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!


Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Andrew Lundwall always makes me happy when he starts up a new poetry 'zine. This time, it's


Since he solicited, and Multi-tasker here happened to have a few spare seconds, I wrote a couple of poems in said seconds (heh) and sent it to him.

And now, for your reading pleasure -- mayhap you not go only for seconds but thirds and fourths as well -- here are



And posted just before me is Scott Keeney's "from Sappho Does Hay(na)ku"! Clever idea -- Sappho and hay(na)ku!

Actually, this is a brand new pub and yet I'm already in fabulous company: also Alexander Jorgensen, Sheila Murphy, Tomaž Šalamun, Andrew Demcak and Andrew Lundwall. Go Andrew and all ye poet-publishers!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Today, I read the steam sequence by Carly Sachs (Washington Writers Publishing House, Washington D.C., 2006). Couldn't put it down. One of the most haunting poetry collections I've experienced. So powerful. Deft. And, it just became the first poetry collection I plan to review for the next issue of Galatea Resurrects.

I rarely have any books I pinpoint ahead of time for reviewing. I basically try to read as many poetry books as I can and the ones I end up reviewing are those which really compelled me to pick up the pen -- or tap on the keyboard -- to write about them.

This doesn't mean I review all the poetry books I want to review. Sometimes, I just run out of time. For the past two issues of Galatea Resurrects, for example, I had drafted but didn't have time to finish reviews on Logan Ryan Smith's 2 POEMS FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL, Guillermo Parra's VENEPOETICS, Sam Taylor's BODY OF THE WORLD, Noah Eli Gordon's IN BOX, and one or two others. (Unfortunately, when I don't finish a review within the initial phase of enthusiasm for reviewing it, I sometimes can't pick up the review to finish later.) I suppose it's worth mentioning my list, not just to name some pretty fabulous poetry collections, but also to note -- Galatea Resurrects has review copies of two of the titles: Logan Ryan Smith's chap and Noah Eli Gordon's book. So if you wish to review some titles worth reviewing (and many others; I just updated again today the list of review copies), let Moi know. We even have a review copy of Carly Sachs' the steam sequences. Review copy list HERE.

Meanwhile, here's the latest list of enjoyed books and wines:

the steam sequence, poems by Carly Sachs

TANGO, poems by Halvard Johnson

ATLAS, poems by Katrina Vandenberg

BIRDS AND FANCIES, poems by Elizabeth Treadwell

ELEPHANT HOUSE, poems by Claudia Carlson

SOUVENIRS, poems by Bronwen Tate

OPEN BOX, poems by Carla Harryman

THE SPOKEN WORD REVOLUTION REMIX, Edited by Mark Eleveld (Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL, 2007)


LETTERS FROM THE COUNTRY, essay collection by Carol Bly

THE MAN FROM STONE CREEK, novel by Linda Lael Miller

1989 Remelluri Gran Reserva Rioja
1991 Mondavi Reserve Cabernet
2003 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1990 Domaine Leroy Vosgne Romanee Les Genieveries
1988 Ch. d'YQuem
1961 Mouton Rothschild
2004 Luce Abbey Vineyards
1998 Chris Ringland shiraz
1989 CNP Rayas
1996 Pingus
1994 Harlan
1994 Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese

During Memorial Day Weekend, had a guest (a member of the secret organization, Oenophiles For Poetry) for the weekend. We visited Castello di Amoroso because we were curious about the castle built by Darryl Sattui. To get in, we had to be tortured by their wine tasting. This is, of course, the kind of thing where Napa Valley doesn't shine, even as it attracts: a Disneyland type infrastructure that attracts tourists and curiosity-seekers (like Moi), but combined with mediocre liquids in the bottles. The castle, complete with moat-in-progress (won't that just attract mosquitoes?) undoubtedly will serve as a successful attraction as, while not serving great wines, neither are offensive either. We tasted their

2005 Chardonnay
2005 Pinot Bianco
2005 Pinot Grigio
2005 Gewurtztraminer Mendocino
2005 Gewurtztraminer "Dolcino"
2004 "Il Brigante" Red Blend
2004 Sangiovese
2003 Merlot
2003 Cabernet
2006 "La Fantasia"
2005 "Il Raggio del Sole" Muscat

Interestingly, the Il Raggio del Sole which, by their own description, is just "fermented grape juice" was the best offering in terms of product manifesting intention. In this case, the intention was for a low-alcohol juice that could be served over ice cream or other types of dessert. The "Il Brigante" also is a decent lightweight red, good for summer picnics...


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Monday, May 28, 2007


Cutting through the hype, here's my monthly pick(s) of best visuals from Art Forum. So, in the May issue ... well, so first of all, Jackson Pollock's "Number 16" (1949) blows everything away. But it's not that interesting to say Pollock. Nothing unpredictable either about the rest of my picks, except perhaps to note that the young un's need to step up their game. I laud (subject to reproduction's effects):

Glenn Brown (ad for a Gagosian exhibit)
Richard Tuttle (ad for Sperone Westwater)
Francis Bacon's "Study for Innocent X", 1962

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Sunday, May 27, 2007


My latest "Third Way" has to do with something I sometimes allude to, as in the last paragraph of the prior post. I'm thinking of setting up something like a Poetry Book Club where, to subscribers, I suggest (perhaps every other month, perhaps every quarter depending on my time constraints) a book of contemporary poetry. Such book would arrive with a friendly cover letter from Moi sharing the Whys of my recommendation.

While poets are welcome to subscribe, the primary target audience for my Book Club isn't actually poets. It's people outside the poetry world.

One of the most distasteful discussions to me in the poetry world has to do with this binary set up by would-be avantists versus promoters of non-elliptical poetry (all poems are elliptical in some fashion but that's another story). To someone like me who's invested in making poetry part of people's everyday living, so to speak, versus something just (forcibly) studied or then addressed mostly by poem-makers, I detest how attempts to widen the audience for poetry becomes synonymous with bringing certain types of verse -- some have called them accessible -- to the forefront.

The fact of the matter is, it's precisely because poetry promoters bring "easy" poems to the general audience that many get turned off. Believe it as we would about juries, people: sometimes, people really aren't as stupid as we think them to be.

I know intelligent and cultured people who are curious about poetry -- and specifically contemporary poetry; what's going on currently with the art. But much of what is mostly accessible to them (and others who are not part of the poetry world) are not that satisfying. These are the kind of people who would be turned off by the verses served up as "accessible." Or not "turned off" -- that may be too harsh. More specific to the point I'm trying to make, they might enjoy the good/great poems from such accessible forms, but in the specific sense that such is not giving them a new or surprising or challenging experience, they're unlikely to *CONTINUE* reading poetry if that's all that they think is happening in contemporary poetry.

(It needs to be "challenging" because if it was just enjoyable, then that reading-the-poem experience would be peers with other such enjoyable experiences. And as peers, would be unlikely to compete well -- e.g., "Yo! Would you rather go to a movie or buy that Ted Kooser book?!" Not to pick on Ted, but as a former national poet laureate, I'm sure he can weather the sting from Lil Ol' Moi.)

So the people I would be targeting with Galatea's Poetry Book Club are those unfamiliar with contemporary poetry but are intelligent people, often without much time to spare which has honed their focus on whatever they're focusing on at the moment, and generally aren't interested in "easy" experiences because, in general, they're not into easy experiences.

