Tuesday, September 30, 2008


See CAMPAIGN POSTER HERE! Well sniff. About time someone appreciated Moi Talents!

Gracias Ernesto! The lipsticked pig is on its way!

Labels: ,


For such is Moi expanse! Hilarious! Karri introduces me to "PARATRANSLATE", and specifically the translation of "the chatelaines keys" to be

"The candylike lesbians"
"Nicely ablest skinhead"

What a hoot!

And speaking of The Blind Chatelaine's Keys, THANK YOU ALLEN for noting the loving-ness Moi shares with Harold Bloom--

Seems like all this attention is a timely way to remind you of this CANDY certainly not limited to lesbians or skinheads!

Labels: ,

Monday, September 29, 2008


Just read the GREAT Jukka-Pekka Kervinen's FIRST hay(na)ku poetry collection; 'tis entitled


Its text is "English reconstituted, based on source text manipulation before feeding it to Markovian process."

Coming soon to one of Moi's many THEATERs near you ... viz the Tiny Books Project.

Oh lucky you!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Never has the requirement that U.S. presidents be born in the U.S. shown its limitations as much as it does nowadays.

For, everytime I watch the news about and debate between the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, I feel -- I really really feel -- the call for my own contributions. Yet, not being born in the U.S., I'm not allowed to campaign for and then enter (as most assuredly I would win any campaign) the White House and set things straight in the United States of America.

For one, I live on a mountain and thus can see over many lands: no one is more qualified than I am in terms of foreign policy expertise. I also majored in political science at Barnard College, studying specifically under Richard Pious, expert on U.S. Presidencies--I mean, come on!

Last but not least (I only mention two of my qualifications due to my innate modesty), as a banker I specialized in fixing deals put together by greedy, incompetent bankers. Need I say more?

So, really, I feel sorry for the United States of America. I would love to be your president -- I'd be the first woman, first Brown, first .... oh so many firsts I would be as president! -- but my parents were carousing elsewhere, totally unmindful of the effects of their decision to hang out among the carabaos.

All is not totally lost, however. I can do something for you -- point you to a poetry book that anyone interested in politics should read: DISAPPOINTED PSALMS by Brian Clements.

I wish, however, that I can do more. Moi have so much -- so much! -- to give.

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 26, 2008


[The Light...is less a book of poetry than a complex: a virtual, almost accidental honeycomb where disparate forces converge and thrive without necessarily coalescing into a stable structure."
--Fred Muratori, American Book Review

And if that excerpt doesn't intrigue, how's about this:
"No doubt many readers will be appalled..."

Chuckle. Anyway, viz Anny, I discover that Fred Muratori reviews The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes in the new issue of AMERICAN BOOK REVIEW.

Fred's review -- and Anny's review of the BRICK in Jacket -- make me notice again how often philosophers are cited in the more in-depth reviews of my books: Foucault, Bakhtin, Derrida, Barthes....thank Gawd Muratori also mentioned Coleridge...

The irony is that while I believe I have all these philosophers' books, and indeedy recall cracking open some Barthes and Foucault and Derrida some years back, I'm a philosophy drop-out (in a philosophical move, I traded in philosophy for political science at Barnard...) and, cough, have left the distinct majority of their pages unread. I frankly bought a lot of these books under the grim self-chastisement: "I should read these books because everyone keeps dropping their names...". Now, whenever another reviewer mentions (some of) these philosophers, I cast a sort of guilty look over at the philosophers all dusty on moi bookshelves -- what is it with me that I'd rather ignore them for ... the murder mysteries?

Whatever. I think you should read Muratori's review and not just because it's complimentary to Moi. I think he got Moi at "Hello", to wit the first sentence:
"Who is the author of The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes?"

Well, the author would be Moi....but since Moi is all about Toi, that doesn't really answer the question for those still stuck in the swamp of fixed identities, eh? (Yo, this Pinay asks, How can you kill the Author if you can't identify hir?)

IMPORTANT P.S. Thank you, Fred Muratori and Anny Ballardini -- the kind of attention you've given to my poems are rare and what poets dream of. You make her and my dreams come true....

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Oh don't have a heart attack. I don't even read the darn series (sorry David). I just learned of it tonight, in fact, from an email--thanks Joan! Anyway, I am in BAP 2008. Apparently, Charles Bernstein wrote a hay(na)ku entitled "Ku(na)hay" and drops my name in his BAP Notes (P. 153).

Ku(na)hay -- ain't that Charles cute?

Guest Editor 2008 is Charles Wright.

Sigh. Well, I guess I'd better go buy that BAP issue. Now that the government has screwed up my retirement account, my new retirement account is the Hay(na)ku Archives-in-progress that I'm sure universities will be competing to get sometime in the future when I'm toothless but still wanting money for ye olde wine habit.

