dinner tonight....when she suddenly noticed her puppy Achilles all noisy and such by her ankles. Chatelaine looks down. She sees Achilles noisily -- which is to say, WITH MUCH RELISH -- chewing on his latest toy gifted to him by David and Lauren a few weeks back. And the puppy is a-biting and a-chewing and a-biting and a-biting and a-biting...

And the thing is, the Chatelaine was told by Achilles' trainer to create new commands by articulating what Achilles is already doing. So that if Achilles does something to the Chatelaine's approval, then all Chatty has to do is articulate the action, thereby providing the affirmation and generating a new command. Thus, Chatelaine forthwith starts proclaiming with each of puppy Achilles' actions:


(Admittedly, when Chatty got bored, she would interject CHEW BUSH! or DEFCON!)

You see, Achilles' latest toy is a chew toy, a plastic toy shaped in the form of the bust of the current President of the United States of America.

Moi wonders if this means Achilles ain't Republican.

Achilles, by the way, has a zillion toys in his toy box (fashioned from a recyled Petrus wine box, thank you very much). Because Achilles loves nothing better than ... demolishing his toys ... in his very Alpha Male way....



What I like best about the discussions on the dark side of the poetry world -- raised at Foetry and followed up by such bloggers as Shanna Compton, Janet Holmes, Jordan Davis, among many others -- is Jordan's suggestion to BUILD if you don't like the existing literary/publishing structures. Jordan's suggestion is not just smart, as others have noted; it also alleviates bitterness.

Bitterness. It's interesting to me how poets get bitter over the reception -- specifically, limited or lack thereof -- of their poems. It's further interesting to me when such a poet hasn't even hit 50 -- let alone 40, 30....

I'm not dismissing that bitterness (part of being human). But as someone who's tasted that bile, why wallow in it? Bitterness, after all, is so-called because it ain't sweet.

Unless of course one is being bitter (though perhaps disguising that bitterness through other means) as a tool for attracting attention. Cultural capital, the roundabout way.

And: what if we rethought our assumptions about the significance of publication as regards our poetic work. What if we considered publication as just a means of sharing work, rather than as a notch on a resume or way to boost our career or otherwise get recognition?

Build to ... simply share? What I like about the word "share" is how it seems to me to emphasize the giving, rather than the getting. And when the emphasis becomes sharing, would that then dilute the privileging of, say, the book vs the chap, publication vs a reading, a curated reading series over the open mike...

Am I being too naive? Am I being naive for even asking whether I'm too naive for thinking along these lines? It's just that, for me, Poetry is about giving, not getting. But because Poetry is inherently a paradox, one obviously gets as a result of giving.

To date in my poetry experience, I have managed to be most selfish and "achieve" most by ... maximizing generosity. Take it from Moi: in Poetry promotion (vs the Poem itself as that's a different story), nothing beats generosity as a winning strategy.

Not, of course, that my path as described above has been planned. I share the above only with hindsight as how Poetry has unfolded for me...


So speaking of BUILDING, Moi is pleased to announce the latest author and artist to join the Meritage Press roster. Forthcoming will be a poetry/art collaboration between




Yeah! And I'm particularly delighted to be publishing Bruna's first poetry book. So pleased I think I'll just sit here for a while and purr.


Socratic Poetics

--for Tom "Fierce Pride" Beckett

My readers read the Chatelaine
My readers grow by fifteen
Chatty's latest Peep count: 10,000,015


Chris Murray appropriately notes that the typo in my prior post on Catherine Daly's poem was "continuous" -- I initially typed it wrongly as "continous". Thanks Chris. I've corrected the error now, but that wasn't the typo in question. No one has caught the typo yet (or at least told me about it). So, do check the poem again -- it'd be interesting to see if even one person finds the typo in the excerpt from Catherine's "Oos."

But just check out Catherine's DaDaDa -- the more I read it, the more I adore it. I like how the collection doesn't forget to be lovely as it challenges. Here's another excerpt (without typos):

from (St.) Hildegard von Bingen's Visions

We rebel in the place of sweet things.
Eve opposes Adam, from whose rib she was cloned.
Even clones have agency.

