Thursday, May 31, 2007


Claudia Carlson is the designer for my Fall book, The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes (Marsh Hawk Press). Here's her first cut at the cover design:

I think Claudia did an amazing job (she's also a wonderful poet!). I was first startled by the cover. Her Warholian riff was totally unexpected. I had to think hard about the cover because it's tricky enough having your photo on a book cover, let alone your father's as well. (I did have my image on book covers before but the first time, the publisher Jukka had presented the image as formed from pixels or digitized and its use had a conceptual underpinning of referencing women from the past, rather than Moi who blathers at you today...and the second time was a wedding photo related to Moi marrying "Mr/s Poetry")

In considering the cover for The Light...I thought first about how Warhol isn't actually a favorite artist of mine...but his pomo gestures certainly relate to some of the approaches taken by the book. I also think the Warholian gesture of paying homage to Dad is brilliant. Well, I was bothered at first about the whole notion of 15-minute fame associated with Warhol, and particularly his portraits, but I ended up liking the Warholian reference because, in a way, Poetry is ever-fleeting.

And of course the Gaze is so present with those seeing eyes that...

Even the use of color is brilliant. The hubby initially thought that for the bottom line of images, we might want to reverse the first two photos (left to right) with the two photos on the left side of the image to ramp up the color in the bottom right corner. But I actually thought the more monochromatic, greyish tone of the right bottom image was apt because, to me, it signified the light leaving...

I did wonder about putting the subtitle "Our Autobiography" on the cover. I really meant the "Our" to be the poem's "Voice" with whoever ends up reading the book, and its front cover placement seemed to imply the "our" is just me and my Dad. But since the hubby said that the inclusion of the phrase would actually draw him in more to the book were he seeing it, say, on some bookstore shelf, I'm okay with leaving it in. I always want my Poetry to be an invitation...

Anyway, THANK YOU, Claudia Carlson! Fabulous...and pleasingly unexpected twist to the book whose concept is reflected in this excerpt from its current draft of book description -- which I share because I think it would be very difficult to do a visual presentation of all of this blather:

On April 11, 2006, Filamore B. Tabios, Sr. died of brain cancer and its complications. In writing about her father, Eileen R. Tabios explores reconciliation with Ferdinand Marcos’ legacy through deliberate empathy with the former Philippine dictator's daughter Imee; pays homage to Judas Iscariot whose Gospel, discovered during her vigil by her father's deathbed, reveals him to be the most loyal disciple, instead of greatest betrayer, of Jesus Christ; meditates on the murder statistics of the 20th century's leading killers, from Idi Amin to Adolf Hitler; considers the global Filipina pen pal phenomena; and engages with Dante Aleghieri's Purgatorio.

It's the book where I manifested Nietzsche's notion that "Punishment is the making of memory." And Claudia comes up with a Warholian riff. What a surprise -- and I love it! Poetry -- that ever surprising path!