Hm. To be in a Best-of-Poetry type of list through the footnote -- sound familiar, anyone (anyone who's ever eaten pancit, that is)? Chuckle -- as the hubby often dourly observes, I'm the biggest fan of my jokes...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Over at Zeitgeist Spam, the project continues on creating ONE THOUSAND views of my poem "The Secret Life of an Angel" written after Jose Garcia Villa's "Girl Singing". Though a bit flattered, I'm mostly bemused by how such a project has blossomed from a poem that I kinda thought wasn't that hot in the first place (Villa's poem is hot, mine less so). I mean, I think my poem, as a song, really grates in places. Still, look at the participants to date -- AND I do thank you all for improving on my modest effort:

Geof Huth
Rebeka Lembo
Mark Young
Ernesto Priego
Sam Bloomberg-Rissman
Robert Rissman
Sheila E Murphy
Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Rebekah May
Jean Vengua
Lucy Morris/Ernesto Priego
Alan Baker
Franek Wygoda
harry k stammer
Kuei Chiu
Claire Rissman-Sherr
Rupert M Loydell
Ivy Alvarez
Ed Baker
Giles Goodland
Jared Schickling
Mike Cannell
Yichen Chiu
Steve Mitchell
John Bloomberg-Rissman
Cecilia Sophia Ibardaloza
Rolly delos Santos
Tim Gaze (we're looking for you)

Well, I'm grateful and looking forward to the book project that will come out of this (the notes on translation methodologies alone is worth perusing the project). To mitigate my embarassment, I'm just glad the editor/publisher are allowing me to write an "Afterword" where I rewrite (I mean, translate) my own original poem into something less, um, tone-deaf.

Meanwhile, I keep wondering, if a project like this can grow from one of my bad poems, just think of what can grow from a ... good poem! It's not like I've not written a few others pow-ems....

But maybe it's like dating? Does the bad boy vs the good boy still get more girls (so to speak; haven't dated in decades)? And the thing about Poetry is that maturity is not a prerequisite....

John Bloomberg-Rissman is open to more of your translations, mature or otherwise. Email him at J@johnbr.com


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


, bought some poetry books including --because I "give a fig" -- through a subscription to Les Figues' TrenchArt Tracer series which means I purchased:

TRENCHART: TRACER, aesthetics (wire-bound)
A Fixed, Formal Arrangement by Allison Carter (forthcoming 09/08)
re:evolution by Kim Rosenfield (forthcoming 10/08)
I Go To Some Hollow by Amina Cain (forthcoming 01/09)
a by Sophie Robinson (forthcoming 03/09)

along with an aesthetics pub by TrenchArt Tracer Visual Artists Susan Simpson and Ken Ehrlich.

I also cheerfully acquired:

AFTER RIMBAUD'S ILLUMINATIONS by David Baptiste-Chirot (whose resonant text had earlier inspired a hay(na)ku sequence that appears in The Light...glad to see it in this format as I'd earlier seen it as an email)

the allegrezza ficcione by Mark Young (I highlight this novella as a future 21st century classic; I wanted a copy of the updated-designed version, or 2nd edition version, though I'm happy to have the original version which is good to have if you are a book collector)

NOVALESS by Nicholas Manning (I wanted to have this after seeing a sample viz a chap put out by Achiote Press. These are not just lovely "machine songs" but very smart poems)

COLLECTED CHAPBOOKS by Sheila Murphy (imagine a 599-page hardcover! This BRICK-Lover salivates over the prospect....!)

I also bought copies of a couple of my own books for gifts:
DREDGING FOR ATLANTIS (thanks Mark, I'm honored to be in your catalog)
THE BLIND CHATELAINE'S KEYS (which is newly-available on Amazon this week).

Labels: ,

Monday, September 22, 2008


I am delighted to announce the inaugural recipients of the GALATEA PUBLISHER AWARD:

No Tell Books


Otoliths Books

So what does this award mean? It means I admire these two independent presses for their commitment to poetry and how said commitment has resulted in fabulous poetry books. No Tell Books is published by Reb Livingston and Otoliths by Mark Young. For receiving this HIGH HONOR, they get the prizes of (1) this blog post (yay!) and (2) that their catalogues will be available to reviewers in the next and 11th issue of Galatea Resurrects (GR).

What peeps who don't review for GR don't know is that, usually after each issue, I email a list of books to the reviewers and, as "payment", they can if they wish choose two books from that list. That list includes most books published by my own Meritage Press and whatever spare inventory I have about (including of my own books). Well, many reviewers keep on reviewing for GR and the list doesn't change much. So I decided that for each issue I should include the catalog of a deserving poetry publisher(s) for GR reviewers who've reviewed for more than one GR issue. Hence, No Tell Books and Otoliths -- if a GR reviewer expresses interest in their books, I'll buy it for them. For each issue, I'll choose another poetry publisher(s).

Hopefully, this also will encourage y'all out there to consider reviewing for Galatea Resurrects -- many lovely titles available HERE.

Certainly, such should also facilitate poetry book-buying, always a problematic issue, di ba?

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, September 20, 2008


, not to be confused with stardust, is visible tonight from Galatea's mountain. The air is so clear you can see the Milky Way, its "cloud" and then the stars shifting as a community across the night sky. When a poem works for me, I can sense -- hear through the eyes -- the same sound-image I see when the Milky Way becomes visible: the music of the spheres rumored to be spun off and sung by the dance of celestial bodies...