All that I'm saying may be too abstract, so let me give examples. These, off the top of my head, are the poets whose works I would serve up to newbie poetry readers:

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
Arthur Sze
John Yau

There's a reason I hightlight the above three poets. Their works are not typically categorized as "easy" and yet, as a newbie reader, I didn't find them not accessible. When I first read these poets' works (at age 35, totally new to contemporary poetry), I didn't know I was reading poets whose writings are supposed to be more difficult than many other poets'. What I did bring to the experience of reading them was curiosity. During my period as a newbie reader of contemporary poetry, I read a lot of so-called accessible verse. I enjoyed some, but here's the point: none of them would have caused me to keep returning to read contemporary poetry. These three poets did.

I think it's people like me (or me when I was a newbie poetry reader) who aren't being addressed enough by enough poetry promoters. And, anecdotally, it's because such poetry promoters are often poets themselves who get trapped into the kind of thinking with which I began this post -- that to attract new readers to poetry, you gotta make it easy for them. To which I say, Horse-Patooty.

So, I'm still too busy to set up this book club idea, but I will. I present this idea out there, though, because I do hope others beat me to it.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007


Over dinner last night, the hubby decided to explain why he had designed the hallway entry to the kitchen to be wider than usual.

Hubba hubba Hubby said that one of his clients now has most of my poetry books and has enjoyed reading them. Moreover, said client has a younger brother who just got a four-year scholarship to my old haunt, Columbia University, and he apparently has been reading through and loving my poetry books!

Well, preen. A million years later after I finished preening, I asked, what did that have to do with the kitchen entryway?

Hubby looked up from his beet salad and said, So your head can pass through it.

Very funny. And then I trotted happily away to put together a package of my own books to give to the future Columbia graduate. I like the idea of more of my books ending up on the campus where I used to wreak much enchanting havoc.

And which is also all to say, I currently have commitments for 37 new reviews for the 7th issue of Galatea Resurrects, when Issue No. 6 is barely out of the gate! Join the party, folks, by sending in your own engagements with poetry. Galatea Resurrects is not just for the poetry world but the world out there filled with people like my husband's client and his younger brother -- people who can be attuned to poetry and are just needing to be given a reason to be so, uh, tuned.

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Friday, May 25, 2007


Here's the beginning of a letter I just sent out:

Dear ______________,

Thank you very much for your interest. I very much appreciate your interest in my work and the extra effort you've taken to contact me.

I don't submit my poetry books for awards or contests because I don't believe that poetry is a contest. I believe poetry competitions are sometimes a necessary evil in terms of fundraising or promotion or both in a culture that is not particularly receptive to the art of poetry. I am fortunate enough not to depend on either recognition or its awards, monetary or otherwise, even as I do not judge others for participating in this structure since, for some poets, it affects their ability to earn a livelihood. As my good friend Philip Lamantia (bless his heart) once said, and with which I very much agree, "I don't judge how poets earn their money."

I paused in the writing there and sat on moi ass for a while, snorting chuckles at air. Then Philip poked his head through the clouds down at me and called me silly. Well, silly me...and cocktail hour hasn't even started!

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Well, that sucked. Just finished bawling in the kitchen where I sat at the table proofing the proof for the book I wrote "after" Dad's death. The dawgs looked at me confused...

I hadn't read my manuscript since I sent it to the designer four months ago. So, with that distance, I opened the proof with the idea of reading it as not its author but as any other book reader.

I bawled.

So that's good, I suppose, in terms of that the manuscript retained its power.

But it's bad because...there's a reason I bawled.

Meanwhile, the designer asked for some family photos in case it helps her with design. I don't know if she'll use this one, but I thought I'll blog it. Because it's me and Dad before I became a "Prodigal Daughter." I was, perhaps, thirteen:

Look how happy we were. The novelist Jonathan Carroll once said, "...our youth is where the only gods we ever created live." I guess it's true -- things got rocky after age 13. But the love was undeniable during the early formative years, and became the bedrock for the Prodigal Daughter's eventual return.

Hence, I wrote a book that made me bawl...

...and made the book designer bawl...

...and may it also, someday, reach forth to your eyes and pluck out blooded pearls.


Thursday, May 24, 2007


The vowel is delibately misspelled because I think a certain pastor is reading moi blog (I don't know why; it's not necessarily good for your digestion, Reverend). In any event, fickity-fick at what I discovered yesterday:

The media mail rate for mailing out the typical poetry book has gone up 43%. If my Meritage Press and other poetic bidness were run as real businesses instead of as exemplars of the fickity-fick Gift Economy, I'd be filing for bankruptcy now.

So all that this former economist (yah, I've been that, too) can say is:



Nor do you need to be a fickity-fick economist to know that money is fungible. So the dog poop icing on this matter is that the increased postal revenues aren't necessarily to prop up the inefficient U.S. postal system. It's de facto to also continue financing that fucking war in Iraq masterminded by one of the most incompetent Commanders ever to piss in the White House. What a fickity-fick fucking mess.

Well now, she's in a mood, ain't she...a flying effin mood.

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Dear Poetry Lover,
As a result of some last minute refinement of the project, DAYS POEM by Allen Bramhall has further plumped up its page count. Volume I is now 510 pages, vs the original 494 pages; Volume II went up by one more page to 442 pages. As these refinements distracted as from further promoting the project, Meritage Press is pleased to re-release its RELEASE OFFER, described below, with a new deadline for sending orders:


A Two-Volume Poetry Collection by Allen Bramhall
510 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9709-1798-0
Price: $28.00

442 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9709-1799-7
Price: $28.00

Meritage Press is delighted to announce a RELEASE SPECIAL OFFER for a unique and ambitious two-volume collection by Allen Bramhall: DAYS POEM. Mr. Bramhall describes his project with:

"Begun casually, the writing of Days Poem quickly grew into a daily necessity to write, even to plug onward. In this way, it resembles a journal or novel, tho it claims neither genre as its own. It started with an idea of writing large and embracing extent. It settled (and unsettled) itself within the compelling philosophical argument that it is what it is. The thrill of relentlessness and perseverance pushed it until, you know, it came to an end. As the writer of these pages, I wanted to play with hobos, and bears, and Tarzan & Jane, and Walden Pond, and all the words in between. I wanted a little amazement in every day."

BIO: Allen Bramhall was born by the banks of the Concord River in 1952 and has lived in Massachusetts ever since. He was educated at Franconia College and Lesley University, and in non-academic places as well. / Simple Theory / (Potes & Poets Press) was his first book. He maintains a blog called Tributary (, and a life with Beth and Erin.

To celebrate the release of Days Poem, Meritage Press is pleased to offer the following SPECIAL OFFER:

To order a single volume, a 20% discount and free shipping/handling (about a $3.00 value) for a single-volume price of $22.40

To order both volumes, a 25% discount and free shipping handling for a 2-volume price of $42.00

This offer will be good through June 30, 2007...and is expected to be the least expensive rate for purchasing the book(s). Please send checks made out to "Meritage Press" and mail to

Eileen Tabios
Meritage Press
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Rd.
St. Helena, CA 94574

This offer is good throughout the United States; Meritage Press will take international orders but will have to adjust shipping/handling costs. If you wish to place an international order, or have any other queries, please email

Beyond the expiry of this RELEASE OFFER, Days Poem will be available through the publisher (email or you can order through Meritage Press' Lulu account at:

Days Poem, Vol 1:

Days Poem, Vol 2:


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Woot! Woke up to see the e-mailed pdf of my proof for The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes, forthcoming from Marsh Hawk Press (MHP) this fall! (I was expecting it, which was why I rushed to release Galatea Resurrects #6 earlier this week.)

