Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Back in the Philippines, this photo of Danton Remoto got published by the Philippine Star. Danton is standing next to my contribution to the ongoing CHROMATEXT RELOADED exhibition.

Now, my crucified Vizpo disses former Dictator Marcos...and Danton apparently is running for Congress. Any implication on the poet's politics (grin)?


Have you heard the latest anti-binary?

in Moi poem "SEEING THE FOREST", part of a series on the "poetry world," which is in the brand new OTOLITHS 4! Edited/published adeptly by the adept Mark Young!

Many great offerings -- including (which resonates in my mind as I've begun to prepare the next issue of Galatea Resurrects -- Thomas Fink's review of Bruna Mori's Derive (with accent over first e). Bruna's book is GREAT, of course -- I say, of course since moi Meritage Press published it. But Tom's review also shows why he is simply one of the most discerning poet-critics now writing today. CHECK out his engagement--click on excerpt below to go:

While the post-9/11 atmosphere, in Blakean terms, might be considered a time of “experience” after the “innocence” of U.S. invulnerability, Mori enacts a reversal. Before 9/11, the city’s collective “affect” was one of confidence based on the “experience” of industrial and post-industrial development. Deep insecurity triggered by the terrorist attacks releases a preverbal, primitive affect that returns people to an “umbilical” dependence on perilously simple “thinking.” The “horse” and “birds,” like the earlier “boat,” are tropes for transportation, but ones that suggest potential for liberation. The idea that “an unremembered poem” has disabled these modes of transit and coercively appropriated “the time” indicates that this “poem”—though “properly” “concerned” with national security—merely shores up a threatened collective ego and fails to interrogate global relations, including NYC and the U.S.’s place in these relations, critically in order to develop useful forms of international negotiation.

And I love this excerpt because Bruna's Derive (obviously I'm biased but let me say it anyway) is one of the most beautiful poetry collections out there -- and yet, as Tom the critic notes, obviously political and timely. And I appreciate the comparison elsewhere in the review ("lines ... are extremely long, thus conveying perceptual expansiveness or burgeoning expression")to Mei-mei Berssenbrugge; do you know how difficult it is for any poet to write something that would even evoke Mei-mei (who is so unique in herself)? Nice job with that discernment, Tom! Nice job, Bruna!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


for so often writing poems I co-opt into found autobiographies. Like, this one:

Self-Portrait in Hell

I will build a wall around my past.
I will build a wall around my country.
I will build a wall around my memory.

I will set broken bottles on top of the wall.
Just like they do in my country.
I will spread thorns and nails and crowns of barbed wire.
I will put up a sign saying, It is forbidden to lean against this wall.

In that walled-up space I will let everything grow in wild abandon.
Weeds, snakes, mushrooms, worms, bacteria, orchids, hornets,
dragonflies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, maggots, rats.
The good will be few and dwindling.
The evil will devour the good.
Just like they do in my country.

I will walk away from the safety of remembering
but I will keep an amulet against those
who still covet the last things I carry:
I will bear my anger in silence.
I will lay down my heart in flames.
I will burn the sign of the cross on my forehead.
I will wear my country's desolation
as though it were tailor-made for me.

Over the years their meaning will wear out.
Only I will recall what they once stood for,
my anger, my cross, my heart of embers.
No one will ever recognize me.


Re. Eric's poem being Moi's autobiography, here's a relevant exchange here with Jean.

Monday, January 29, 2007


"Twin Me" is an aphorism by Jose Garcia Villa which I was pleasantly surprised to discover in Laura Moriarty's fabulous poetry collection, SELF-DESTRUCTION. And it also relates to my thought that -- ATTENTION TEACHERS -- there are some new books out there that could comprise a very interesting syllabus for exploring autobiography. From recent readings, I include THE GRAND PIANO: AN EXPERIMENT IN COLLECTIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Bob Perelman et al and DISPLEASURES OF THE TABLE: MEMOIR AS CARICATURE by Martha Ronk (as an aside, I happened to read these two books one after the other and they rub quite interestingly against each other).

Autobiography is on my mind as my two 2007 books continue my attempts to disrupt its notion. TOOTING MY OWN HORN ALERT! Here's an excerpt from the book description for my book SILENCES: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LOSS which will come out next month from Blue Lion Books:

...extends a body of transcolonial writings. Here, she uses poetry to disrupt conventional autobiography. Utilizing an anthology structure, she presents poems, art criticism, prose poetry, and lists to convey a narrative arc for a poet's biography -- specifically how a poet's life logically lapses to a multiplicity of silences, to varied forms of Loss.

And here's an excerpt from the book description of my Fall 2007 book forthcoming from Marsh Hawk Press:

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.

In enacting Nietzsche's notion that "Punishment is the making of memory," Ms. Tabios also makes poetry by using commodity lists to create autobiography, practicing ekphrasis to translate the painterly technique of scumbling, offering variations of the hay(na)ku [...], and blurring the boundary between poetry and prose through texts originally written as blog posts. In addition, the book's overall trajectory reflects her disruption of narrative linearity in favor of Dante's conception of the Trinity. For Dante, creation is simultaneous as regards What (God) creates, How (Son) creation unfolds, and the Form (Spirit) taken by what is created.

I hope you check out these books. SILENCES is interesting for another reason -- SEX ALERT!! -- it's my "authentic black book" (and isn't it synchronistic that it gets to be published by a publisher partly known for their black book covers!); SILENCES also sheds light on John Bloomberg-Rissman's reference to Moi "Decolonialism / As a / Poetics of dominant// Submissive Sex"? Heee--reading that phrase now, I crack up.)

Meanwhile, here below is my latest list of Relished Whines and Wines -- if you must know, and you must if you read this blog, Wine is what fuels my reading and writing books. Missy WinePoetics!

THE POSTMAN POEMS by Mark Young (you, too, can get a free pdf of this enchanting collection by simply emailing the author!)

ANOTHER SILENT ATTACK, poems by Franck Andre Jamme, trans. by Michael Tweed

ON HER FACE THE LIGHT OF LA LUNA, poems by Mairym Cruz-Bernal

SELF-DESTRUCTION, poems by Laura Moriarty

MEXICO CITY BLUES, poems by Jack Kerouac

BIRDS & FANCIES, poems by Elizabeth Treadwell

CENSORY IMPULSE, poems by Erica Kaufman

STIGMATA ERRATA ETCETERA, poems by Bill Knott & collages by Star Black

BODY OF CRIMSON LEAVES, poems by Celia Homesley

GREEN SQUALL, poems by Jay Hopler

WEDDING DAY, poems by Dana Levin



DOOR WIDE OPEN: A BEAT LOVE AFFAIR IN LETTERS 1957-1958 by Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson







SUMMER OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN, novel by Tracie Peterson

1990 CNP Domaine De Marcoux
1999 Behrens & Hitchcock syrah Alder Springs Ranch "Homage to Ed Oliveira"
1999 Pietre Rosse Dalla Valle
1989 Barbaresco Riserva Asiti
2000 Ritratti Trentino cabernet
1978 William Hill Mt. Veeder cabernet
1990 Monticello Cellars cabernet


Sunday, January 28, 2007


It's Sunday. Which is to say, church with Mom this morning. I'm beginning not to mind being Mom's chauffeur. Our local Methodist minister Amy Beth had another great sermon. I talk a lot in poetics about the significance of context. This morning, Amy Beth spoke about the origins of the phrase "Turn the Other Cheek"--

First, get visual. If you're right-handed, and you're facing someone whose face you're gonna slap, you'd have to slap that person back-handed if you're going to slap that person's left cheek. For the slappee (so to speak), to "turn the other cheek" is to offer your right cheek to be slapped, which would make the slapper slap you open-handed. Got that?