Meanwhile, here's the latest Relished W(h)ine List:

2 green figs
12 Santa Rosa plums
50 apricots
86 strawberries
1,451 basil leaves
327 purple basil leaves
267 mint leaves
505 pinches of parsley
3 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 orange squash
160 tomatoes
40 green figs
23 green onion stalks
205 green peppers
11 red peppers
8 Japanese eggplants
45 purple table grapes

HALLUCINATING CALIFORNIA, poems by Richard Lopez and Jonathan Hayes (moved me to review it for next Galatea Resurrects, though it wasn't sent as a review copy)

NOVALESS I-XXVI, poems by Nicholas Manning (lovely machine songs!!!!)

AFTER RIMBAUD'S ILLUMINATIONS , prose poetry by David Baptiste-Chirot (free .pdf HERE: prose so resonant it inspired a chained hay(na)ku sequence from me that appears in The Light....glad to see it come out in this format; I'd first read text as an emailed manuscript)

BUTCHER OF OXEN AND OTHER POEMS by Ed Baker (gorgeous lyrical stuff; I'd been trading hilarious emails back and forth with Ed, which is to say, I was stunned when I finally stopped reading his e-blather and went to his poems: they are just gaw-geous. Geez, Ed -- you rock! Okay, this note is good for 10,000 more emails)


WHAT'S A PHANTASY, poems by Ed Baker


STRING LIGHT, poems by C.D. Wright

RED, a poetics of red by Marilyn R. Rosenberg

E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: THE FINAL XIV INTERVIEWS + ONE, Curated by Tom Beckett


DREAM, memoir by Harry Bernstein

PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK, essays by Annie Dillard

ONE SHOT, novel by Lee Child

NOTHING TO LOSE, novel by Lee Child

BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE, novel by Lee Child

THE ENEMY, novel by Lee Child

ECHO BURNING, novel by Lee Child

DEEP STORM, novel by Lincoln Child

THE WHOLE TRUTH, novel by David Baldacci

FEARLESS, novel by Diana Palmer

MENDING AT THE EDGE, novel by Jane Kirpatrick

1990 Cos D'Estournel (this year's birthday wine)
2004 Dutch Henry chardonnay
2003 Dutch Henry chardonnay
2006 Dutch Henry rose
2006 Hangtime pinot noir
Schramsberg sparkling wine
1996 Gevrey Chambertin
1993 Yalumba "Octavius"
1988 Ciacci Brunello Di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso

Labels: ,

Friday, September 19, 2008


There's some clamor for THE BLIND CHATELAINE'S KEYS from those in the adoption-related community. And I'm about to go prepare a mailing of THE SINGER AND OTHERS: Flamenco Hay(na)ku for a teenage flamenco student. I love it: poems being read by non-poets!

Labels: , , ,


Yep. she got it -- Poetry upends Math! But perhaps Gura's sci-fi analysis will make Toi be interested in Moi. Not to mention, again, this offer makes 1 + 1 = more than 2...


I was mailing a book to Bahrain yesterday. The address ended with "Kingdom of Bahrain". The post office clerk kept saying the postal machine wouldn't recognize the address. Some hoo-haa ensued, then I determined he was typing in "Kingdom".

I suggested helpfully with a straight face, "Try typing in Bahrain."

That worked.

Btw, he said he didn't know where that is. I said, "That's where the King wears a turban."

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 18, 2008


In Anti-Celebration of Wall Street Greed and Washington Incompetence, I am HORRIFIED to offer a POETRY SPECIAL. To wit, BlazeVOX Books -- on record for prescient criticisms of certain socio-economic-political policies over the past decade -- has just released my newest book.

THE BLIND CHATELAINE'S KEYS: Her Biography Through Your Poetics

The book is currently available for orders, viz Paypal, at the publisher's website at http://www.blazevox.org/bk-et.htm. Here's the specialness: if you order the book, you can receive two poetry books free direct from me:

THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, VOL. II, Eds. Mark Young and Jean Vengua


PELICAN DREAMING: POEMS 1959-2008, the long-overdue poetry collection by Mark Young (this limited edition version is covered by a green cover instead of the final cover, but the interior text is the same as the mass-market version).

To avail yourself of your offer, simply email proof of purchase for THE BLIND CHATELAINE'S KEYS (e.g. the Paypal receipt or otherwise let me know). You can email it to GalateaTen@aol.com along with your snailmail addy. This offer is good through October 31, 2008.

At some point, THE BLIND CHATELAINE'S KEYS also will become available through Amazon (though please try to order direct from the publisher in order to better support independent press publishing). You also can avail yourself of this offer by emailing proof of purchase from Amazon (or any other outlets, like SPD, that come up before this Special Offer's deadline of Oct. 31, 2008)

For more info, pls email GalateaTen@aol.com....as regards this Special Offer that dilutes greed with Gift, and obviates incompetence with, uh, uh, oh yes, More-Than-Competent Poetry.