In a remedial attempt,
a son was made within a virgin mother.

Monday, April 12, 2004


Your precarious, passionate body
floats on blood's toil,
--from "Oos" by Catherine Daly

Before I forget, I must note how enjoyable it was to attend last week's reading by Catherine Daly and David Bromige in Sebastopol, Sonoma. David only read two poems because he (very graciously and generously) wanted Catherine to have as much time as possible. Catherine reciprocated the grace by reading an old poem that she had written and had been inspired by David's work. As nudged by David, the evening continued its focus on Catherine's work with a humorous question-and-answer period following Catherine's reading which included poems from her fantabulous book, DaDaDa. At one point, David kept addressing the algebraic aspect of Catherine's work -- I won't summarize that here for, suffice it to say, I empathized with David when he said he was never that good at algebra....

DaDaDa is part of a thousand-page project which Catherine titles "Confiteor." So it begins with the 208-page "Da3" (as Catherine shorthands it), then will go into Object-Oriented Design, All the Angels & Saints, and Addendum. I, for one, ADORE LOOOOOOOONG poetry books and projects, and look forward to this series as it unfolds. I understand that part of the skeletal framework to this long project is how the writing takes off from various constraints (e.g. Oulipo)...and yet it does veer into enchanting fields, a charm that transcends the more intellectualized basis for how each poem began. I'll excerpt from her poem "Oos" below as an example of this charm.

And, given the layers in Da3 -- hinted at through the book's description of it as "a reader’s playground by vatic, cathartic rapine of canonical texts including the “Amoretti” of Edmund Spenser, the Greek Anthology, and the Norton Anthology of English Literature; religious women’s dictation, testimony, and writing; wireless communication, slide shows, truth tables, and Boolean algebra; high culture sculpture and junk culture celebrities and plots" -- I wasn't surprised to hear (during the Q&A) that the book contains typos. But the typos, too, eventually become a natural part of the poem -- in my view, like skin wrinkling. Flipping through the book during the Q&A -- which showed I would need a dictionary to understand all the words -- I asked Catherine for an example of a typo that I could cite and pretend to discover (thus making me seem much smarter than I am) as I talk about the book in the future. And wouldn't you know that the example she gave was actually caught by Walter Lew when he wrote a review of it! What a hoot. Anyway, there is a typo within the excerpt below -- e-mail me if you catch it and the first three to do so can get a prize!

As I don't plan to give away my only copy of Catherine's book, the first three to catch the typo will receive a complimentary copy of Barry Schwabsky's OPERA: Poems 1981-2002, the most recent book I published. Okay, here's the beginning of Catherine's poem "Oos":


oh oh oh oh oh
--Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy

O edulcolation to your lovers, you cloy.
O hoard! outpouring blood from books.
no drop more!
Pollen, honey, golden load,

(o) nothing bound,

hold our mortal coil to your tongue.

Covet nothing,
you among our world. For love
recollect: for love.

O implore memory.
You foretold. From conception,
passion -- long torture, sold --

bolts, hooks, joinery
perforate your agony to agony.
Recollect, collect, memorize dislocating
body. Your precarious, passionate body
floats on blood's toil,

flower of your youth despoiled, despoiled
of robes, oddly cloaked, knocked about.

Oppose opponents' oaths, strokes.
Wounded (blows untold),
O doctor, doctor,
no agony compares to yours, no spot sound.

Continuous, autonomous home (o),


Nonetheless, I do accept Andrew Loewen's apology. I am open to the possibility that what I may have characterized in my prior post as more qualifications may not have been intended as such by Andrew.

Just trying to ... live and learn.


Andrew Loewen apologizes OVER THERE at the Buffalo Poetics List. But after conceding to Timothy Yu's point that a qualified apology isn't a real apology, Andrew then says:

"As for Leny Strobel's question of whether 'a non-racist' can say racist things, I presume this is in jest(?)