Now, in ancient times -- as in when the Bible was written -- a backhanded slap was given to a servant, slave or child. An open-hand slap is what you gave an equal.

So, the phrase "Turn the Other Cheek" really means the slappee is insisting on being treated as an equal (and of course, the slappee can slap back). There was nothing intended by the phrase about the slappee allowing him-/her-/hirself to be walked on....which has become in recent times one implication of the phrase.

So the point of my reminding of the original context to the phrase "Turn the other cheek?" Respectful engagement. E.g, for the poem to be engaged with on the poem's terms and not, say, via paradigms on how that poem should have been written or behaved.

I am here to serve -- I hope you enjoyed this morning's Sermon.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Que horror! I am realizing "Moi" doesn't translate well beyond the blog!

Which is to say, I'm trying to finalize the manuscript for my Fall '07 book, which contains texts originally written as blog posts. And I find myself editing out a lot of references to "Moi." It seems that Moi, when taken outside the context of this blog, can get rather cloying.

(I know some of you find Moi cloying, even on the blog -- I don't want to hear from you.)

So, shitski -- I'm editing Moi out. Always interesting -- the significance of context.

Meanwhile, let me share Advance Words on my book, THE LIGHT SANG AS IT LEFT YOUR EYES (Marsh Hawk Press, Fall 2007). Yep -- a blurb. I hope you like this blurb. I bought it. Yep -- I paid good money for it for a good cause. It better be a good cause -- coz that'd be the only way I'd lapse to blurbs at this point. Here 'tis--enjoy!

Eileen Tabios' new criminal-renal-cultural-nasal collection 'Carbon World Decorator Witness Let' – or The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes -- eating one Eileen Tabios' the state Nostra do not catch up with her before it is completed. Eileen Tabios inebriates. living and non-living matter as and reflexively referential observation that constantly calls into question the gravitational fields autumn eat crumbs... No, Tabios popped; the cork with the original is world around it, the weeks, months, All will only first glance, but the novice self-taught in edition. The historic court ruling is an extremely flattering portrayal. Eileen Tabios is pharmaceutical be easily of building up his/her mountain Tabios' pseudo-romantic indoctrination the World of reader. I dug it, yo.
--Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

This blurb was purchased for this book as part of a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina’s victims. For more information, see the performance poetry project THE BLURBED BOOK PROJECT .

Heh. "Tabios popped." And Jukka dug it, yo.


When I was still in New York, I did a lot of activist work with Asian American literature. I think it would surprise many people to learn that, about those activities, I often feel I wasted my time--it often has seemed to me that much of my work back then may have been appreciated by those directly addressed (by name), but that ultimately such acts just evaporated into either (a) the times when the conflict between literature speaking on its own behalf clashed against recognition of multiple voices within culture with, by implication, non-erasure of its speakers; and (b) indifference.

This past week, to my own surprise, I found myself in backchannel discussion with a poet who shared one of her phD papers -- I quote a brief excerpt from the introductory section of her paper:

By reading against the grain of Marjorie Perloff’s definition of avant-garde, I bring to the fore the intrinsic force of avant-garde poetics for [Asian American School Poetry] writing. Her remarks set the context for my argument into relief. I trace a genealogy for AASP derived from poetics and scholarly discussions collected in Asian American anthology projects over the last three decades to demonstrate how AASP has implicitly responded to aesthetic questions as and through political and disciplinary realities. Subsequently, I focus on recent Filipino and Filipino American, or Flips (a designation that includes both groups) produced anthologies, Pinoy Poetics (Meritage Press 2003) and the Anchored Angel: Selected Works of José García Villa (Kaya Productions 1999), as well as one single-authored collection, ... Flip works particularly belie the hegemonic politics of aesthetic definition. In the context of avant-garde aesthetics and US academics, the predicament of Filipino identity—social, cultural, and aesthetic—is one that demands an inclusive avant-garde approach.


(And, yah, Filipino literature has a unique position within Asian American literature.)

Maybe I didn't waste my time after all.

Besides, I always knew it wouldn't mostly be my peers who'd do the follow-ups (logically focused as we were on other types of clearing ground), but the younger critics and scholars. Well then, ONWARD!

As for this young poet-scholar, I won't identify her by name as I sense she still has much work to do...I just want to blog-note that, this week, I've enjoyed your "lovely brain."

DUSIE #5!!!

Honored to have a poem in the new DUSIE 5, put together by inspirational poet-publisher Susana Gardner! It's fabulous company -- do check out the issue's poems!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Thrilling Manila sent over some photos of "Chromatext Reloaded" being installed. This historic Thrilla in Manila exhibition should open...hmm, today!

Here's an installation shot of my piece -- actually, my vizpo poem on its five sheets are on the ground awaiting to be hanged, but you can see the blood-red crucifixion backdrop against which they'll be pinned. In the first photo, I'm honored to feature Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) President Nes Jardin, who came to take a peek. Guess that makes him one of Moi Peeps!

And in second photo below, you'll see another shot of the gallery as the installation proceeds; the mannequin, by the way, features a wedding dress embroidered with Carlomar Daoana's poem "(A Notion of) Marital Bliss":

All so thrilling! And you Peeps reading this and who have a chance to see the exhibit? CHECK IT OUT! Feel free to deface my poem! Bring it on! Bring on that magic marker or its equivalent! Go ahead, Baby(ies): Let's Make Art History Together!

Deface Moi!

Any poem of mine would be BORED just hanging out on a wall. So:

Deface Moi!

But don't tell them I sent ya...or be caught by the suits!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


It's because I just failed to live up to my name, Missy WinePoetics. I'm so busy I just passed on meeting Count Alexandre de Lur Saluces and a tasting of the following wines, many of them classified as First Growths in 1855:

Chateau de Fargues
Chateau Suduiraut
Chateau Rieussec
Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne
Chateau Coutet
Chateau La Tour Blanche
Chateau Guiraud
Chateau Sigalas Rabaud
"Deborah's Delight" from Justin Vineyard & Winery
"Dolce" from Dolce Winery

What does this have to do with the morose dawgs? Well, here's a detail that shows a close-up of Moi's new bumpersticker:

And, woof!--the dawgs particularly prefer their wines ... Sweet.

Monday, January 22, 2007


"You arrive at truth through poetry; I arrive at poetry through truth."
--Joseph Joubert

There was a span of a couple of years, some years ago, when I used to quote that Joubert frequently. Which is to say, more recently:

Brad Pitt was discussing how strippers changed his life ... and segued into how manliness is defined by being a real-life father instead of being a film's fictional character. To wit:

"I caught myself on the phone the other day – Leo (DiCaprio) has been playing some real strong men these last few years, and I found myself saying, 'I want to play more of a man.' I got off the phone and I thought, 'No. Live like a man, and the movies will follow.'"

Poetry is all around us; we need only be lucid enough to see ... Brad Pitt's point is what I meant in my interview with Tom Beckett, when I sez:

... I would like no seam between how I live and how I write my poems. That just as I want to write good poems (however “good” is defined), I’d like to live as a good person, which is to say, as a responsible human being. I know that some poets who may be awful as people are nonetheless capable of writing and have written good poems. But I’d like no difference, if possible, for myself. As a poetics, this means that I choose to have faith that being a good person is relevant to writing good poems -- there is much proof that the poetic process need not work this way but I’ve decided that, consciously anyway, I would like to minimize psychic dysfunctional tendencies between my psyche and poetry.