And The Light is not a 504-page BRICK (I join you in your sigh of relief), but it is... [drum roll]

               376 pages

Which is to say, what I most appreciate about MHP is how it's a publisher that goes the distance required by moi poetry. 376 pages! And that's after printing a prior book of 504 pages! So thank you, Big Bird. You are Big!

Having said that, I also, ahem, had to promise MHP I wouldn't release a book in 2008. MHP doesn't preclude its authors from publishing with other presses, but I guess they had to put their wing down on Moi who, since I began publishing a poetry book in the U.S. in 2002, then released another book in 2004, followed by 2 books each in 2005, 2006 and 2007. I guess I understand MHP's concern that my Fall book have a chance to breathe, and so accommodated their wish.

Plus, I know I blathered here before but I'm all a-purring over it -- the Fall book comes in a hardback edition, as well as a limited edition with drawing (the latter will only cost you $750 each. A bargain!)

But hey, you publishers, you could offer a book deal in 2009 because that'd allow you to promote me as an author with the tag:
"Here's Eileen Tabios' first book in....uh, over a year!"

Wouldn't that be a hot pitch?! It'd get you at least 2 extra book sales, guaranteed!

Meanwhile, dear MHP, we didn't discuss constraining ... "chaps".... heee.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Hmm. Over at the still fresh-smelling Galatea Resurrects #6, the comment on my favorite COLLECTED POEMS discovery to date, In A Dybbuk's Raincoat by Bert Meyers, may be interesting as regards poetic (im)mortality: click HERE for the referenced Q&A with Barry Schwabsky.

Meanwhile, several of my books -- along with other Filipino authors -- had been donated to the Sonoma State University. These pictures -- thank you, Leny -- are simply lovely. And I'm just so moved to see moi babies -- Reproductions here, ENGLISH there, Punctuations here, Menage A Trois there, et al -- being clasped in those students' eager loving hands. I tell ya with a sniffle: feeds a poet's soul all the time!

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Apparently, people are talking about me. [Sip from golden chalice the 1989 Remelluri Gran Reserva Rioja -- yum.] In this case, said chatter is a good thing if it means that Galatea Resurrects helps encourage the formation of a new poetry review online journal, in this case the Latino Poetry Review that I take it would be edited by Francisco Aragon. All this is good. Good.

Sip...In Vino, Veritas...


Monday, May 21, 2007


Moi am so purrrr-ed to announce the release of Galatea Resurrects #6 (A Poetry Engagement).

Galatea is an all-volunteer operation, so THANK YOU so much to the volunteer reviewers!

For convenience, GR #6's Table of Contents is replicated below.

Meanwhile, information on sending review copies and submitting reviews is available in Galatea's Purse. Review submission deadline for the next issue is Aug. 5, 2007. (Please note, too, our special section "From Offline to Online" which reprints poetry reviews first published by print magazines or now-defunct websites so that they are not yet online.)

Happy Reading,
Eileen Tabios


By Eileen Tabios

Brenda Iijima reviews CONCORDANCE by Mei-mei Berssenbruge with art by Kiki Smith

J.O. LeClerc reviews LUNCH POEMS by Frank O'Hara

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews INSTAN by Cecilia Vicuna

Monica McFawn reviews CHANCE by Daniel Becker

James Owens reviews BORN IN UTOPIA: AN ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ROMANIAN POETRY, Edited by Carmen Firan and Paul Doru Mugur with Edward Foster

Tim Peterson reviews NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY by Thomas Fink

Andrea Baker reviews NECESSARY STRANGER by Graham Foust


Tyrone Williams reviews NEGATIVITY by Jocelyn Saidenberg

Ivy Alvarez reviews UNBOUND & BRANDED by Christine Stewart-Nuñez


Chris Pusateri reviews PICTURE OF THE BASKET by Sarah Mangold and NEW COURIERS by Dana Ward

Eileen Tabios—and Denise Levertov—review IN A DYBBUK’S RAINCOAT: COLLECTED POEMS BY BERT MEYERS Edited by Morton Marcus and Daniel Meyers

Patrick James Dunagan reviews ABSURD GOOD NEWS by Julien Poirier

William Allegrezza reviews EMPTIED OF ALL SHIPS by Stacy Szymaszek

Alexander Dickow reviews THE BIRD HOVERER by Aaron Belz

Thomas Fink reviews I'M THE MAN WHO LOVES YOU by Amy King

Lisa Factora-Borders reviews A SLICE OF CHERRY PIE Edited by Ivy Alvarez


Eileen Tabios reviews WALKING THEORY by Stephen Vincent

Celia Homesley reviews ORIGINAL GREEN by Patricia Carlin

Eileen Tabios reviews THE IMMACULATE AUTOPSY by Todd Melicker

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews BRAIDED RIVER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 1965-2005 and GUESTS OF SPACE by Anselm Hollo

William Allegrezza reviews WATCHWORD by William Fuller

Monica Fawn reviews BETWEEN THE ROOM AND THE CITY by Erica Bernheim

Eileen Tabios reviews FORTY-FIVE by Frieda Hughes

Laurel Johnson reviews SKIRT FULL OF BLACK by Sun Yung Shin

Pamela Hart reviews CASE SENSITIVE by Kate Greenstreet

Eileen Tabios reviews THE JUROR by George Dawes Green

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews A STRANGE ARRANGEMENT: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by C.J. Allen


Derek Motion reviews PEEL ME A ZIBIBBO by Pam Brown

Ernesto Priego reviews MORTAL by Ivy Alvarez

Jeannine Hall Gailey reviews MORTAL by Ivy Alvarez

Eileen Tabios reviews WHAT'S THE MATTER by Jordan Stempleman


Eileen Tabios reviews LITTLE WAR MACHINE by M Sarki

Kristin Berkey-Abbott reviews BECOMING THE VILLAINESS by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Ivy Alvarez reviews from A BANNER YEAR by Kate Colby

Eileen Tabios reviews PARTS OF THE JOURNAL: NIGHT by Richard Lopez

Julie R. Enszer reviews FALLING INTO VELAZQUEZ by Mary Kaiser

William A. Sylvester reviews SOMEHOW by Burt Kimmelman

Eileen Tabios reviews POETRY DAILY ESSENTIALS 2007 Edited by Diane Boller and Don Selby

Julie R. Enszer reviews THE GREAT CANOPY by Paula Goldman

Fionna Donney Simmonds reviews THE TAR PIT DIATOMS by Sandra Simonds, OTAGES by John Bloomberg-Rissman, and ISHMAEL AMONG THE BUSHES by William Allegrezza

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor reviews KOOL LOGIC: LA LOGICA KOOL by Urayoan Noel

Laurel Johnson reviews WHITHER NONSTOPPING by Harriet Zinnes

Mark Young reviews THE BEAUTIFUL DAYS by A.B. Spellman

Sandy McIntosh reviews SAINTS OF HYSTERIA, A HALF-CENTURY OF COLLABORATIVE AMERICAN POETRY, Edited by Denise Duhamel, Maureen Seaton, and David Trinidad

Appendix Article to Review of SAINTS OF HYSTERIA: “Filmmaking with Norman Mailer and Ilya Bolotowsky” by Sandy McIntosh

Nicholas Manning on "A Worldly Country by Young Up-And-Comer John Ashbery"

Addie Tsai on “’The Hairy Caterpillar’: An Exploration of Image”

Joyelle McSweeney reviews LILYFOIL + 3 and CHANTRY by Elizabeth Treadwell

Craig Perez reviews composite. diplomacy. by Padcha Tuntha-Obas

Thomas Fink reviews THE AFTER-DEATH HISTORY OF MY MOTHER by Sandy McIntosh

Eileen Tabios reviews CORNUCOPIA by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen



Sunday, May 20, 2007


If all goes as planned, the new issue of Galatea Resurrects will debut ... tomorrow! Watch here for details!