Eileen R. Tabios

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I was analyzing a relative's exposure to AIG but then $85 billion happened. Which means that, for tonight anyway, I can go back to Moi regularly-scheduled programming of amusing moiself, to wit:

Ain't it great how Poetry is the one industry insulated from the current economic crisis? Bear Stearns can tumble. Lehman can tumble. Merrill Lynch can tumble. AIG is tottering. Etcetera etcetera. But said crises ain't significantly affecting the sales of poetry books...

'Twas nada mucho before. 'Tis nada mucho now.

The poetry publisher has spoken.

The poetry publisher shall now raise the goblet of wine...

Labels: ,


Because I'm constructing Galatea as Poetry-As-(Literal)Landscape, there naturally will have to be sculptures on said Landscape. This begins the list of ideas:

1) The road between the front gate and la casa is nearly a mile long. So along the road (or elsewhere on the mountain), install a billboard that proclaims

                  LOVE POETRY OR DIE!

(Thank you, New Hampshire)

2) Since Galatea here is the notion of what happens when the perfect woman steps offa the pedestal, I want to install the hint of a HUGE woman rising out of the mountain. Just half of the head and perhaps hint of a shoulder coming out from earth. Ideally, the physical sculpture would be abstract steel waves done by Richard Serra -- but I'm sure Richard would charge too much. Unless he comes across this entry in which case I say, I'ma offering you terrain, Richard Dear, and I'm sure you'd love to do it because Poetry is priceless...

3) A metal clothesline of poetry books. The books would be done in a way where you can temporarily attach pages of poetry for guests to read, say, when having a party. So, over time, one can print out different poems for appending to the sculpture.

More to come...

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Nicholas Manning reviews Mark Young's long-overdue PELICAN DREAMING: Poems 1959-2008 over HERE at JACKET!

Nicholas has several gems in his review, all encouraging Moi to preen over having published Mark's own BRICK. Here are three excerpts below which should persuade you -- if you are the discerning poetry-lover type -- to BUY THIS NECESSARY BOOK!

For instance:
Across the entire latitude of the forty-nine years of poetic life encompassed here, we are witness then to an extraordinarily wide-ranging and diverse poetic praxis, ranging from vispo to experimental sonics, free series to procedural play. This formal diversity is rivaled only by a comparable cultural and contential scope.

Indeed, the extent of this engagement is perhaps what begins to indicate to us one of the important differences between Mark Young’s poetic, and those we may mention as possible forbears. He is, for instance, a consistently more political poet than Frank O’Hara, yet also consistently successful in the subtlety and rhetorical cleverness manifest in his political engagement. Perhaps we may even say, in reference to Young’s poems, that if O’Hara’s tone was his engagement–style the marvellous substance and clothes the beautiful man–then Mark Young often seems to take the original flair of O’Hara’s cosmopolitan insouciance, only to then use it to devastating argumentative effect. Against the heavier political anger of an Ed Dorn or Alice Notley, Young consistently surprises us then with the sting at the end of his apparently more idiomatic rhetorical tale.

A second for instance:
This is as precise and detailed as the best of high-Objectivist Zukofsky–a sink or a mantis perceptively transformed–though there are elements here too, quite obviously, of Frank O’Hara, William Carlos Williams, and perhaps even Robert Creeley. There is precision here but with a perceptive, phenomenological depth. The formality is not dry or overworked, the occasionality never sentimental or gratuit. In this way, the two aspects harmonize one another: they exist, not only together, but with an extraordinary complementarity. It is perhaps for this reason that Young’s poetry seems almost more comfortable with itself–with its status as well as with what it has to say–than much of the poetry of the New Americans which constitutes its vital, and readily declared, lineage.

A third for instance:
It is perhaps for this reason that what I feel to be one of the most achieved and complex sequences here–from Series Magritte–is another example of form and occasion’s stunning complementarity. For, though each poem here takes as its apparent origin an image by the aforementioned surrealist, this sequence of very strong poems is far beyond mere ut pictura poesis. It is also more than any unidemensional ekphrasis: the density of effect here belies the simplicity of its presentation, and the results are unexpected, and always impressive. The following poem, ‘Not to be Reproduced’, is reproduced here in its entirety:

Shown from the back the
subject is androgynous–think
k.d.lang in her man’s suit
phase. It is a portrait of the artist
as a young (wo)man. It is not
a portrait of the artist. Magritte says
it is not to be reproduced
though he reproduces it
anyway. We do not see
the face. Magritte does not
produce it. Or reproduce it.
Is not reflected in the mirror
for what comes back from there
is not mirror-image
but reproduction. Almost as if
we were peering over a shoulder
only to see the shoulder that we
were peering over. But it is
reflection. The mantlepiece
is reflected & the copy of
Edgar Allan Poe’s Adventures
of Arthur Gordon Pym
that rests
upon it is partially reflected. It
is a book about an imaginary
journey. Magritte’s painting
is a journey of imagination about
what happens between two points
that are the same point
though there is distance
between them. He says it is not to be
reproduced. It is reproduced here.