You can take the above seriously, or believe I just wanted to have a post headline of:


What sez your lucidity?


Noah Eli Gordon is a peep a peeping! Which is to say, yes, it's getting to be that time ... when excitement begins to mount over the next issue of Galatea Resurrects. And a lotta lotta good things are skedded!

To remind, the deadline for the upcoming Fifth Issue is Feb. 5, 2007. And I've also just set the deadline for the Sixth Issue to be May 5, 2007. So keep checking Galatea's Purse for review copy, submission and other information!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Now that I chauffeur Mom wherever, I am back to going to church. Fortunately, our local minister Amy Beth delivers non-boring sermons.

Today, she was talking about how she lacks facility in learning new languages but loves languages -- sounds like me. And Amy Beth noted that what we typically hear in English as Biblical gospel is translated from Hebrew and, as with other translations, may fail to aptly present the original.

And a significant translation error relates to the story of Job -- how, at the end of the story of all of the tribulations wreaked upon Job, according to much English gospel, Job pronounced to God "I am wretched before You..." before receiving God's blessing. Apparently, in the Hebrew, the original version is that Job pronounced, "You are still wretched to me..." before receiving God's blessing.

Humongous difference, yah? That Job does say God is wretched and yet that such doesn't prevent God from blessing him...

And the (mis)translation of "You" to "I" is apparently (memory is sketchy here so don't hold me to it) partly due to how Hebrew is a "reflexive" language; there is no "I" but only he, she and you. If I got that right, that would make sense to me...

...and it would make sense specifically as regards to poetics. There really is no "I" in a poem, even when the word is presented. The poem is address -- it breathes into being when its "you" (the reader) exists.

Relatedly, and in Methodism in particular with its historically activist nature, to hear (whether it's to read or listen to) the Gospel is not for the recipient to simply receive it. The recipient of the Gospel, by hearing it, is supposed to act on it.

By such Methodist Poetics, if you will, the phrase "poetry activism" can belabor the point -- the two need not be split. Not if Poetry is active vs passive. You need not just write it or read it. Poetry can be a way of life.

So the dialogue of accessible vs inaccessible language might really be an amateur's debate. Poetry is a way of life -- and in this lies its most extreme difficulty. And Grace.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


This is usually about the time of year when I reconsider the decision to attend AWP. But, this time, I'll go!

Which is to say, I won't be arriving at AWP until Thursday late afternoon/evening, after which I'll be helping to woman the Marsh Hawk Press Table in the BookFair. If anyone wants to trade books with me, backchannel me at and I'll bring books to trade (I'll also take chaps for my books).

Meanwhile, here's my panel info -- hope to see you there or during Bookfair:

Friday, March 2, 2007:
Cherokee, 2nd Floor
F144. "Found in Translation: Poetry that Stems from Multilingual Homes." (Sandra Simonds, Eileen Tabios, Johannes Goransson, David Lau, Addie Tsai, Dominika Wrozynski) This panel explores the advantages and difficulties of being raised in a multilingual home and the aesthetic, outcome(s) of such an upbringing on the craft of poetry. Can a poet be caught between two or even three languages in an attempt to convey meaning? If we leave one language behind, can we ever feel at home writing in the one that we have found? Is poetic silence different from language to language? Finally, we will broaden out to look at the interconnection between multilingualism and the current sociopolitical environment in the United States.

Friday, January 19, 2007


This should be very interesting -- and YOU ARE INVITED!

There will be a book signing [with refreshments and finger foods] at SCI_Arc on Wed. night, Jan. 24, to celebrate publication of Bruna Mori's Dérive by Meritage Press, Norman Klein's Freud in Coney Island by Otis Books, and Benjamin Bratton's introduction to Paul Virilio's Speed & Politics by Semiotext[e]. Please stop on by -- participants look forward to catching up and discussing drift, dromology, and disappearance.

Please note that within a mere few weeks from its release, Bruna Mori's Dérive is an SPD poetry bestseller -- do check out this unique and enchanting book!

Wednesday, January 24, 7:30pm

Disappearing Cities:
Book Signing + Short Reading

Ben Bratton, Norman Klein, and Bruna Mori
SCI_Arc's Kappe Library
960 E. 3rd St. [downtown]
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Ben Bratton, Norman Klein, and Bruna Mori offer interpretations of city as media and personal warfare, re/imagined urbanisms and forgotten histories, peripatetic literature and psychogeography, rented spaces, and dreamed-of places. Join them for their presentations on cross-genre city writing and to celebrate their recent publications:

Speed & Politics
by Paul Virilio
introduction by Benjamin Bratton

Freud in Coney Island
(Otis Books/Seismicity Editions)
by Norman Klein

(Meritage Press)
poems by Bruna Mori
paintings by Matthew Kinney



Joel M. Toledo

Ivy Alvarez

Marie La Viña

for their award-winning poems HERE! And thanks to judge Michelle Bautista!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I CANNOT BELIEVE I am in the same exhibition as....deep breath now!....DAVID MEDALLA!!!!!


...after she lands back on earth, the Chatty One continues...

Here's info on a visual poetry exhibit soon to open in Manila where I represent the universe of St. Helena! Heh. There's also an an advance preview offered at the Goods on Moi Blog:

January-February 2007

Chromatext Reloaded at the CCP Main Gallery

Some sixty Filipino poets and writers from here and abroad, representing several generations, get together for a rare visual cum textual art exhibit billed as “Chromatext Reloaded” from January 25 to February 28 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Bulwagang Juan Luna (main gallery.) The show turns a page from previous Chromatext I & II series mounted in the 1980s by the Philippine Literary Arts Council (PLAC) at the celebrated Pinaglabanan Galleries in San Juan, which assembled visual artworks by PLAC poet-members and special guest artists.

This time curated by Sid Gomez Hildawa, Jean-Marie Syjuco and Krip Yuson, Chromatext Reloaded celebrates the 25th anniversary of PLAC, with its surviving founders Jimmy Abad, Cirilo Bautista, Ricky de Ungria and Krip Yuson leading the poet-exhibitors.

Their works — from holographs to photographs, illustrations with poems to oil paintings, sculptural installations to video — will be joined by those of other distinguished writers, among them National Artist Edith L. Tiempo, Gilda Cordero Fernando, Raul Ingles, Tita Lacambra-Ayala, Sylvia Mendez-Ventura, the late Lilia Amansec, Ophelia Dimalanta, Merlie Alunan, Marjorie Evasco, Butch Dalisay, Pete Lacaba, Cesare A.X. Syjuco, Jun Cruz Reyes, Juaniyo Arcellana, RayVi Sunico, Danton Remoto, Frank Rivera, Margot Marfori, and Sid Gomez Hildawa.

From abroad, PLAC members and friends have sent in their contributions, such as from David Cortes Medalla in London and Eric Gamalinda, Nick Carbo, Luisa Igloria, Eileen Tabios, Zack Linmark, and Melissa Kristoffel-Nolledo in the U.S.A. From Baguio City, the participating poet-artists include Butch Macansantos, Babeth Lolarga and Frank Cimatu. Special guest artists who happen to be close friends to writers, if not writers themselves, include National Artist Benedicto Cabrera (Bencab), Danny Dalena, Pandy Aviado, Fil Dela Cruz, Manny Baldemor, Rock Drilon, Jean-Marie Syjuco, Judy Sibayan, Heber Bartolome, Raul Funilla, Beaulah Taguiwalo, Erlinda Panlilio, Bheng Dalisay, Lorena Javier, Boy Yuchengco, Erlinda Panlilio, Marivic Rufino, and Igan D'Bayan. Among the younger generation of poets and writers joining the exhibit are Jovi Miroy, Vim Nadera, Fran Ng, Lourd de Veyra, Jessica Zafra, Sarge Lacuesta, Joel Toledo, Ana Escalante Neri, Ginny Mata, Carlomar Daoana, Mookie Katigbak, and Angelo Suarez.