Two things came up as I was putting this puppy to bed:

1) Since I've never edited a poetry review journal before, I'm not quite clear on the protocol on the review copies sent to reviewers who then are unable to come through with a review. Perhaps publishers just assume that sending out a review copy is just to risk it not getting reviewed AND losing that copy. But what I would like to gently request, Oh Peep, is that: Lissen -- you're not gonna get any grief from me if you can't come through with a review. S__ happens, as they say. But I would dearly love to get back the review copies of any books you can't review after all. As you might notice, most of these review copies are put out by smaller presses and I can assure you that they're not in a good financial position to be able to give out tons of review copies. (Of course, if you didn't come through this time, you can still keep the review copy if you want to do a review for the next issue!) And of course, if you did do a review, you can keep the book!

2) I didn't expect the popularity of Galatea Resurrects (wait till you see next issue!). Which is to say, in the beginning, I'd created a list of books from what inventory I have to offer as "payment" to Galatea's reviewers. Well, that list is pretty much picked over as, quite often (and thank you very much), some of the same reviewers keep reviewing for the next issue. Now, Andrea Baker had been kind enough to donate four copies of her fabulous book LIKE WIND LOVES A WINDOW for GR's reviewers (as of this writing, 3 were swiftly snatched up). Thank you, Andrea! And so I thought I'd raise the possibility to poets/publishers -- if you have a few books you can spare for this purpose, at least you will know that the readers are the "right audience" as they're the type to be reviewing poetry in the first place. If interested in donating some books, let me know at

Woof, Smooches, and Thank you for listening...


Saturday, May 19, 2007


Summer this year means being on the receiving end of the 2007 series of Dusie chaps. This is from that wonderfully innovative melding of 21st century technology, ecopoetics and arts-and-crafts poetry series published by Susana Gardner. To wit, a group of poets -- nearly 70 this year -- spanning the globe agree to create chaps which will be published online this summer. But the poets also create limited version print versions of their chaps (in my case, it's THE SINGER And Others).

So far, I've received chaps from Sawako Nakayasu, Raymond Farr, Anne Boyer and Anne Heide...and their print manifestations have all been different. What a great idea...and I look forward to more as the summer unfolds.

Meanwhile, here's my latest Relished List of W(h)ines:


AN INSTANT OF FLIGHT, poems by Anne Heidi

FALSELY GOETHE, poems by Mark Young (very witty, often hilarious)

CINEPHRASTICS by Kathleen Ossip

TELEGRAPH, poems by Kaya Oakes

FALLING INTO VELAZQUEZ, poems by Mary Kaiser

NEVER CRY WOOF, poems by Shafer Hall w/ illustrations by Amanda Burnham

MORE WINNOWED FRAGMENTS, poems by Simon Pettet

COMBING THE WAVES, poems by Rochelle Ratner

PRACTICING TO BE A WOMAN, poems by Rochelle Ratner

QUARRY, poems by Rochelle Ratner


THE PARAGON, poems by Kathrine Varnes

HEAVEN, poems by Jill Alexander Essbaum

EAGLE POND, memoir with poems by Donald Hall

SHADOW LAWS, novel by Jim Michael Hanson

THE MARK OF THE ASSASSIN, novel by Daniel Silva

1982 Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste
1990 Ch. Figeac
1989 Ch. Cantemerle
1993 St. Francis Old Vines zinfandel Sonoma Valley
2003 Dutch Henry chardonnay
2005 Roundhill chardonnay (viz Hurley's house white)
2003 Rausan Despagne
2001 Artadi Pagos Viejos Rioja
1996 Summerfield shiraz
2005 Dutch Henry zinfandel Rutherford
1994 Finca Dofi
Hungarian Tokaji Tasting @ Jardiniere
2000 Disznoko Tokaji Aszu "4 Puttonyos"
1999 Oremus Tokaji Aszu "5 Puttonyos" [best among the three, though that may be because the Royal Tokaji, below, was from a bottle that seemed to have been open for a while]
1996 Royal Tokaji Company "Szt. Tamas - 6 Puttonyos"

Friday, May 18, 2007


CASHIER [as he rings up my purchases]: It's really unusual for a customer to come up and buy three poetry books.

MOI: Well, they were on sale.

[Laughter; venue is a used bookstore.]

MOI AGAIN: Their covers match the sofa.

[More laughter.]

Moi is such card.


Thursday, May 17, 2007


Unbelievable that I'm part of "New Media", by which I mean this announcement below from Nicholas Manning, founder of one of those Wave of the Future gizmos, The Continental Review. Here's the irony from this Luddite, I can't access You Tube as, on the mountain, I'm still on Dial Up. So I know it exists (and undoubtedly making me look even fatter than I am). Perhaps someday, and hopefully this summer, Broadband service will come to the mountain. Until then, I'll take your word that I'm blathering here:

Dear Poets, Friends, Colleagues,

I am writing to tell you about the launch of the first exclusively video-only forum for contemporary poetry and poetics on the web, The Continental Review. The site, which has just gone live over at, is a continuously updated collection of video readings, video reviews and video interviews of and about contemporary poetry and poetics. For the launch, we are lucky enough to be featuring videos by such extraordinary poets as:

Linh Dinh
Noah Eli Gordon
Eileen Tabios
Tom Beckett
Chris Vitiello
Jonathan Leon
Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Allyssa Wolf

It is our hope that The Continental Review, with its videos available simultaneously on the website and via YouTube, signals a new approach in the communication and reception of contemporary poetry and poetics by means of new media.

I hope you’ll find the site interesting, and I look forward to your feedback, as well as your participation.


Nicholas Manning
Editor, The Continental Review
27 rue Morand 75011 Paris France


THANKS to Rhett Pascual and Michelle Bautista for video-ing me and then sending such over to Paris. I don't do anything more sophisticated than tapping the On-Off Button without checking in with Michelle and company! Hijo and Hija, Agyamanak!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


THE LIGHT SANG AS IT LEFT YOUR EYES is my Fall book to be released by Marsh Hawk Press -- this is the book I wrote "After" my father's death. Well, the book designer emailed today to say that the sections about my father had her crying. This is a designer who reads the text closely to shape her designs...

One could say that her tears attest to the book's effectiveness.