Btw, doesn't above just also make you want to read a well-written review? (Hint: if not, take a look at the reviewer's photo at bottom of review--Nicholas is hot!)

Anyway, y'all know what to do. I've led y'all to the trough. Now DRINK! For your own good!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I want to swamp the planet with poetry books (e.g. these)....and so mailing out poetry books often offers the type of pleasure I associate with eating white chocolate & macadamia nut cookies (the soft cookie type, I'ma particular). But today, the pleasure is doubled since the book I'm loosening offa the mountain is MINE! Well. Yay!

Participants -- some delay but your books are on their way! Thanks again for indulging moi aesthetic mischief!

{If you see your name here, I need your snailmail addy: Juaniyo Arcellana, Andrea Baker, Clayton Couch, Aileen Ibardaloza, Nicholas Manning, Chris Murray, Murat Nemet-Nejat, Roger Pao, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, Alfred A. Yuson, Annabelle Udo.)

Labels: ,

Friday, September 12, 2008


News from the Netherlands: Rochita says the hay(na)ku is the drug of choice!

I keep being fascinated by the hay(na)ku's travels. One of the contributions to the forthcoming THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU project comes from nine non-poets who work in a major conglomerate. They put it together viz office email...which is why the authors will have to be masked as we don't want said conglomerate to know what they are actually doing when they're supposed to be pushing different paper, yah? Poets used to steal supplies from their day-jobs. Now, viz hay(na)ku, poetry is stealing time from corporate space -- well, it should! The hay(na)ku, too, can be your rebel!

And how apt that my latest addition to the BOUGHT POETRY LIST is SAPPHO DOES HAY(NA)KU by Scott Keeney. Poems can be viewed HERE, but I also bought a copy of the limited edition put out as the inaugural offering of Sesphyrus Press, published by lovely poet and artist Rachel Andrews!

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I used to have THIS VIEW (link is refreshed each day; reference is to the one for Sept. 11) (courtesy of Jean) ...when I worked on 105th Floor for three-and-a-half years...

...They swayed, you know. Those towers danced with the winds.
two towers
dancing with winds...



Let's face it -- though I found out relatively recently that I was born on Sept. 10, my birthday will permanently be Sept. 11 as that's how the legal documents note it and how I've lived it most of my life -- all because some dufus-clerk long ago in some dusty boondock town failed to understand how a calendar works. I don't even try, Folks; without trying, I live fiction-ally.

Meanwhile, a pal & art advisor (the most honest art advisor I know so if you need one go to the link) sent me an e-birthday card viz St. Veronica having an incident at Carvel (somehow also a fitting metaphor for Moi Life):

Then I wrote a poem entitled, aptly "BIRTHDAY POETICS: A RE-VISION" referencing the sensibility of war's persistency. Here's an excerpt:
Dust clouds keep recurring
in the East, in the West—
“heaven, earth and all in between”—
as men battle each other
not “in jest” although Allah
in the Koran once raised
the possibility of creation as a joke—

What exactly is the redemption
found in the canary singing
atop a skull? Whose emptied
eye sockets became polished to ivory
by these terrified winds?

“Cruelty is a mystery,
and the waste of pain,”
says the pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Still, that infernal canary sings—

The poem was writ while reading through the first chapter of Annie Dillard's brilliantly lyrical Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Thank you, Annie Dillard.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008



Interesting. Well, interesting to me. To wit, back in 1996, I guess I sensed my future as Chatelaine. After all, I was writing:

                  There are keys to everything, even handcuffs.

Yah. I do think there are keys to everything. The problem is that my -- and anyone else's -- chatelaine is incomplete.

Labels: , ,


cupcake-breasted Muses
never grow old.
--from "On Beauty and Age" by Scott Keeney

Scott Keeney has an amusing response, carefully crafted viz hay(na)ku, as regards Stealing Poetry.

And whilst visiting his blog, I discovered that Scott also has a book of hay(na)ku sequences entitled SAPPHO DOES HAY(NA)KU! The poems are available viz Blog, but also available as a print copy by Sephyrus Press. Now, I do believe this is just the fifth ever published -- and seventh written (that I know of) -- single poetry collection writ in all hay(na)ku!. How's about that!


Tuesday, September 09, 2008


It is fitting that Eileen R. Tabios' first Selected book should consist of prose poems, as the bulk of her first collection and recipient of the Philippines' National Book Award for Poetry, Beyond Life Sentences (Pasig City, Philippines: Anvil, 1998) and the entirety of her second, Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (New York: Marsh Hawk Press, 2002), are prose poetry. While Tabios is also noted as the inventor of the concise diasporic Filipino poetic form, the hay(na)ku, she has steadily produced prose poems throughout this decade.
--from "Introduction" by Thomas Fink

Sometimes I'm dense. I don't know why it took so long for me to figure out that my (forthcoming) Selected Prose Poems book should be titled


rather than A ROSARY OF THORNS. The latter be so clunky, yah?