Performance art, musical works and readings will highlight the exhibit opening at 6pm on Thursday, January 25, to which the public is invited, as well as the closing ceremonies at 7pm on February 27. Copies of the revived poetry journal Caracoa and special commemorative editions of CD albums featuring the recorded readings of PLAC poets will also be on sale for the duration of the exhibit. Gallery hours are from 10am to 6pm daily, except Mondays and holidays. Admission is free. For particulars, call 8323702.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Elytis' poetry has marked, through an active presence of over forty years, a broad spectrum. Unlike others, he did not turn back to Ancient Greece or Byzantium but devoted himself exclusively to today's Hellenism, of which he attempted - in a certain way based on psychical and sentimental aspects - to build up the mythology and the institutions. His main endeavour has been to rid his people's conscience from remorses unjustifiable, to complement natural elements through ethical powers, to achieve the highest possible transparency in expression and to finally succeed in approaching the mystery of light, "the metaphysic of the sun" -
--The Nobel Prize site on Odysseus Elytis

"So then, what we called 'sky' is not; 'love' is not; 'eternal' is not. Things do not
Obey their names."
--from "Verb the Dark" by Odysseus Elytis

What's most interesting about this ongoing discussion I'm having with other poets about COLLECTEDS / SELECTEDS is what I call the "arc" implied by the collection of all of a poet's poems. The determination of such an arc is art, itself; defining that arc cannot be scientific. It's impossible, which is why it fascinates.

How does a poem get made, indeed!

Well, I just got an email from Ernesto that simply made my day! Hope you don't mind me sharing, Ernesto, but I love his description of that "arc" -- that "narrative" revealed by all of a poet's poems -- that "pilgrim's progress"!

[Do picture Moi drawling out "peeeel-grim" here in my John Wayne accent...]

But, Peeeel-grims, this ain't why why Ernesto made my day. Apparently, he recently picked up Odysseus' Elytis' COLLECTED (from John Hopkins UP) and he noted as an aside that Elytis's "Diary of an Invisible April" reminded him so much of my Gabriela Silang poems (published in Menage a Trois with the 21st Century).

Woooo. Ernesto couldn't have known this, but Elytis was one of first five poets to ever make me think about poetry -- this was years...decades... ago, before I even thought of writing my own poems! But I haven't really read Elytis in years; he certainly was not in moi conscious mind when I was writing those Gabriela poems. Now, out of the blue comes this comment from someone who don't know of my history with Elytis that he thought my poems and Elytis' poems shared some empathy.

First, it's an honor. Second, autobiography here is We are also what we Read...

I'm also glad that I have a chance to share my love for Elytis. I remember when I first began strolling through the poetry world. As a newbie poet, I once mentioned Elytis' name to someone and he scoffed and said I should pay attention to Cavafy instead. As if, what, there can only be one Greek poet to include in the roster of what a U.S.-American poet should read? Well, wait, that's another story for another day. For now, I'm off to check out his COLLECTED and refresh my memory over this undeservedly still too obscure poet. I aspire to lucidity and often fail, whereas Elytis' poems show how he has mastered what he has called "the metaphysics of the sun."


I think the process is pretty damn important. anyone can find a poem, or a picture, I mean make a good one. it is, indeed, a notable aspect of art that there are some who bend their lives towards finding these treasures.
--Allen Bramhall

My post about COLLECTED (and thick SELECTED) poems has generated some interesting responses here and here as well as backchannel with other peeps. It is an interesting topic, ain't it.

One Peep did wonders for Moi's ego by asking whether I'd ever do such a COLLECTED and/or SELECTED POEMS. I've actually been asked for a SELECTED in the past. Such a SELECTED would make sense, theoretically, for someone like me whose early books are not widely available. But notwithstanding Moi's elephantine ego, I was reluctant to do a SELECTED because I couldn't see the aesthetic challenge in such a project. And so what if some of my early poems have gone out of print -- maybe that's all for the better as I don't feel I really hit my stride until the Reproductions book (which is still available). Plus, I always thought a SELECTED, too, could be something a live poet does when s/he has run out of steam (hee).

I'm more open now to a SELECTED since I came up with the idea to approach it as a 2-part book. The first part would be the usual "Selected" poems. Then the second part would be me rewriting -- or translating -- the selected poems into new versions. I could always toss in a Part 3 in there of other people's translations of my work. But it's the second part that interests me in doing a SELECTED since there'd be an aesthetic rationale for the project. (This is not to say I'm proceeding forward with a SELECTED; it also depends on whether its idea is more interesting/challenging for me than other new-poem projects.)

Not to say that I don't think it can be interesting to see a poet's selection of which of his/her/hir works that poet would choose for a SELECTED. But it's been boring for me to read various dialogues over a poet bemoaning another poet's SELECTED for not including a particular poem(s). Said dialogue can get interesting if it goes into poets discussing individual poems...but it usually touches on the readers' own subjectivities, which gets back to why I'm not that interested in doing a SELECTED because it's appropriate that any one's -- including the author's -- own opinion of what's best (what should be "selected") will fluctuate.

As a brief aside, have you noticed how some poets create a book they identify as a SELECTED in a grab for some canonical perch? I mean, there can be good cases for a SELECTED (e.g. Tom Beckett's Unprotected Texts , or the book I edited on Jose Garcia Villa when his literary estate would only allow me to publish a selection). But in some cases, I read a SELECTED and feel like the project was put together out of grabbing the cultural capital to having a SELECTED out there. Surely there's a better way to contextualize a poem than through a poet's anxiety over fame? (But the question mark is real; I'm open to the possibility that the context might work...because Poetry can be that open.)

COLLECTEDs, however, are another story. I could see my work being presented as a COLLECTED, in part due to the reason I cited in my prior post, specifically how that COLLECTED would actually give a more accurate (I feel) representation of one's work and, yep, one's self (the latter unavoidable because, as Allen says, "process is damn important"). But I'd like to think that impetus would come from someone or somewhere else than myself. If no one but Moi is interested in a COLLECTED of my poems, then there's no reason to do one, in my opinion. This reminds me of how I've occasionally stumbled across chaps of poems by relatively unknown poets but calling themselves COLLECTED. Yeah: saddle-stapled COLLECTEDs. I'm all for self-publishing in poetry, but there just seems something so ... sad about this grabbing.

That a reader would care about the thin (hence the chap structure) COLLECTED output of a stranger. Is it a coincidence that of the examples I've seen, the poems presented were not that compelling? That the slim output did not yet bespeak a prolonged commitment to poetry? Perhaps the aesthetic rationale of a COLLECTED is process, which inherently means a prolonged dedication...?

In Poetry, why do we grab? In Poetry, what is there that can be grabbed?

Then there's the other element that Guillermo Parra (in a backchannel) cites: COLLECTED WORKS, that is, not just poems but other writings by the poet. That would include blog posts, even. Believe it or not, except for use in particular projects, I don't copy my blog posts. So if Blogger or something else online ever goes awry, most of my blog posts will disappear. I'm fine with that -- you students wanting to write on me could always copy and save my blog Archives if you wish as I have no interest in doing so. When I make it big (wink), you might have the only copy of the total blog posts and sell Ebay copies for Two Cents Each. Yeah! Two Cents for Moi's Two Cents!

