Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Let’s just forget all this craven watercolor
--John Olson ("The Gob of Agog")

With much thanks to book designer and wind goddess Michelle Bautista, here is the front cover for THE THORN ROSARY: SELECTED PROSE POEMS 1998-2010 (Marsh Hawk Press, Spring 2010):

My first SELECTED is edited with an introduction by poet-painter-critic-scholar Thomas Fink, and features an Afterword by poet-scholar-activist Joi Barrios. I'm grateful for their engagements, and also appreciate Joi's role since her words eliminate all my concerns (which Tom, author of "A DIFFERENT SENSE OF POWER", wisely understands), about being solely contextualized by a white male critic.

The cover image is a photograph of New Orleans by Eric Gamalinda, himself no shirker when it comes to prolificness in poetry, fiction, essays, visual arts, film, translations, et al. 'Twas this all-around Renaissance Man who quipped about moi THORNS, "What is this: your 102nd book?"

Then Eric said other things which made me so happy that presence will adorn my book. After all, he has said this:
The act of poetry involves all the senses, the entire body, the entire mind, and to develop as a poet is to develop body, heart, and mind. Poetry is impossible without this commitment, without this total involvement. The most difficult part about writing a poem is not the writing but the process that leads to it, the process that demands belief, compassion, a sense of hope -- all virtually impossible challenges. All of this takes a lifetime. And at the end of our lifetime, what matters is not what we have written, but what we have become.
--from "+ h E . L a N 9 u A 9 E . 0 f . L / 9 h +"

And isn't Eric's photograph striking and mysterious? That effect -- complete with the unknown Other (back of my head to ya!) -- is something I hoped to achieve in many prose poems. I think I've said before -- in my dreams, my hair is frequently colored blue. I also like that this photograph was not a planned shot -- I think it was a stray street scene that Eric quickly snapped as he was walking by. Poetry is all around us; one just needs to see...

I do wish to thank all the artists who shared their works as possible front cover images to my book. There were more than one image that would have worked and I am sad that only one image could be used.

I hope you will be interested in THE THORN ROSARY. It offers poems that many haven't read before as they include poems from hard-to-find early books and as released in the past twelve years by publishers in the U.S., Philippines, and Finland (love those Radiant Finns!). Thank you Marsh Hawk Press, Anvil Publishing, Giraffe Books, Moria Books, xPress(ed), BlazeVOX [books], and Blue Lion Books.

Last but not least, deep thanks to poet and genius John Olson for some "Advance words" (given John's own poems and approaches, I'm really very grateful):
Tabios is a seamstress of the surreal, combining erudition and art historical references with flourishes of verbal color and surge. She is a generous writer whose enthusiasm for art registers brightly in her energetic conceptions. Propositions make correlative folds in a vividness of amalgamation. Ramifications at the fringe of consciousness thread brocades of textural ardor in a luster of compound interest. Her work (to borrow one of her own phrases) is "a blissful difficulty," a quest akin to threading a letter with a metaphor, a perception with a nerve.

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