Anyway, I'm putting together the manuscript which includes poems published in early books by Philippine publishers, which is to say they've not been read much in the U.S. or elsewhere beyond the Philippines' borders. And as I put together said manuscript, I realize I'd forgotten that I first dived into the prose poem form through the doorway of writing poems where each line is a complete (or almost complete) sentence. Thus, one section from my first book is subtitled "Life Sentences"....and contains the epigraph:
She was beginning to understand
some pale bravado
in her horizontal line
-from "Pack Rat Sieve" by Mei-mei Berssenbruge

Pack Rat Sieve was also once published as a teensy chap; I remember carrying it in my purse until it literally wore apart. I retaped it several times before, finally, the physical object totally evaporated and the poem continued its life in me as a dream.

Here's the first poem in "Life Sentences", probably written in about 1996 (remember I only started writing poems in 1995):

The Forced Departure

I consider the woman's choice in liberating a red dress with pale-green sandals.
My penury depresses me into a staring contest with a melting ice cube.
A friend excited my husband with an invitation to pilot a boat with powerful thrusters.
My gift of chocolate in pink cellophane failed to make the blonde smile.
Consequently, I remind the party-goers that Trans World Airlines distributed stars in the sky.

I could be happy in Alphabet City, buildings crumbling around my notepad.
I could be happy sipping iced tea while admiring the seamless face of a pool.
I could be happy gurgling back at an infant dribbling green saliva down his chin.
I could be happy downing Absolut gimlets (ice-cold, no ice) in a neighborhood bar with pool players providing the music, or a hotel whose walls are laminated with mahogany and where tuxedos prevail.
I could be happy with your hand on my waist as you try to identify the scent hollowing my throat.

An entire landscape in Antarctica disappears--evaporates until salt becomes the only debris.
There are keys to everything, even handcuffs.
You could have been happy, too.

Poor disappearing glaciers -- I was weeping over y'all more than a decade ago...

Elsewhere in his Introduction, Tom Fink notes (and the referred "Purity", btw, is one of the poems in moi first U.S.-published book, Reproductions of the Empthy Flagpole):
When the prose poem's aesthetic freedom took hold of Tabios in the mid- to late-nineties, she was not yet aware of how "Language Poets," building on earlier work by such figures as Gertrude Stein and the John Ashbery of Three Poems, had developed new possibilities in this hybrid genre. She had yet to read, for example, Ron Silliman's "The New Sentence," and yet "Purity" and similar prose poems in this volume-had they existed in the eighties-could have served as excellent specimen texts for that crucial essay.

So, while I had developed my prose poem body of work under the influence of trans-colonial and ekphrastic concerns, it's easy enough to rewrite my work's context as *post-Langpo* (not that I mind it), if a critic were inclined to do so. This, of course, exemplifies what many non-American poets have referred to in the past when they complain about U.S.- or Euro-centrism in the writing of literary history. And such also is why I'm blessed on many levels when Tom Fink desired both to edit and write an Introduction to THE THORN ROSARY. Because he appropriately refers to decolonialism as relevant to my work -- a sensitivity that allowed him chops to do something like his book of criticism A DIFFERENT SENSE OF POWER (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2001). ). That seamless recognition of worlds beyond perceived canons bespeak why Tom, too, is such an effective poet.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, September 06, 2008


The one book I recall ever "stealing" was Will Alexander's In The Human Nerve Domain. I had been participating in a reading at City Lights and had read in place of Mr. Alexander who couldn't make it; out of respect, I read one of his poems and did so by picking up one of his books from a display table. Later, after the reading ended and, um, much wine was drank (I like that City Lights serves wine at its readings), I ended up walking out the store with the book.

Of course I subsequently felt guilty and later emailed City Lights, meaning to give them credit card info for payment. They were kopacetic and said Just pay for it the next time you return to the store. I have yet to return to the store. So, that's my token stolen poetry book.

But what is it about Will Alexander? People seem to like to steal his books. I have a friend whose Will Alexander books were borrowed and never returned such that she had to buy them again! (Well, of course I know the answer: Will Alexander's poems are worth stealing!)

Anyway, in response to this issue which I first raised in a prior post, Ed Baker sends me a poem about what he says is the "first book [he] ever stole": Jack Gilbert's VIEWS OF JEOPARDY (1962). I liked that "first book" reference; makes me wonder how many he's actually stolen over the years. Meanwhile, here's Ed's pow-em:

This                   old poet                   took me


and                   when he fell fast into
sleep                   and             oh, his snorring

I snuckked into his library &
filled my ruck-sack w his books
and stole his poems

If anyone wants to send me their stolen poetry book story for blog-sharing, just email Moi at GalateaTen@aol.com. Ye reprobate--but "real"--poets!

Labels: ,

Friday, September 05, 2008


Sam Rasnake's reading of Jose Garcia Villa's Lyric 22 is as "lovely as a panther."

I've just discovered this blog whose energy is as beautiful as the poets who make up its community: Upset Press.