Okay, wisecracking aside, in case you're wondering why this topic is reverberating with Moi, I suspect that it has to do with my recent ruminations over ceasing to publish new poetry books after 2007. Because I want to do something else with poetry. Something extremely more focused, but that's not just writing Poetry. Ruminating over such, I've been mentally looking back over what I would have released in print in these past dozen years as a poet (hence the initial impetus to consider others' COLLECTEDs). And I'm wondering whether what I've put out there suffices for being a poet.

Actually, I suspect the answer is -- what I've done to date as a poet is but mere preparation for the point of my being one. But that -- oh, that! -- is a story for another day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I remember reading this a few days ago by Gura Michelle--

And I've often been surprised by the life my writing has taken, the reactions I get from people. And I hope I continue to be surprised rather than assuming or presuming how people should/could/might react or not at all.

Then, in this simply FABULOUS interview of Ernesto Priego conducted by Tom Beckett over at exchange values blog, Ernesto says:

I realize how much I underestimate the power of simple words. I am always surprised and what can happen when you send a word away, when you let it go. In that sense I was profoundly influenced by Cristina Peri-Rossi and Alejandra Pizarnik. I truly, sincerely believe that poetry must be a very humble act, just to discover that what it can do, sometimes, can be the least humble thing.

Both Michelle and Ernesto are Meritage Press authors. Like many publishers, I choose quite carefully whom I choose to publish. And though the decision to publish them were based on their manuscripts, I often feel there's something special going on in their poetics that, of course, later pop up in their works. These two quotes reveal an openness and humility that gladden Moi's heart. Because (in contrast with the pettiness and envy which we sometimes hear more about as regards poets' lives) there is the possibility of a full, long, rich -- and happy! -- life in this path. And much Joy for the poets and those who are blessed to read them.

Do read Ernesto's interview -- so much WISDOM there. And last but not least, so much Love.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Sorry -- couldn't resist the awful titular pun. Anyhoot: I've said before that I always like being in inaugural issues of poetry publications....and I'm certainly gurgling as cheerfully as my cauldron ... over in the corner there... to be in

~*~Womb Poetry Vol.1 :Hives & Covens~*~
dedicated in memory to kari edwards

* t h r u m *

: kari edwards : Eileen Tabios : Barbara Jane Reyes : Elizabeth Treadwell : Ann Bogle : : Alison Cimino :Susan B.A. Somers-Willett : Amy King : Kristy Bowen : Julie Choffel : : J.B. Rowell : Ebony Golden : Jenna Cardinale : Juliet Cook : Susan Morrison-Kilfoyle : : Holaday Mason : Toti O'Brien : Jessica Schneider : Karen McBurney : Sunnylyn Thibodeaux : : Sarah Mangold : Meagan Evans : Jennifer Bartlett : Marcia Arrieta : Michele Miller : : Priscilla Atkins : Anne Elezebeth Pluto : Marie Buck : Michalle Gould : Anne Heide : : Susan Meyers : Melissa Eleftherion : Susan Settlemyre Williams : J. Elizabeth Clark :

* s p a r k l e *

: Danielle Pafunda : Kathryn Miller : Julia Drescher : k. lorraine graham : Karen McBurney : : Michelle Caplan : Marcia Arrieta : Ashley Smith : Annette Sugden : Christine Bruness :

* c h i m e *

: a chapbook by Julia Drescher :

Kudos to editor-publisher Michelle Detorie!


Here's an image of our incompetent Commander in Chief formed from most of the faces of the first 1,000 U.S. military men who died in Iraq:

The poet who sent me the image can't find tne artist's name, otherwise, I'd post credit...but thought its message sufficiently important to present it now.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I'm interested in the unavoidable narrative arcs of poetry collections (whether or not said arcs were intended by their authors). And recently I've been trying to read more and more poets' COLLECTED POEMS. I speculate that COLLECTEDs say something about a poet's life -- I'm particularly interested in how they address the question of whether it had been worth it for that person to be a poet. (I'm talking about some "worth it" value that's different from the position that if a poet felt it worthwhile, then the poetry life was worthwhile.) The next step then, as I imagine this exercise further, is to compare my conclusion with the insights from a poet's (auto-)biography.

I'm interested in this exploration because my work has significant "opportunity costs" (to lapse to moi ex-Wall Street parlance, tho I ain't talking about $$). Anyhoot...

I still remember shocking a pal who happens to be a fabulous poet-critic over how, after reading his COLLECTED (I think it was COLLECTED vs SELECTED), I concluded, "Hey, that Stanley Kunitz was a damn good poet." I guess my pal, who'd been reading Kunitz all along -- or more than I had been on an ongoing basis -- didn't think highly of Kunitz's poetry. I had had no particular interest in Kunitz's poetry; I had picked up Kunitz's book simply because it was a COLLECTED. I'm thinking that this example confirms how it can be difficult to gauge a poet's prowess (hm. is "prowess" the word here?) based on reading invididual poems here and there (I've occasionally had a poetry-reader say s/he was surprised at one of my poems -- specifically how that poem seems so unrelated to other poems of mine.) Sometimes, the indepth immersion in a poet's work offers revelations not possible in any other way.

This probably shows me to be more sympathetic to looking at a poet's overall work -- including process -- versus looking at individual poems. That's true. But it has nothing to do with taking sides over poem (work) versus poet (biography). And I still appreciate the individual poem on its own. It's just that I believe you don't need to be a "professional" poet to be able to write a killer poem. I think everyone, whether one calls one's self a poet or not, is able to write a great poem.

But there is a difference, surely, in the occasional wonderful poem versus what happens when one keeps keeping at it, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year...etcetera etcetera... (Sometimes, that difference is not for the better in terms of the actual poems...)

So I'm interested in those who consciously choose to live lives as poets, how they manifest that, the work that comes from that approach, and then connecting the dots of these decisions to learn _________[fill in the blank].

Anyway, I recently Allen Ginsberg's COLLECTED POEMS: 1947-1997. What that COLLECTED clearly shows is how, yeah, despite finding several individual poems unreadable, this person's life was worth living as a poet. Of course, weak poems are an occupational hazard -- and should be (?) -- in COLLECTEDs; they reveal the result of a poet continuing to push, eh? (Having said that, and having also read Gregory Corso's MINDFIELD, his SELECTED poems, I can see how some peeps consider Corso a better poet than Ginsberg...but such comparisons ain't the point of this post, is it, so I move on...)

Anyway, yeah -- I'm interested in reading COLLECTEDs, and I guess thick SELECTEDs, out of this curiosity about whether a poet's life would have been worth it.

Although, it just occurs to me as I type this post that I have to say that I've yet to read a COLLECTED that made me conclude: How sad that s/he spent his life as a poet and this is all that came out of it...! And I think there's a message there...though I'm still fairly early on in looking at COLLECTEDs...

Meanwhile, here's moi latest relished Whines and Wines:


NO SOUNDS OF MY OWN MAKING, book-length poem by John Bloomberg-Rissman

T TO C: SUN, novel-in-verse by John Bloomberg-Rissman


LIGHT HOUSE, poems by Brian Lucas


RADISH KING, poems by Rebecca Loudon

YIN, poems by Carolyn Kizer

GONE, poems by Fanny Howe

MANGYAN TREASURES: THE AMBAHAN: A POETIC EXPRESSION OF THE MANGYANS OF SOUTHERN MINDORO, PHILIPPINES, Compiled, trans. and explained by Antoon Postma (thanks for the gift, Rochita!)