"Can a feminist inadertantly say misogynist things? Can a kind person say mean things? Can an intelligent person say stupid things? Can someone trying to argue a point reinforce its opposite? Can an adult say childish things? Surely the answer to these questions is yes.

"As to the degree of respect or compassion with which one responds to such remarks, I would suggest this too bears on the debate.


So, here is the e-mail I drafted -- but didn't send over there to the Buffalo List. For some reason, I just can't bear to go there nowadays! Anyway, here's my response --

Leny Strobel is not on this Listserve -- but, no, she is not joking. I sense you may be missing the context of her remark; if others on this List care to judge for themselves, they can check out my blog at http://chatelaine-poet.blogspot.com and (Filipina poet) Jean Vengua's blog at http://okir.blogspot.com

As for your paragraph about whether a feminist can say misogynist things and so on, this may seem like a reasonable point for you to note. And there's undoubtedly truth in such. But I receive it with the feeling that it's yet another deflection -- you see, and how unsurprising that this isn't the first time today that I'm making this point, it's not an uncommon strategy for people to "deflect" away from a complaint by turning a specific point into a more general point. Generalizing can allow avoiding the address of the specific issue, particularly on such sensitive matters as those involving race (something addressed by other writers in the past, e.g. David Mura in his memoirs). (The specifics here include how a general desire for shock value translates to the specifics of "Filipina crack whore".)

Contrary to the implications of your remark on this list, Leny Strobel was not particularly disrespectful or not compassionate in responding to your words (at least, in my opinion). But if you are suggesting that the nature of her response (whatever it may be) affects the brutality of your original remark, well, that would be another deflection, wouldn't it? If, for the sake of the argument, Leny Strobel had responded obnoxiously -- such still wouldn't dilute the nature of your original remark.

So look. Leny (and I) -- being both Filipina women -- have received such remarks before as you originally made. We undoubtedly will hear such remarks again. And when we speak out in the future instead of remaining silent, we undoubtedly will see our complaints turn into so much more fodder for debates that may not much transcend intellectual exercises. We may even see our responses that may be inherently (though justifiably) aggrieved become so much material, too, for a discourse over -- of all things -- our lack of compassion and respect. Life never fails to surprise and also ... not surprise.

Eileen Tabios

Sunday, April 11, 2004


Galatea -- the haven for fallen angels. And one who didn't slip in before the Iron Gate shut for the first time is allowed to enter anyway. It is the Chatelaine's Enjoyable Duty to make the following announcement:

Congratulations to Galatea's Inaugural Artist-In-Residence: JIM RYALS

Jim is a former litigator turned poet/fictionist. He will be working on poems and a novel-in-progress while at Galatea from late April through May 2004. But to receive the residency, Jim had to spend the past weekend being interrogated by various members of Galatea's community of fallen angels. Tough duty. I almost felt sorry for him as I watched (giggling behind my raised wing).

Fortunately, Jim was able to have breaks during which I plied him with bottles from the cellar. So it was a big wine weekend....we tasted and enjoyed

1999 Summerfield Reserve Shiraz
2000 Finca Dofi
by Alvaro Palacio of Priorato, one of Spain's hot wine makers
1998 Torbreck Barossa Valley
1998 Napa Turley Delinquent Zinfandel Napa Valley
(so named as the grapes were left *delinquently* on the vines and harvested late when the brix was about 39 vs the usual 24, thus heightening sweetness and making the alcohol boost -- to 19% -- occur naturally)
1995 Pahlmeyer
1996 Williams Selyem Chardonnay Russian River Valley
1999 Kistler Russian River Valley Los Noisetiers

Unfortunately, the 1998 Kistler Hyde Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay died in its bottle -- part of the 10% of bad bottles estimated in the industry.

Other wine matters: the Chatelaine -- as Galatea's sommelier -- is buying futures for 2003 Bordeaux (that's a tip for youse oenophiles). The year 2003 looks to rival the great Bordeaux year of 1947, due not just to great weather but to innovations in wine-making technology. In fact, take a look at some of the great Bordeaux years: 1945, 1947, 1961, 1982, 1900, 2000, 2003 -- they occur more frequently in the more recent past and I think that's due to technological improvements in wine-making.