Or, I could say that my eyes suddenly dampened at reading her wish that I never had to write that book.

The book, as some of my collaborators know, sometimes becomes the poet's body.

Once, I was a toddler swinging bare legs over my father's knee. Now, I am this book.

To become a book is to die. I miss Daddy, and I am dying...


UPDATE: This is such a beautiful response by Ernesto Priego that I'm not just pointing you to the LINK but replicating it here, the blog my only surviving file cabinet (and thanks to Ernesto for such succoring words):

Unmixed Purity (Another Paradox)
May 17th, 2007

There is a degree of pain on reaching which we lose the world. But afterwards peace comes. And if the paroxysm returns, so does the peace which follow it. If we realize this, that very degree of pain turns into an expectation of peace, and as a result does not break our contact with the world.
[from Meaning of the Universe]

Poetry: impossible pain and joy. A poignant touch, nostalgia. Such is Provençal and English poetry. A joy which by reason of its unmixed purity hurts, a pain which by reason of its unmixed purity brings peace.
[from Beauty]-Simone Weil

The poet’s paradox:

“To become a book is to die. I miss Daddy, and I am dying…”

To become a book is to live. There is only equilibrium in action by which woman recreates her own life through work, her life & that of those she loves. The experience of loss forces us to change the relationship between our bodies and the world: “let the whole universe be for me, in relation to my body, what the stick of a blind man is in relation to his hand.” An apprenticeship is, indeed, necessary. “Getting hurt: this is the trade entering into the body”. The trade of the poet enters the body through pain: the poet’s trade is to turn her life, her body and soul and soul and body, into book. The poet cannot become book without affliction. But this becoming book of the poet is nothing but the human condition par excellance, achieved through skill and apprenticeship, through effort and work. “A transference of the consciousness into an object other than the body itself”: the book. The poet becomes book to detach herself from a loved one only to find that she has attached herself to the whole universe. The individual I of personal affliction becomes an universal I: that’s why someone else can cry by reading your book, touching your body, feeling the whole universe enter into the body: “the seasons, the sun, the stars.” The poet becomes book in an attempt to find an equilibrium between herself and the surrounding forces of nature. “Truth is on the side of death”: the poet endures the void, experiences it, struggles and works with it. Truth is beauty and beauty is truth: the poet becomes the book that becomes beauty by accepting death. Thus, to become a book is, indeed, to die, in present continuous, we are all dying, right now, as I write this and as you read this, yes, but the poet’s paradox (the human being’s paradox) is precisely this: to become a book is to live. To stop being the singular body to become a part of the whole. To communicate experience, to do the cosmic dance with the fleeting stars. To become a book is to live. We miss the absent ones, yes, but we are living: that is the beginning of writing.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Thirteen new oak trees got delivered today. Yah -- I'm implanting green hair on the mountain's bald spots. Someone's gotta do it.

Which also will explain why Galatea Resurrects' next issue will come out next week, not this week as I'd planned. Some of you think I just sit on my hair blathering out over the mountain but, yah, I actually do non-virtual stuff. That delayed our beloved Galatea Resurrects this week because Moi am busy with, and you've heard about them here before,


crawling all over the mountain. And this time, they've come with


If you didn't know, I started construction last month and look to be in said construction until early next year. What am I constructing? you nosy ones ask?


I would post an image on what they'd be holding up, but the hubby won't let me because the neighbors might google and get all terrified. Like, this is still America, ain't it? Can't I construct a rotisserie to match my chicken coop if I wanna?

What was I blathering about again? Oh yeah, Galatea Resurrects will be released next week. And it will also be


but enchantingly so, not like the Big Burly Man who, after hopping off his Big Burly Tractor, grinned BIG-ly and BURLY-ly at Moi to announce:

               I DIG HOLES.

Ooooh boy. I wonder how often he's proclaimed that. But I laughed and applauded, of course. After all, he's got something not enough poets have. To wit, how many poets go around with a shit-eating grin on their mugs ecstatic because they so LOVE their *job*?


Personally, I got one stretching moi naturally crimson lovely lips. Now, it took me years to get here, but I got one. [INSERT BIG BURLY GRIN] You?

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Monday, May 14, 2007


So today, I mailed out the last set -- nine copies -- of my Dusie chap to poets who live in the U.S. I had tried but failed to mail them all out last week in order to avoid the rise in postal rates.

So, a copy of my chap sent within the U.S. under the old postal rate was $1.35. Under the new rate, it cost $1.81. When you multiply the difference by, say, 60 (the number this year of U.S.-residing poets in the Dusie kollektiv), that's a difference of $27.60 that I was trying to save. Since 9 chaps slipped past the increase in postal rates, I saved $23.46 by busting my ass these past few weeks trying to finish these chaps, each of which is hand-made, mind you.

But what I realized today is that, given the rise of gasoline costs, I probably spent more than $23.46 with the extra trips to the post office -- rather than if I had mailed them all at once after finishing all of them.

And that's the story of money in poetry, Peeps. Obviously, it sucks.

Speaking of money, $100 million and the Poetry Foundation can't hire a good headline-writer?! (I've written headlines during my first career as a journalist so I'm not just hoo-haa-ing here). I refer to Shanna Compton's article on poetry blogging HERE. Apparently, Shanna first titled her article "Hacking the Template: Poets as Open-Source Artists", which Poetry Foundation Editor(s) then rewrote to be "Just Get the Poems Out There".

Just Get the Poems Out There -- tell me, does that make you rush to read the article? I'd have bypassed it for sounding banal were I not alerted previously to what the article contained. At least there's a frisson in Shanna's title -- a little zing that tempts the curiosity,

C'mon Poetry Foundation: I appreciate you commissioning the article and running it. But how's about some imagination for a topic called "poetry"?

And next time, Bling-ridden People, send me your hundred million, Kapisch?

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Sunday, May 13, 2007


Well, that was a good day. Took the dawgs for a walk at a local vineyard. Got back home where the hubby made Moi some blueberry and blackberry pancakes.

Later, for dinner, the hubby grilled Cajun catfish and swordfish in plum sauce, onions and carrots...which we et with a bottle of '90 Figeac.

A good day. And the dinner toast? Summed up Moi life:
"Here's to Achilles' poop this morning. Solid and beautifully formed!"

And grateful Moi am indeed! Because as the t-shirt proclaims--I am

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Saturday, May 12, 2007


As Jean writes about the salubriousness of weeding, she remembers:

As I write this I am thinking of a certain room in Eileen’s house. A thoroughly bourgeoisie room, one might think; a beautiful room, with a crystal chandelier and a big bed…but dominated by a huge and mysterious painting of what could be a dog, but feels more like a wolf, on the run…(I don’t recall the name of the artist).

It's pink onyx, not crystal.

And I've had to move that dog-painting by Leonard Koscianski to the dining room in San Francisco -- to aid my guests' digestive processes....heeee. (If you click on prior link as well as this LINK (4th image down), you'll see a fetchingly rabid dawg face...)

Replacing it is a lyrical monotype by Michael Mazur....and also on that wall, since Jean's visit, is a black-and-white hay(na)ku painting by poet - painter Thomas Fink. One of his best paintings! Tom just gets better and better!

Art moves me...and sometimes, I move Art around...

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Friday, May 11, 2007


Shanna Compton's long-awaited (wink) article on blogging is up at Poetry Foundation!