ROBERT CREELEY: A BIOGRAPHY by Ekbert Faas (I didn't "relish" this book so much; found its approach to biography repelling)

STRAPPED: WHY AMERICA'S 20- AND 30-SOMETHINGS CAN'T GET AHEAD, investigative journalism by Tamara Draut

INTO THE WILD, investigative journalism by Jon Kraut




FREE LAND, novel by Rose Wilder Lane

ORDINARY WOLVES, novel by Seth Kantner

THE DOG WHO SPOKE WITH GODS, novel by Diane Jessup

INCIDENTS IN THE RUE LANGIER, novel by Anita Brookner

ALMOST, novel by Elizabeth Benedict

MASK MARKET, novel by Andrew Vachss

2004 Dumol Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
1982 Calon-Segur
2003 Schloss Schonborn Beerenauslese
2000 Dutch Henry cabernet
1995 Thadgara shiraz Show Reserve
2000 Abreu Madrona Ranch cabernet
1994 Kistler chardonnay
2002 Luce Abbey cabernet
1986 Ch. De Fargues sauterne


Saturday, January 13, 2007


This morning, I had an e-exchange with Luis Francia whereby Moi delivered the welcome news that SPD's latest restocking order for his book Museum of Absences is for more books than I (as Meritage Press) have on hand and does he have access to more copies (the book is copublished with the University of Philippines Press). Fortunately, Luis has said access and so, not to worry Peeps: you can continue to get his book from SPD in the future...

I blog this because, IT'S A MOMENT. A moment that rarely happens for a poetry publisher: when demand exceeds supply. Meritage Press only has one out-of-print book, which is Garrett Caples' and Hu Xin's er um, but that was a limited edition (and, thus, limited print run).

In the future, Meritage Press won't have this problem of going out of print (unless a reprinting occurs) since the majority of my books will likely use print on demand. But, for now, I celebrate the demand for Luis' poems -- Mazel Tov!

That is (heh), Mabuhay!

Friday, January 12, 2007


Sadly, my flirtation with Viggo Mortensen -- on behalf of Poetry I'll flirt with anyone -- didn't come to much fruition. This brief, sad foray being the fault, for the record, of Jean Vengua. For details, go to my Notes on OUR novel-in-progress.

Which is not to say Viggo didn't find us all "interesting" or that, heh, I won't be able to use his rejection as fodder...!

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Hm. What do you know...I'm still "Asian American."

But anyhoot -- thankee to Nick Carbo and Didi Menendez and MiPOesias for the chance to share poems I wrote about 8 years ago when I was deepest in collaboration with faboo artist Max Gimblett -- do click on Max's link for some of the most gorgeous paintings about. (Thanks to Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos where I wrote the last 2 poems.)

And if you click on my poem-page and scroll all the way down, you get to see my official photo as Dutch Henry Winery Poet Laureate. ("Official" here means I'm there for lunch every Saturday when weather is good, pontificating at the hapless tourists I manage to snag by my picnic table as they innocently arrive to taste wine.)


Many of you -- oh so many! -- are wondering what's happening with my blurbed book project.

Unexpectedly facilitated by responding to Tim Peterson's tagging me on the Meme front -- so, thank you, Tim! -- I created a new blog that presents Notes From A Novel-In-Progress that I am writing in response to the blurbs many of you sent earlier. The blog's title is the novel's (current) working title (and click on it to access):


Actually, I'm hoping this new blog pinches my ass in focusing now and then on the novel. Dang -- a novel is so looooong (heee) a nudge now and then by a public tool may be useful.


Right here!!!

Okay, okay. It's more accurate to say


since the "blog" in question is not this one (hmpf) but Galatea Resurrects'. Thanks to Matthew Schmeer. You got it right on moi taste -- "a lot of love."


Some Nota Benes:

1) I've put out four issues so far and based on that record, Matthew calls Galatea Resurrects "an online publication dedicated to reviewing primarily small press poetry books". That's true based on what's evident so far, but it's not because I intend for GR to be primarily for the small press. One of the things I wanted to experiment with was just leave it to the internet-ether, I mean, fate as to who would end up being interested in GR. As it turns out, so far, it's mostly been small press publishers who've sent in review copies. But I am open to any type of poetry publisher...even any of the biggies (oh, you biggies don't need me, you think? Tsk -- think again (wink).)

2) Matthew says there's no historical context in GR. Is that right? I may not understand to which he specifically refers, but I personally think there is a distinct historical context to GR -- some might call such blogland. See how modern, how 21st century, Moi am? On the other hand, of course, true love is timeless...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


It's always special for a writer to get her very first literary accouterments -- hir first publication, his first book, hir first fan mail...and certainly her very first Author Web Page!

Isn't THAT special...?!!! But of course it is!!! Woooo! And she didn't even have to edge that blade against moi neck to get it!

Do check out the Gura's unique poetry by going HERE!


I suspect that reading Orhan Pamuk's moving Nobel Prize acceptance speech (via Rodney) helped effect me waking up this morning with a hay(na)ku on moi bitten lips:


I love

you. Forgive me.

Which reminds me to thank the all of you who thought to drop a caring note this past Holidays; you all were very aware that it was the first holiday season after Dad died last April.

And the effect of Pamuk's speech? It makes true what one of you said: the death of a parent just reverberates forever. Agonizingly forever and ever and ever...

You should never be shit to people you love. Or, better yet: just don't be shitty to people and whoever and whatever else in the entire universe.

I have to send the manuscript for my Fall 2007 book over to Marsh Hawk Press by the end of this month. This is the book I wrote for Dad, entitled The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes -- never has copyediting so hurt-ed.


It seems to be summer here. And as I fan Moiself on Galatea's mountain watching 25 big burly -- & tattooed! -- men put up stone walls and new foliage (Come to Mama, ye jasmine and lavender!), I read through a pile of books including review copies for Galatea Resurrects . In doing such readings, I write whatever reviews I'm compelled to write by specific books...not due to a predisposition to certain authors. Recently, I was compelled to draft two reviews. The first began with what undoubtedly would be an eye-grabbing first line, to wit:

"Well. This is one repelling mothafucka...!"

I'm still debating whether I'll bother to publish that review -- the only saving grace to my repelled state is that the work isn't a collection of poems but a biography of a poet (and I wasn't repelled by the subject poet but by the way the biography was written).

Now, what I do hope to finish so I can publish it is a review of the first anthology I've read where the success of its premise has nothing to do with the poets chosen to be included in its pages. Is that possible, you ask? Well, I hope to finish my review to persuade youse that, yes, it is! And why not? Poets form that breed which create what they cannot be, right?

Anyhoot, I'm talking about JOYFUL NOISE: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry edited by Robert Strong (Autumn House Press, 2006). Whether or not I finish my review, I can share its very first poem because -- wooo hooo! -- it's a hay(na)ku!!! That'd be this ancient Native American (Modoc) song:

the song,
I walk here!

And this brings me back to the prior post -- let me paraphrase John Yau (see prior post's last sentence) to suggest: It's not about making it new but making it fresh.

For example, the hay(na)ku -- the concept of me "inventing" it assumes (doesn't it) that it's new? But its form is obviously not new, per the above tercet. Of course, it wasn't called a hay(na)ku then. But to the extent that a whole lot of discourse and philosophical, political and social meditations went into the process of birthing the name "hay(na)ku," then that's making the form fresh.

Ain't process, when it's fresh, just ... grand!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I've long admired the works of Theresa Chong (who did the cover image for my first book, BLACK LIGHTNING). Now, she's opening a new exhibition at Danese in New York which I highly recommend.