Also, I wish I could attend but suggest y'all in the area go to:
Vanitas Magazine Launch Party
Vanitas 3 : Popular Song

Readings by Elaine Equi, Cliff Fyman, Alix Lambert, Charles North, Raphael Rubinstein, and Susan Wheeler
Jack Pierson, Master of Ceremonies
Wednesday, September 10, 2008, 6 PM
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery St. (between Houston and Bleecker)

Note that the issue is themed "Popular Song". Which I nota bene for y'all because it contains my first attempt at translation (a numerical poem by kari edwards into Ilokano) and the poetics/translation theories underlying such.

Then, like others, I've been quite moved at reading Tom Beckett's recollections over The Difficulties and how Yale came to get The Difficulties archive. Two things came to mind (well, more than two things but I'll blog about two):
1) The notion that other poets/writers lost interest in keeping in touch with Tom once he ceased to be a magazine editor. This is a topic folks rarely talk about (or that I've observed) but which I'm quite aware of (forced to be aware of) because of my activities as an editor, sometime-critic and publisher. Thinking as I type, now that I've raised the topic, I find it doesn't interest me enough to discuss. Except that, today vs, uh yesterday, I think I'm more Zen about the whole thing -- we're all just lousy humans, after all, which makes those rare ones with authentic empathy more special among us lovely humans. It is best, I think, to approach this topic with ... compassion. (Huh, I guess I did do a bit of discussion...)

2) Ye matter of archives in an e-age. For years now, and because my blather generates so much blather, I've been putting together cardboard boxes in the "garage" labeled by year. Basically, without any atttempt to organize because there's so much of it, I just toss in each box until it gets filled up any detritus, souvenir, hard-copy print-out of anything related to the work I do in poetry. But I don't print-out and archive e-mails or blog posts or most of what I do in the internet (I tried doing so once but there's just too much for me to keep up with such...and I'm not, hard to believe, that fascinated with moiself). And that's fine with me. Rather than bemoan putting my files at risk to the internet's whim, I actually find that it makes more precious to me the objects that do have a physical presence--for example, that someone bothered to hand-write a letter than dash off an e-mail. Besides, it's impossible to archive Poetry.

Last but not least, I just bought Moi sum poetree: String Light by C.D. Wright (University of Georgia Press, Athens and London, 1991)--$4.50 (50% off) from used poetry shelves of the wonderful Main Street Bookstore, St. Helena.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Achilles Sez: "Woof Woof! I continue to beautify the poetry world with my images! Thanks Mama-Moi and Senor Silliman! Wag my tail, why dontcha!"

Meanwhile, Geof Huth and Jean Vengua are mentioning books they've purchased on their blogs. This isn't a bad idea -- that poet-bloggers mention a poetry book(s) purchase whenever that happens (anyone else doing this on a regular basis?). After all, among the classic contributions to the series "Define A Real Poet" is
A Real Poet is someone who buys poetry books

I personally like the variation
A Real Poet is someone who steals poetry books

but that's a story for another day.

On my Relished W(h)ine List, I usually post just poetry books READ rather than bought. But with this post. I inaugurate BOUGHT POETRY COLLECTIONS OR BOOKS BY POETS category. And here's my first entry -- which is a way for me to point you to one of the great bargains currently out there even as you support a deserving small press, BlazeVOX's BAKE-SALE-PLUS -- $100 bucks for ten books (though I got 11 because I'm special):

All My Eggs Are Broken by Michael Basinski
Dreadful Quietude: A confused saturation of Pre 9/11 America & Supermen by Geoffrey Gatza
Face Blindness by Megan A. Volpert
Holiday Idylling by Vernon Frazer
Mainstream by Michael Magee
Please Do Not Feed the Ghost by Peter Ramos
Poetic Architecture by Kent Johnson
Quinn's Passage by Kazim Ali
To Be Sung by Michael Kelleher
Victory by Clarice Waldman
First Baby Poems by Anne Waldman (forthcoming)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Speaking of Jose Garcia Villa, he is known in part for his "comma poems", where there's a comma after each word, a structure that he says could help regulate the reading of the poems. One of moi 9 billion peeps, m.cb sez
Eileen, I'm such a gossip gecko flicking my tongue all over, about the comma poems. But I don't think it's a scandal really. Whatever Jose's sexual orientation, the comma poems are, I think, an indication how he sucks a male organ, in slow rhythms, pause, suck, pause, suck, investing meaning in each pause meditating his energetic tongue against the beneficiary's glans, meditating on cock as life-giver, art fertilizer. I think Jose has a great sense of humor, and that, to a point, influenced his comma poems. Sex as, is text. Literature and sex are irresistibly entwined; and the other two, of course, are religion and politics. (Please don't spank and hate me, for saying this (somewhat) childish bit, about Jose.)

Right. Like I believe that spanking parenthetical. Honey--that ain't the meaning I invest in that pause.

Moi loves moi Peeps especially when they peep.

Now, m.cb has ordered a copy of THE SECRET LIVES OF PUNCTUATIONS, VOL. I where I yank out of their closets the semi-colon, colon, parenthesis, ellipsis, among others. I can hardly wait for m.cb's meditations on their sexual proclivities and such.