Your Chatty Chatelaine is quoted on blogging generally, but I more like how the article links to the fabulous dialogue generated by Galatea Resurrects, whereby Nicholas Manning had reviewed Mark Lamoreaux's Night Season, and then Mark responded on his blog and then Nicholas responded back on his blog. Now that's a blogging discourse I wanna talk about!

And delighted to see that Shanna's inaugurated a new poetry publisher: Bloof Books! Congrats on that! The more the merrier!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Jean Vengua's PRAU, one of Meritage Press' 2007 titles and winner of the Filamore Tabios Memorial Poetry Prize, just got its first blurb -- from stellar poet Susan Schultz who also publishes Tinfish Press!

Jean Vengua is a poet of the typo, the missed step, the happy and unhappy accident; in short, she is a poet of linguistic and global migration. Prau moves its reader from the Philippines to the Bay Area and back, “always mining past present tenses.” In her aptly titled prose poem, “Momentum,” Vengua links Gustav Mahler, her mother, Buffalo Soldiers, Marie Curie, Roberto Matta, and Jose Rizal in a dance of histories real and imagined. The momentum of her writing brings together what is otherwise ripped asunder: “That is to make beautiful where the dissonance begins to tear.”
--Susan M. Schultz, Editor, Tinfish Press

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I thought Poet's Bookshelf: Contemporary Poets on Books That Shaped Their Art to be a refreshing addition to the books which present poets discussing what's facilitated their work. You can click on the link to see the background to this project by editor Peter Davis -- essentially, Peter asks poets to list books that have been most "essential" to poets in terms of their poetry.

I was honored to be asked to participate in their second volume. Since I just finished my contribution, I (heh) naturally thought to blog it! If you compare my essay below to another available online, Reginald Shepherd's contribution, you can see a huge difference in response -- which hopefully means that Volume 2 will be exciting to read! For convenience, I'll list here Reginald Shepherd's List so you can compare it to mine below:

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems
Wallace Stevens, Collected Poems
Hart Crane, White Buildings
Louise Bogan, The Blue Estuaries
James Wright, Collected Poems
Marilyn Hacker, Presentation Piece
W.H. Auden, The English Auden
Louise Glück, Descending Figure
Jean Valentine, The Messenger
Laura Mullen, The Surface
Jorie Graham, The End of Beauty

Anyway, here's the FIRST DRAFT of my essay, which begins with my list:

The Bible
Homer's Odyssey and Iliad
The United States of Jasper Johns by John Yau
Radiant Silhouette: New & Selected Works 1974-1988 by John Yau
Pack Rat Sieve, Sphericity, Endocrinology and Four-Year-Old Girl by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
Archipelago by Arthur Sze
The Ancient View of Greek Art by J.J. Pollitt
The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan
The Selected Letters of Richard Kerouac
The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems by Mina Loy, Edited by Roger L. Conover
Wine Buyer's Guide by Richard Parker

My way of making poems has been influenced more by the visual arts than it has been by literary works. I don't mean specific art works (though that has happened) so much as visual arts techniques or concepts. For examples, cubism and abstract expressionism taught me to write in ways that been described by such literary terms as disjunctive, elliptical, experimental--I note this because others have located my work among literary categories (sometimes to my amusement) despite the inspirations' non-literary nature. I also translated the painterly technique of scumbling to create poems, such as what mostly comprise my collections Dredging For Atlantis (Otoliths, 2006) and THE SINGER And Others (Dusie, 2007). And the way (some) sculpture and installation art manifest dimension has facilitated my interest in writing poems that can be read forward, backward, left to right or right to left, as exemplified by poems in The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I (xPress(ed), 2006). I've relied mostly on another art form to teach me the form of (my) poetry as it facilitated my attempts to make poems that surprise me and, hopefully, their readers.

On one of the Poetics Listserves in which I participate, we once discussed multidiscilinary/multi-genre approaches. Someone opined that she'd always felt it natural to take such an approach. But with the advent of MFA programs where such is not the norm, this poet observed, It's as if the multidisciplinary point-of-view is something unusual when she felt it as a normal practice. "Normal" is subjective, of course, but I think I understand--and agree--with what this poet observed. So, here I am in a contemporary poetry world where I've observed much anxiety over (literary/poetic) lineage--and I'm suggesting that poetry books actually have played a small role in my development as a poet.

This doesn't mean that I don't pay much attention to others' poems. I read a lot of poems. I enjoy a lot of poems. But the distinct majority has not offered something I can use in the making of my own poems--this is okay with me as I don't necessarily look to other poets to show me how I might make my poems, though when they do I am grateful. And a few have. Thus, my list of books that have shaped my art, can still include some poetry books. I emphasize that I don't consider this to be a "best of" or even "most loved" list of poetry books; these are books that affected my making of poems in some significant (to me) manner and whose influences I can specify.

Not necessarily identifiable--and so they are not on my list--are the effects of simply loving certain poems. But I’m sure Love’s influence exists and so I must note the importance for me of having read poems by John Donne, Odysseus Elytis, Federico Garcia Lorca, Eric Gamalinda, Pablo Neruda, Jose Garcia Villa, Pablo Neruda, Rainer Maria Rilke, and so many more. The existence of company encourages--and I highlight, too, the names of three Filipina women poets to whom I dedicated my first U.S. poetry collection, Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (Marsh Hawk Press, 2002): Leona Florentino (1849-1884), Magdalena Jalandoni (1891-1978) and Angela Manalang Gloria (1907-1996). (I must insert this parenthetical to admit, however, that arguably my most loved poetry book is something I read before I began writing poems: Daniel Mark Epstein’s Young Men’s Gold which is my contribution to the frequently-embarassing category of people (ab)using poetry for romantic entanglements. Ah, youth…!)

Not included in my list, but certainly influential to its formation, is my book BLACK LIGHTNING: Poetry in Progress (Asian American Writers Workshop, 1998). I cite this book--titled after an Arthur Sze poem of the same name--as it's about 14 other Asian American poets' ways of writing a poem(s). Since BLACK LIGHTNING was researched and written during my first two years as a poet, its impact was significant. As someone who switched careers (from international banking to poetry), I began writing poems at age 35. To begin at age 35 meant, among other things, this pressure to "catch up" with my peers. As someone who's not formally studied poetry, I wanted as quickly as possible to know what this poetry thing is supposed to be about, and BLACK LIGHTNING offered me the chance to interview poets in a unique way. The poets gave me drafts of a poem leading to the poem's "final draft." I looked over the drafts and then began interviewing them about their processes, a procedure that went from the very obvious questions (e.g., why did you break the line there, change that word, switch from a "the" to "a" or vice-versa, and so on) to deeper poetics underlying their works.

BLACK LIGHTNING exposed me to a variety of poetic styles and from its fourteen poets, I came to read and list above the books of John Yau, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and Arthur Sze. As a newbie poet, I felt most empathy with these three poets' ways of doing poems. Keeping company with their poems facilitated my ways to write poems that, good or bad, are (hopefully) not predictable because:

John Yau's poems facilitated my explorations of how to use words in ways that transcend their dictionary-offered meanings as well as the corruption of such meanings. I first stumbled across John Yau's poems through the American Poetry Review which published his poem, "Conversation at Midnight." I fell in love with that poem, and from reading it then went looking for all his books, eventually to read all of them several times. He's the only poet who's given me the experience of reading a few poems in a journal which then compelled me to search out other works. (I share this partly because--this is a type of effect desired by poets, isn’t it, in terms of reception to our poetry?)