John Yau writes another of his insightful art essays for Theresa's catalogue; I share an excerpt below the image since its message is also one of Moi poetics. But of course, the image first since the form here is visual (more visuals here):

John Yau: [Theresa] Chong's drawings and animations evoke ephemerality, the appearance and disappearance of things in time. There is both a sturdiness and vulnerability to her work that evokes our own existence. And yet, for all of their consciousness of time passing, Chong's work never becomes a lamentation. For all of the affinities she might share with artists as different as Vija Celmins, Bruce Conner and Daniel Zeller, her work is not like anyone else's. They speak in their own language, one that is rooted in the simplest elements. Isn't this what we have wanted all along? Words, music, or art that takes us somewhere, to a place that cannot be characterized by received language and outmoded conventions. This isn't about being avant-garde, but about being fresh.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Speaking of Filipino poetry, here's some Ifugao poetry at Ars Poetica, collaboratedly written with my NPA co-founder, Nick Carbo. It begins

Wings flare. Hawk soars
as if the sky is Ifugao red
and her wrists shake


Alerted to the news this morning by poet and Manila-based columnist Krip Yuson that Marc Gaba's won the 9th annual Boston Review poetry contest, judged by C.D. Wright.

Pleased by the news for Marc and for how this result (though, sigh, a contest) helps continue to show the treasure trove of English-language poetry that exists in the Philippines, that former U.S. colony. (To write well in English is the best revenge, to paraphrase Filipino poet Ricardo DeUngria.)

And, peripherally since this isn't about me but this is Moi Blog (wink), if you check out moi ENGLISH -- that is, I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH, FOR MY BELOVED (since the full title resonates given this bit of news) -- you'll see a poem I wrote for Marc back when we were still in e-correspondence.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


is here...and dedicated to Mark.


Speaking of meme, Tim Peterson just tagged me. What is it with this tag? Ron Silliman already tagged me on the same meme and I replied earlier with Sex and Dread. Well, thanks for thinking of me, Tim, and here are 5 more unknown things about Moi:

1) I have (it should be had but I have a problem with tenses when referring to dead family members) a brother Roy. He died in a car accident when I was a college sophomore. He had basically ignored me all his life...until the summer prior to that accident--when he, for the first time, reached out to me with conversation and gifts. As if he knew something was going to happen and wanted to be sure we connected before it did. We connected. At his funeral, I laid down by his coffin the first of many thorned red roses (re link; see cover image) that would keep popping up in my life...or poetry.

2) When the Poetry Muse first appeared to me, she said my job was not to write poems but to heal P___ (I insert the blank line there because I can't remember whether the muse said "Poetry" or "Poets").*

3) This happened just yesterday: the hubby and I were driving behind a truck that bore the bumper sticker: "If you're going to ride my ass, the least you can do is pull my hair." I'm 46 years old but didn't know what that meant...uh, until the hubby humorously explained.

4) I have dreams of opening up a bookstore. Or a bookstore with art gallery. I have the name already picked out, with the puns absolutely intended:


5) Because I'm unable to open a bookstore, I started a novel about a new bookstore owner. In St. Helena where I live. And involving Arnold Schwarzenneger who, with family, has been known to frequent the local Meadowood club. And how Arnold had gone to Main Street, St. Helena, looking for cigars but ended up in my wee bookstore. The novel's working title is How I Became The U.S. Poet Laureate ... which I always felt I should revise as I'd like this novel, once I complete it, to have a shot at selling enough copies to be an international best seller and what are the odds of that if the title contains any reference to poetry? Having just typed out that question, it occurs to me -- but maybe I should retain the title. Because achieving a bestseller with a title involving poetry would be more difficult. And (notwithstanding the pain that just erupted along my back at the thought), there is beauty stubbornly in difficulty.

I TAG anyone of my 10 billion peeps who won't tag me right back.


Rereading No. 2, not that I think Poetry needs healing (or healing from me). This is a point that's muddy unless I clarify it's contextualized within "Babaylan poetics" (more about which: later.)

Saturday, January 06, 2007


over at Logolalia where the first of three of my "ars poetica" poems is posted today, with the 2nd tomorrow and the third the day thereafter. Click on excerpt from my "Sentences" poem below for the whole thing:

The same byline your fingers caress now is text on a page, “which is to say,” yet another tree was axed for you to find the Iron Gate behind which I long hid with uncut hair and wounds as eyes, waiting for You.

This blog is set up to end in a print anthology of poems about poetry, co-edited by Jennifer Hill-Kaucher and Dan Waber, and to be published by Paper Kite Press.

Interesting idea: poems reflecting ars poetica. Some--and I implicate moiself in this--undoubtedly will present arse poetics. Heh.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Okay -- now THIS is SPECIAL!!!!

Sugar Mule is presenting a double issue on "collaborative textual poetry," guest-edited by stellar poet Sheila Murphy!

Sheila's Introduction certainly makes for interesting reading; click on this excerpt for the whole thing:

Textual collaboration has not yet established a presence as a category of work, yet examples of it appear, intermingled with individual writing, within print magazines and web-based publications, including blogzines. Typically, venues characterized as avant tend to feature collaboration more frequently than relatively more traditional periodicals. As with many categorical avenues in the arts, collaborative textual writing is better characterized by examples of excellence than by theoretical arguments for its existence.

I am lucky to have two collaborations in this issue, one with Nick Carbo and one with David-Baptiste Chirot. And, actually, in looking at the participants in this project, I have to say I am honored by being in this company. I respect, admire and even love the works of many of these poets. Just look at this participant list:

Contributors by section:

- section one -

Mary Rising Higgins and George Kalamaras
Maria Damon and mIEKAL aND
Natalie Basinski and Michael Basinski
Robert Garlitz and Rupert Loydell
John M. Bennett and Jim Leftwich
John Crouse and Jim Leftwich
Luke Kennard and Rupert M Loydell
Dan Waber and Jennifer Hill-Kaucher
J.S. Murnet

- section two -
Penn Kemp and Gloria Alvernaz Mulcahy
Alan Halsey and Jesse Glass
Nico Vassilakis and Geof Huth
John M. Bennett and Geof Huth
Bob Grumman and Geof Huth
Geof Huth and Bob Grumman
Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios
Eileen Tabios with David Baptiste-Chirot
Vernon Frazer and Michelle Greenblatt
John M. Bennett and K.S. Ernst
Jim Leftwich and Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
John M. Bennett and Stacey Allam
Bob Brueckl and Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
erica kaufman, Anny Ballardini and kari edwards
Steve Dalachinsky and Jim Leftwich
Scott Macleod, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Michelle Greenblatt

- section three -
Scott Macleod and Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Mark Young and Martin Edmond
Nico Vassilakis and Crystal Curry
Peter Ganick and Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Bob Grumman and Geof Huth
Nico Vassilakis and Robert Mittenthal
John Crouse and Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Michelle Greenblatt and Tom Taylor
Jim Leftwich and Andrew Topel
Susan McMaster and Penn Kemp
David Baratier and Sean Karns
Mackenzie Carignan and Scott Glassman
Frances Presley and Tilla Brading
Maria Damon, mIEKAL aND, jUStin!katKO
Tom Beckett and Thomas Fink

Hop you enjoy all these works--these poems working for you!


Speaking of Dredging For Atlantis, it just got reviewed by the January issue of Midwest Book Review. Thanks to reviewer Laurel Johnson. I reprint the review here.


Just got my contributor's copy of Otoliths -- that would be issue three, part two which focuses on visual poetry. Another great publication -- Otoliths is really one of the loveliest presenters out there of contemporary poetry (and not just cause they published Dredging For Atlantis which is probably a week or so away from arriving at SPD!).

Now, if only FIVE FINGERS would send over a contributor's copy -- Hello Jaime Robles! Surely you're out there...?