Speaking of Bordeaux, good buys (though good value is relative, okay) are available in the years not considered generally great but still good years such that fabulous wines were made: 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002.

Speaking of wine values, kudos must go to Greg Perry of Grapez; whilst here and hiding from my fallen angels, Jim told me that he tasted the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot at Greg's recommendation and it was a highly enjoyable experience!

Jim and I also visited Rhombauer Winery and tasted their cabernet, zinfandel and merlot -- the best of the bunch was the 2000 Merlot.

Then we did some barrel tastings over at Dutch Henry Winery: the 2002 Meritage is fabulous, looking to be even better than the already wonderful 2001. The 2002 Pinot Noir is also lovely and fruity. Tasted and recommended from the bottles were the 2002 Los Carneros Chardonnay (barrel fermented in French Oak and aged 12 months with no malolactic fermentation. True to the varietal, the wine exhibits flavors of green apple, pineapple and pear, with hints of clove and cinnamon and a subtle finish of citrus); 2001 Napa Valley Merlot (77% merlot blended with 15% estate cabernet and 8% cabernet franc; mouthfilling layers of lush, juicy fruit, then reveals a hint of earthy spiciness before finishing with a burst of rich chocolate flavor); 2001 Napa Valley Meritage Argos (53% cabernet sauvignon, 37% cabernet franc and 20% merlot; aged 20 months in barrels, with 45% new French oak; wine opens with a burst of black cherries and juicy berries before revealing notes of chocolate and roasted coffee on the very long finish); 2000 Reserve Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (from a single hillside vineyard right next to Galatea; the vineyard is cultivated to produce low yields of intensely flavored fruit and the wine is crafted to express the unique qualities of the terroir; the wine aged in French oak for 32 months. A sip...plum, cassis, notes of cedar and cola on the long, soft finish); and the 1999 Napa Valley Zinfandel from a single Calistoga vineyard with the bulk of the fruit coming from 65-year-old vines; 100% zinfandel aged 22 months in American oak barrels; a full-bodied wine with notes of strawberry and ripe plum fruit, then finishing with a hint of black pepper). I like these wines, which is why I mention them; but I lazily cited the winemaker's winetasting notes -- in part because what one tastes is genetically determined.

Which is to say, wine, like Poetry, is subjective. But if taste exists....some do have better taste than others, eh? Speaking of excellent taste, here are Galatea's House Wines this week:

1998 Peter Michael "Belle Cote" Chardonnay
2002 La Tour Napa Valley Chardonnay
1999 Kistler Russian River Valley Los Noisetiers
1997 Behrens & Hitchcock Petite Sirah Old Vine Napa Valley
1996 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sonoma
1997 Dutch Henry Zinfandel Dal Porto Vineyards


Leny Strobel writes in on Andrew Loewen's "Filipina Crack Whore" (I keep repeating the phrase because I'm curious to see if its power -- it's offensiveness -- ebbs with the familiarity of repetition. Well -- not yet: the remark remains ... painful):

Eileen and Jean -- i do not know the folks on the buffalo list but based on your recent discussions of Loewen's comments, i take it that he has issued some kind of apology for his careless and obscene remark?...which now elicits Eileen's question: can someone who is not racist sometimes end up doing a racial act? I am interested in this exchange because it's what I deal with everyday in the classroom. Many white students earnestly believe they are not racist and yet can point to incidents and comments wherein they participate in racial acts including the act of being silent in the face of racial comments made by others. Surely, as Jean says, silence is consent? It is interesting that when I use the term "white privilege" instead of "racism" the discussion can shift to where the white students can see that part of having this privilege also includes the privilege of expecting and being granted absolution when one makes a supposedly careless remark because "they are not really racist." Indeed, what is that space in Loewen's mind where, in search of a phrase, the first that comes to mind is a Filipina crack whore ...

Uh. Actually, I'm not sure (unless I missed it) that Loewen has apologized....

Thanks for writing, Leny.

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