Until that Relish, here's the latest Relished W(h)ine List:

12 Santa Rosa plums
50 apricots
86 strawberries
1,451 basil leaves
327 purple basil leaves
267 mint leaves
405 pinches of parsley
3 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 orange squash
114 tomatoes
40 green figs
17 green onion stalks
167 green peppers
5 red peppers
8 Japanese eggplants
45 purple table grapes

SHORT MOVIES, luminous poetry by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Márton Koppány (free .pdf here)

WARDOLLY, poems by Elizabeth Treadwell (Impressive: it's tenderly but fully realized poetry!)

WALDEN BOOK, poems by Allen Bramhall (lyrical pleasing & smart poems in a wonderfully designed chap presentation)

DOVEGLION: COLLECTED POEMS by Jose Garcia Villa (must-reading, to the extent any poetry collection is a must-read)

THE SINGERS, poems by Logan Ryan Smith (this poet has among the best ears of his generation)

SUBSISTENCE EQUIPMENT, poems by Brenda Iijima

THE CITY, poems by Ed Baker

NEIGHBOR, BOOK 4: FU: SION, poems by Ed Baker

ONE ARROW, A Flim Forum Press anthology featuring Brandon Shimoda, Thom Donovan, Jonathan Minton, Adam Golaski, Lori Anderson Moseman, Katie Kemple, Christopher Fritton, Eric Gelsinger, Jacqueline Lyons, John Cotter, Jeff Parris, Michael Ives, Jaime Corbacho, Matthew Klane, Pierre Joris and Aaron Lowinger, Edited by Matthew Klane and Adam Golaski

SHADOW MOUNTAIN, poems by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan

BOX OF LIGHT / CAJA DE LUZ, poems by Susan Gardner



THE SOLACE OF OPEN SPACES, essays by Gretel Ehrlich

HOLY THE FIRM, meditations by Annie Dillard



GROWTH OF THE SOIL, novel by Knut Hamsun

DAMAGE CONTROL, novel by J.A. Vance

THE LAST PATRIOT, novel by Brad Thor

RESTRAINT, novel by Sherry Sonnett

PURSUIT, novel by Thomas Perry

DEAD AIM, novel by Thomas Perry

MY DREAM OF YOU, novel by Nuala O'Faolain

THE INFORMANT, novel by James Grippando

2005 Aubert chardonnay Sonoma
2005 Kistler chardonnay
2005 Kistler pinot noir
2005 Travigne house cabernet
1991 Beringer Cabernet
1999 Behrens & Hitchcock "Ode to Picasso" NV
2006 Marquis Phillips Shiraz

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Ron Silliman's blog today notes several links to Filipino poetry/poets which is how I discover ABS-CBN quoting me as saying something about Edith Sitwell and Jose Garcia Villa, to wit--in a Q&A with Joel Toledo, there's this question worded as:
Q. Eileen Tabios once said that Villa was so well-supported by Edith Sitwell because he was exoticized as an Oriental--nothing like that happened to you?

For the record, this is not a claim I make. I have no idea (nor could I give a bucket of carabao spit) as to why Sitwell "supported" Villa. Now, I suspect the interviewer is quoting me once referencing (and snorting over) some sentences in a Sitwell biography (too lazy to look up the title) where Edith says something about Villa that in politically-correct quarters would be considered "exoticization". But this doesn't necessarily mean I believe Sitwell didn't like Villa's poetry for other reasons than how ABS-CBN phrased it (for all I know, Sitwell genuinely liked Villa's poetry....even as she, cough, edited it with a hand as heavy as, yes,s a carabao).

You know, when erroneous stuff gets said about me, I don't usually respond. But as regards Jose Garcia Villa, I'm feeling compelled to respond -- maybe because his COLLECTED POEMS just came out from Penguin Classics.

So, since we're on the subject of Jose Garcia Villa, may I also correct something frequently said about me when it comes to linking my name with Villa. For the record, I am not a "heir" to Villa. I admire his poems and, yes, edited a book on his work. But as a poet I am not his heir. (I'm reminded of this point because Ron Silliman also links to a Manila Times article on Villa that, while not mentioning me by name, mentions Villa's "heirs". Not to say I'm claiming the author Ordonez even had me in mind, but just that I was reminded of having been called one of Villa's "heirs" a number of times before.)

As a poet, I am nobody's heir, even as I occasionally act as certain puwets' herrings.

Last but not least, as regards the question posed by Ordonez's article and repeated on Silliman's Blog on whether "Philippine literature should 'move on' from Jose Garcia Villa?"....Dude and Dudettes, that cart was pulled beyond the horizon a long, long time ago by yet another carabao. That'd be obvious if, ahem, one were to actually read contemporary Philippine poetry....Like, how's 'bout this idea: MY books!

In this BRICK, for instance, my non-ancestor Villa would probably find much to detest!

Sigh. Isn't it a pain in the butt when, in discussing poetics, one must be led to actually read ... poems?

Labels: , , ,