FIVE FINGERS is on Moi mind only because I was in the local bookstore and saw it on the literary racks. Pat-patted my poem a coo-ing Hello, but then put the journal back on the shelf. Which is to say, I observed the lack of desire to own as many copies as possible of the journal...

...Once, I would buy multiple copies of any journal that published any of my poems. Maybe because of the fear that it'd be the last time I'll ever see a poem get published. Well, what a relief to be so over that.

Anxious poets are never a purty sight, you know what I mean? Heee.

Anyway, I coo-ed at my poem, then let it go. My poems really want to be unfettered by Moi. My poems want to exercise their wings. They want to fly to Toi, not return to Mama Moi.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Yay. Go Bruna Mori! Her inaugural book Derive was picked up for a creative writing course at Brown University! And now SPD just announced:

SPD RECOMMENDS: NEW TITLES for Dec 13-Jan 3 2007
ORDERS: 1-800-869-7553
FAX: 1-510-524-0852
Try Electronic Ordering! SPD is on PUBNET (SAN #106-6617)
Questions? Contact Brent Cunningham at

**New Poetry and Painting Collaboration from Meritage Press**

Mori, Bruna
$14.95 / Paper / 50pp.
Meritage Press 2006
ISBN: 978-0-9709179-6-6

Poetry. Art. Features paintings by Matthew Kinney. Drawn by the New York cityscape and encounters found there, physical trajectories are mapped in words and sumi-ink. Poems depict a search for subjectivity in the urban sphere and are interspersed with paintings of architecture elusively dis/assembling on canvases. From Second Avenue to 207th Street, spanning mahjongg parlors and halfway houses, "the city and its inhabitants emerge as vastly various and yet inextricably bound to one another (le thi diem thuy)." "A deft poetic journey through the fissures and ironies of city life"—Norman Klein. "Bruna Mori creates a lyrical alchemy of the debris and mythology of New Amsterdam. DERIVE is an animated guidebook to the boroughs and should be required reading for travelers and residents alike"—Brenda Coultas.

So why don't you poetry lovers check out why this book is so RECOMMENDED!


Aw yeah! Just got a card from Bino Realuyo expressing the wish that my year be filled with much sweetness. And it ain't a metaphor, Peeps. The poet sent, along with his card, a box of Godiva chocolates! Now that's what I'm talking about!

And of course it's logical that Bino's package is seamless between word and its materiality -- something that yoga would teach, and Bino is a new yogi. Matter of fact, I highly recommend BODY OF THE WORLD, Sam Taylor's debut poetry collection, for manifesting a oneness with the universe. I don't often see poems reflecting this notion so when I see it -- as I did in Taylor and as I do and marvel in Eric Gamalinda's poetry -- I notice.

Anyway, the chocolate in Moi mouth attests:

The year begins to release its sweetness...

Read me and swallow...!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Here's an interesting forum on poetry publishing at Argotist Online. A group of poetry editors are asked for their input...

Susana Gardner mentions moi Meritage Press and Galatea Resurrects. Thankee!

I haven't read through the whole forum yet but this discussion apparently was initiated by the New Statesman article by Neil Astley, 'Poetry For People', which is also interesting reading. Here's an excerpt that, while undoubtedly lifted partly out of context, reminds me of my approach to Galatea Resurrects--

Editors' "personal taste" is too often an excuse or disguise for elitism and arrogance. In my view, my responsibility as an editor is to be responsive to writers and readers, and to give readers access to a wide range of world poetry. Publishers and writers who address a broader readership...are attacked by elitist critics for "dumbing down" - but receive overwhelming support from readers as well as from intelligent poets.

Yep -- if you see the types of books reviewed by Galatea Resurrects, the selection is open to all sorts of poetries...and yet, synchronistically, with probably a leaning towards avant-ish work. This reflects my hope for Galatea's audience -- that said audience eliminates the line between poetry world and ... World.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Today, I wrote one poem. This led me to think of the following oooo-lip-yan for generating new poems:

New Year's Day: Write 1 poem
New Year's Second Day: Write 2 poems
New Year's Third Day: Write 3 poems

and so on until we get to

New Year's Last Day: Write 365 poems

for a total of [1+2+3+4...+365 poems = someone do the math for lazy Moi] poems!

In the old days -- as old as, uh, last year -- the minute I thought of that idea, I would have done it.

Today, this New Year, I thought of it and ... moued moiself a teensy yawn before concluding: Pass.

Does this mean I've become an old fart?

Naaaahhhh! Let's just call it Moi's Aching Back Poetics!


It occurs to me, Jukka wouldn't require a calendar year to write that many poems. He could probably do it in 365 minutes!


Woke up this morning to an email from last night's hostess -- that we forgot to pop the champagne to mark the New Year. That sort of sums up last night. We were in the dining room and the host obligingly went off to the living room to turn on the TV to mark when the ball would drop in Times Square. But we missed seeing it by five minutes, so that what we saw was some cheesy act in Las Vegas as that crowd still prepared to celebrate midnight, Vegas time.

I detest the whole New Year's Eve thing -- I've always thought one of the best things about moving from the East to the West Coast was the ability to mark the New Year at 9 p.m. (by citing New York Times Square time) and then going to bed promptly thereafter.

The poetics here is how a poem should surface organically and not through some paradigm (that includes poems initiated through rules as the final result still needs to have engendered its own logic).

Celebrate or write a poem because there's a reason to do so -- not because one's trying to abide by some rule.

This post makes me seem grumpy this morning. But it's not grumpiness -- just a certain restlessness. But [insert wiping away of the frown] which can only be to the later good! [Insert Grin.]

Besides, had a wonderful conversation last night with Tom who discussed how he read poetry to his daughter every bedtime. Isn't that a lovely idea for incorporating poetry in one's culture -- supplement bedtime reading with poems! Tom said he was currently reading Robert Frost. At one point, I mentioned Pablo Neruda as a good next poet to read to also raise the issue of other (non-U.S.) cultures' poetry.

In any event, our charming hosts were generous -- the champagne was not missed when one is served the last three wines on 2006's last list of relished Whines & Wines:

THE GRACES, poem by Elizabeth Treadwell

MORTAL, poems by Ivy Alvarez

A READING, 18-20, poems by Beverly Dahlen

ROSE WINDOW (OR PROSETTES), poem by Wanda Phipps

GRINGOSTROIKA, poem by Jules Boykoff

A DAY IN SWITZERLAND, Picabian aphorisms by Tom Orange

LOTTO, poems by Kaia Sand

BLOOD AND SALSA, poems by Jonathan Penton

PAINTING RUST, poems by Jonathan Penton

WE TOOK TO THE WOODS, memoir by Louise Dickinson Rich



THE STILLEST DAY, novel by Josephine Hart

SEASONS BY THE BAY, short stories by Oscar Penaranda

INVITATION TO PROVENCE, novel by Elizabeth Adler

2003 Dutch Henry merlot
1995 Francois Raveneau Butteaux 1er Cru Chablis
2002 Rusden Black Guts Shiraz
1995 William Selyem Summa Vineyard pinot noir
2003 Blankiet merlot
2004 Longfellow Sonoma Coast pinot noir
2005 Eroica Dr. Loosen/Ch. St.e Michelle riesling, Washington
1999 William Selyem Russian River Valley Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard pinot noir
1995 Latour
Sparkling Mumm "Cuvee Napa" Blanc de Noir NV
2004 Melville pinot noir
2004 Louis Latour Merseault Blagny Ch. du Blagny
1996 Lynch Bages
1977 Fonseca