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge's poems facilitated my exploration of air and the swoon in language.

Arthur Sze's poems facilitated my exploration of how ultimately to engender harmony from text fragments that deliberately had been broken.

My (simplistic) summaries of these three poets' influences point to my disinterest, as a younger poet, in writing poems reliant on linear narratives--a concern that relates to the history of English in my birthland, the Philippines (I was ten years old when I immigrated to the United States). When I began writing poems, I preferred poems where I wasn't communicating something specific because the spread of English as a communications tool in the Philippines was one means through which the United States solidified its colonial rule of the Philippines in the 20th century. This notion of giving up authorial control was deliberate on my part as I considered it, metaphorically, to be the opposite of colonialism. These are ideas reflected in much of my early work (nowadays, I am not so invested in that particular political subtext--I welcome linear narrative as still a better alternative to the silencing of what must be communicated through a poem).

I cite another poet Richard Brautigan for his novel The HawkLine Monster because one of its characters, Cameron, gave me one of the seeds for a new poetic form: the hay(na)ku. The basic hay(na)ku is a tercet comprised of a one-word line, two-word line, then three-word line. The counting was inspired by Brautigan's character: "Cameron was a counter. He vomited nineteen times to San Francisco. He liked to count everything."

From the moment I read about Cameron, I began a Counting Journal where I tried to do the same thing-keep track of anything I could count as my days unfolded. The journal would come to reference The Selected Letters of Jack Kerouac where Kerouac is quoted as saying, "I think American haikus should never have more than three words in a line."

Both Brautigan and Kerouac's thoughts combined to compel me to concoct a "Pinoy Haiku form ("Pinoy" is short for "Filipino"). The form would come to be named "hay(na)ku" at the suggestion of poet Vince Gotera. Vince, together with Nick Carbo, co-founded the "Flips" Listserve for Filipino writers and/or those interested in Filipino literature. While conceptualizing the hay(na)ku, I had shared much of my thoughts with Flips members. The name references the Filipino exclamation "Hay naku!" which is used in a vareity of situations in the same way the English "Oh!" is interjected.

I cite The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems by Mina Loy because these poems were so powerful for me that I wanted to write my own poems “after” them, then thought to do so by a translation of the scumbling technique into writing. Merriam-Webster defines “scumble” as partly “to make (as color or a painting) less brilliant by covering with a thin coat of opaque or semiopaque color.” In translating this technique, I sought to make poems with heightened evocativeness. The first text I scumbled was Derek Walcott’s THE BOUNTY, which generated one poem. Mina Loy’s words generated enough poems to create the bulk of a poetry collection.

Given the visual arts providing the scaffolding to much of my poems, it makes sense that two art books would be on my list of influences. The first is the brilliant art monograph The United States of Jasper Johns by John Yau, an art critic as well as being a poet. I consider my poetics practice as partly a means of maximizing lucidity; thus, how one looks at visual arts is of great relevance. I have learned much from reading John Yau's criticism; in a way, his art criticism encouraged me, too, to write on the visual arts until I even released a book of art essays, accompanied of course by poems, entitled My Romance (Giraffe Books, Quezon City, Philippines).

Another influential art book is THE ANCIENT VIEW OF GREEK ART by Jerome Pollit. Dr. Pollit's influence can be gleaned from an excerpt in his book that I highlight as an epigraph in Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole:

"When a term like symmetria is used by a late antique rhetorician, one should probably not expect it to have the rigorous precision of meaning that it conveyed to a sculptor of the fifth century B.C. In general, it may be expected that the technical value of a particular term-that is, the value which is dependent upon the special knowledge and training of a particular group-will diminish as the size of the group using the term increases."

I cite Robert Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide for similar reasons as I cite The United States of Jasper Johns and THE ANCIENT VIEW OF GREEK ART. All three books show the importance of subjectivity even as they highlight, too, the importance of specificity in descriptive language. As regards Parker, I also happen to love wine, live in Napa Valley, and can produce as much horse patooty as any other oenophile when it comes to wine tasting notes.

I also cite Homer's Odyssey and Iliad. I add these books to the list not just for their texts but for their physical presence. As a child, I grew up in Baguio City, Philippines. Books were/are expensive in the Philippines. I remember a tall bookshelf in our living room that presented, among others, Homer's works. My mother made clear that the bookshelf, with its books, was something to be treasured. Thus, when I first read through Homer's words, I did so by not just trying to understand them but with a sense of touching the Sacred as I held his books--as I slowly, relishingly, turned their pages. The memory of each turn of the page is palpable--my fingertips itch as I, even now, feel the edges of those pages against my fingers as I write about our first encounters.

Ultimately, I cite The Bible. Specifically, John 1:1:

En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, kai theos en ho logos.

"In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God."

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Monday, May 07, 2007


I apologize to Los Angeles, but Achilles' health forces me to cancel my reading/participation this Saturday at the Asian Pacific American Book Festival. It's still an event worth attending; details HERE

For those of you who do love Moi, hence moi dogs, Achilles will be fine...but stress aggravates his bowel syndrome and the next 3 weeks are critical for ensuring he's stress-free while he switches over to a new protein in his diet....


To other literary matters, the next issue of Galatea Resurrects looks like it also will be HOT. Please note that this issue's deadline has been extended to this Friday, May 12.

And for those of you who'd like to share part of your summer with us, the next deadline for the subsequent issue will be Aug. 5, 2007. Check HERE for review copy information, a list that is frequently updated (as it was today) as review copies arrive on the foot of Galatea's mountain.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007


Today, I sneaked a peek at the fabulous cover to Ivy Alvarez's forthcoming A DOZEN POISON HAY(NA)KU, to come out from Big Game Books. I think this will be the fourth single-author hay(na)ku poetry collection (the first being Ernesto Priego's Not Even Dogs, the second being John Bloomberg-Rissman's OTAGES, and the third being Moi's flamenco hay(na)ku series in THE SINGER And Others). Very kewl, Ivy! I am looking forward to its release!

And John Bloomberg-Rissman also will issue the fifth single-author hay(na)ku collection later this Fall, NO SOUNDS from Leafe Press in the U.K.! If the hay(na)ku is a diasporic form, its book manifestations certainly reflect that! Also, proofs indicate that NO SOUNDS will weigh in at just over 200 pages, so it will become the most brick-ish hay(na)ku volume out there until someone else tops that record!

Love books, especially with a glass of wine. And speaking of which, here is my latest list of relished W(h)ines:

JOLOGRAPHY by Paolo Manalo (it's only May as I write this, but this book has just jumped to the top five of my anticipated year-end list of 2007 Most Relished Read Among Poetry Collections)

FRAGILE REPLACEMENTS (manuscript form) by William Allegrezza -- this super colleciton is a forthcoming Meritage Press title!

IN BOX, poem by Noah Eli Gordon


THE IMMACULATE AUTOPSY, poems by Todd Melicker

PARTS OF THE JOURNAL: NIGHT, poems by Richard Lopez

PUNK POEMS by John Burgess

A HALF-RED SEA, poems by Evie Shockley

SHADOW AND PRAISE, poems by Terry Wolverton

IN MY FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS, memoir by Sebastian Matthews

CUBE, architectural monograph by David Morrow Guthrie

THE JUROR, novel by George Dawes Green

THE WHISTLING SEASON, novel by Ivan Doig

PRODIGAL SUMMER, novel by Barbara Kingsolver

THE WRONG HOSTAGE, novel by Elizabeth Lowell


A COUNTRY AFFAIR, novel by Rebecca Shaw

2005 Robert Mondavi pinot noir
1990 Haut-Marbuzet
2005 Larkmead Vineyards sauvignon blanc
2004 Larkmead Firebelle
2003 Larkmead Vineyards "60/40" (favorite among Larkmead reds)
2004 Larkmead cabernet
2003 Larkmead Vineyards Salon
1995 Clos de L'Obac Priorat
2005 Oriri Swift The Prisoner
1994 Taylor's Fladgate
1992 Ravenswood Pickberry
2003 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1994 Artadi Vina El Pison Reserva
1996 Trevor Jones "Wild Witch"
2003 Bond St. Eden

2005 Travigne House chardonnay

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Saturday, May 05, 2007


Subject to reproduction constraints, here's my monthly pick(s) for best image(s) in Art Forum, in this case the April 2007 issue:

--for most effective photograph, Mitch Epstein (available viz an ad on P. 82)

--for most effective painting, Brenda Zlamany (available viz an ad on a page I'm too lazy to figure out for you coz it's in the midst of many pages of ads...). I've seen Brenda's work before -- it's nice to see her brushwork get better and better over time.

I do this exercise to let off steam because, um, I won't allow myself to think this way in poetry. I share it with you because if you must know, some ears can benefit from Moi's eyes...

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Friday, May 04, 2007


Amy King, the new Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, nota benes on Bruna Mori's Derive; click on excerpt for the entirety of Amy's (May 4) post's carefully crafted violence:

Bruna Mori is a little bit pleasant to look at. Her poems are a little bit pleasant to look at too. What’s the inverse of exaggeration? A diminishment? The previous statements are diminishments. Whatever you think of these proclamations, the poems in Bruna Mori’s most recent book, Dérive (Meritage Press), act in opposition to such inversions: they focus down on the delicate and spotlight the potentials of vision, vision as it is tied to thought and swollen with time’s constant birthing departure, in symbiotic unison.

Have you gotten your copy yet?



So, once I said -- as far back as this April 2005 interview -- that I wanted my BRICK to be used as a cooking tool (curing gravlax) as Moi believes poetry belongs outside the library. I wasn't joking, you know. And so when I discovered relatively recently that Geoffrey Gatza is a CHEF(!), I naturally sent a copy of said BRICK over -- wrapped in tinfoil to be all ready to squat on the salmon!

And you know what Geoffrey -- known as well to y'all, I'm sure, as proprietor of BlazeVox Books -- said? The poet-chef sez, He was forced to read the poetry (all 504 pages?! sorry Geoffrey!) since he already had "a nice Harold Bloom anthology of English poetry that works well [as a gravlax brick]" and "a nice set of Carl Dennis books for [his] smoker."

Moi am highly amused.

Well, let me spout some Finnish since Moi just loves those Radiant, oh so Radiant Finns: Oh, Moi just Loves that Graavilohi ...

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Thursday, May 03, 2007


A poem-homage I wrote for Gura Michelle Bautista in her capacity as my kali (martial arts) teacher is part of this new anthology, CHEERS TO MUSES. If you check the MUSE-ing link, there are samples from this unique anthology (paying homage to a diverse group of spirits -- from Yoko Ono to...Michelle!), as well as information on art exhibits and literary readings open to the public. (And surely you wanna check out Michelle's Kali's Blade to see the connection between martial arts and poetry...!)

So: Cheers! the Chatty One cheerfully notes as she goes offline towards...the wine cellar.

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I sure appreciate Richard Lopez for reading PINOY POETICS and presenting a discussion about it in an unexpected (to me) but certainly apt context!

I'm always happy to see discussions re PINOY POETICS. I think it's an important project (it's the primary reason I created Meritage Press in the first place), but I, as its one-peep publisher, am always concerned I don't have the resources to do enough spreading the word about it. Anyway, please do check out this historically-significant project that's a perfect teaching text and important to poetry lovers and distributed viz SPD!

And speaking of Filipino poetry, more celebration of diversity HERE (thanks to moi New York publisher)!

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Speaking of numbers, a Chicago bookstore sent me an order for Allen Bramhall's forthcoming, two-volume DAYS POEM, confirming it will pay $42 for each volume. The animals raised their fur on the mountain as I felt compelled to keeeeeeeeeen for five minutes, before correcting that bookstore's purchase order to say -- Actually, it's $42 for BOTH volumes. You must understand that for me to lose that rare animal in (my) poetry publishing known as *100%-plus profit margin* is .... keen-worthy. (And a reminder, too, that the special PRE-RELEASE OFFER for Allen's book expires at the end of this month.) Allen Bramhall, btw, is of course Boston's new Poet Laureate!

I began this week working to put out the next issue of Galatea Resurrects. The next issue is one where I stayed relatively silent in soliciting reviews. And so I'm amazed that, as of this writing, I have commitments for 53 new reviews! Talk about a project that swiftly generated its own momentum -- way above and beyond my initial hope to get at least 5 reviews per issue! Here's the latest stat round-up for the Metaphor Who Leapt Offa Her Pedestal:

Issue 1: 27 new reviews

Issue 2: 39 new reviews (one project was reviewed twice by different reviewers)

Issue 3: 49 new reviews (two projects were each reviewed twice by different reviewers)

Issue 4: 61 new reviews (one project was reviewed thrice, and three projects were each reviewed twice by different reviewers)

Issue 5: 56 (four projects were each reviewed twice)

Forthcoming Issue 6: 53 new reviews (preliminary)

I can tell ya that each issue receives more hits than my personal blog -- and we all know this chatty blog has 9 billion peeps. Amazing...and just wonderful!

So to remind, the deadline for sending over reviews for the next issue was this Friday, May 5, but you can certainly have the rest of the weekend if you need it. And if you alert me ahead of time, I can wait through to next Friday, May 12. Let's keep engaging!

Tres but not trieste or least, I woke up this morning to discover that this blog's hits -- if taken on an annualized basis -- is running at the implication of 90 billion peeps versus my normal 9 billion peep readership. I wondered at the slippage of that decimal point, but soon enough discovered the reason during my morning blog jog: Ron Silliman referenced moi perky name.

Apparently, I inspire Ron Silliman. Well, Preeen. And Thankeee, Ron. The spike in Silliman referrals reminds me that I have to do my monthly Art Forum Jog-and-Pick-Exercise where I leaf through the glossy and pick the most effective art work based on its reproduction therein. Ron reminds me of Art Forum because his blog was picked as No. 1 in Rae Armantrout's TOP TEN recommended readings in the March issue. So, check with me this weekend, ye Art Forum readers -- and Moi shall help parse you through the conceptual underpinnings to determine which art work actually manifests its rationale. If you're gonna look with your ears, you might as well listen to moi blather.

(And speaking of blather, Ron, I agree re your take on Rauschenberg.)

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