Friday, April 30, 2010


My newest Kapwa-based project, a special themed issue on Poet-Editors has just been released by Otoliths. I talk more about this issue's rationale in my Editor's Introduction from which I think one can glean several indigenous values: community-making, holistic-ness, volunteerism, cultural advocacy (and I'm not just talking about myself but about many of the 43 poet-editors who discuss why they volunteer their efforts as editors). So I hope you enjoy this issue.

AND! Concurrent with the issue's release, a special Shout Out about it is posted at the Poetry Foundation Blog by Barbara Jane Reyes--click HERE for her lovely SHOUT through the hallways of Harriet's house.

Now that's a way to announce a new issue! For convenience, here's the Table of Contents to the Poet-Editor Issue:
Eileen R. Tabios: Introduction

Burt Kimmelman: Three Essays
Editing the Words of Poets beyond Their Poems
The William Bronk-Charles Olson Correspondence
“Art As a Way”: Absence and Presence, Aesthetics and Friendship in the William Bronk – Robert Meyer Correspondence

William Allegrezza | Ivy Alvarez | Anny Ballardini | Joi Barrios | John Bloomberg-Rissman | Ana Božičević | Garrett Caples | Brian Clements | Bruce Covey | Del Ray Cross | Patrick James Dunagan | Elaine Equi | Adam Fieled | Thomas Fink | Luis H. Francia | Geoffrey Gatza | Tim Gaze | Crg Hill | Aileen Ibardaloza | Vincent Katz | Jukka-Pekka Kervinen | Mark Lamoureux | Amanda Laughtland | Timothy Liu | Dana Teen Lomax | Joey Madia | Sandy McIntosh | Didi Menendez | Lars Palm Guillermo Parra | Ernesto Priego | Sam Rasnake | Barbara Jane Reyes | Christopher Rizzo | Patrick Rosal | Sarah Rosenthal | Susan M. Schultz | Logan Ryan Smith | Jill Stengel | Fiona Sze-Lorrain | Jean Vengua | Mark Young

And here's Otoliths' announcement below--delighted to have the Poet-Editor issue contextualized within Otoliths' FOURTH BIRTHDAY! To wit--

Issue #17 of Otoliths, the southern autumn, 2010 issue, has just gone live. Four years old today!

&, since it's also May Day, I was going to have Billy Bragg singing "The Internationale" as background—you can, if you've got a server that opens links in a new window, still have it: just click on the link—but there's enough in this issue to allow an unaccompanied announcement. As befits a 4th birthday issue, it's a bit more packed than normal. In addition to the usual broad selection of paintings, prose, photographs, sermons, assemblages, poetry of all shapes, sizes, & styles, &, as always, a large offering of vizpo, the issue also includes two special features; one of which, since it was to have been a complete issue of another journal which has, unfortunately, gone into hiatus, is actually magazine-sized.

In the standard part of the issue you'll find work by Michael Farrell, Marilyn R. Rosenberg , Eric Arnold, Jim McCrary, Reed Altemus, Adam Fieled, Bob Heman, Tim Wright, Samit Roy, Caleb Puckett, Charles Freeland, gustave morin, dan raphael, Philip Byron Oakes, Dorothee Lang & Karyn Eisler & Susan Gibb, Sam Langer, Geof Huth, Esa Mäkijärvi, Scott Metz, Andrew McEwan, Felino Soriano, Travis Macdonald, Paul Siegell, Alan Davies, Kirsten Kaschock, Raymond Farr, John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett & Sheila E. Murphy, Jeff Harrison, Letitia Trent, Michelle Cahill, Valery Oisteanu, Irving Weiss, Martin Edmond, Carlos Soto Román, Jim Meirose, SJ Fowler, Felipe Cussen, Grzegorz Wróblewski, James Mc Laughlin, Michael Steven, Arkava Das, Michael Caylo-Baradi, J. D. Nelson, Jal Nicholl, Jenny Enochsson, Joe Balaz, Glenn R. Frantz, Michael Brandonisio, Jon Curley & Gg Re, sean burn, Bobbi Lurie, Jeff Klooger, Richard Kostelanetz, Silvio De Gracia, David-Baptiste Chirot, Alexander Jorgensen, Anne Gorrick, John Moore Williams, Marcia Arrieta, Mara Patricia Hernandez, Bill Drennan, nick-e melville, Corey Wakeling, John Martone, Jessie Janeshek, Thomas Fink (reviewing David Lehman's Yeshiva Boys), & Emma Smith.

The first special feature is ROCKPILE on the road, with poems by Michael Rothenberg & David Meltzer, photos by Terri Carrión, & an introduction by Larry Sawyer.

The second special feature is POET-EDITORS, curated & introduced by Eileen R. Tabios. 43 poet-editors respond to the question: "What is (or has been) your favorite editing project and why?" The respondees, who also provide—sometimes quite extensive—samples of their work, are: William Allegrezza, Ivy Alvarez, Anny Ballardini, Joi Barrios, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Ana Božičević, Garrett Caples, Brian Clements, Bruce Covey, Del Ray Cross, Patrick James Dunagan, Elaine Equi, Adam Fieled, Thomas Fink, Luis H. Francia, Geoffrey Gatza, Tim Gaze, Crg Hill, Aileen Ibardaloza, Vincent Katz, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Burt Kimmelman, Mark Lamoureux, Amanda Laughtland, Timothy Liu, Dana Teen Lomax, Joey Madia, Sandy McIntosh, Didi Menendez, Lars Palm, Guillermo Parra, Ernesto Priego, Sam Rasnake, Barbara Jane Reyes, Christopher Rizzo, Patrick Rosal, Sarah Rosenthal, Susan M. Schultz, Logan Ryan Smith, Jill Stengel, Fiona Sze-Lorrain, Jean Vengua, & Mark Young.

& if that isn't enough, the print parts of the previous issue of Otoliths, the southern summer 2010 issue, are now available from The Otoliths Storefront.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010


Per moi prior post, Dan Waber notes, "I love the subtle reference to the fact that a hand is the same size as a butt. :)"

Yah. 'Twas so subtle coz I hadn't actually intended it. But now we know where Dan's mind is.*

Now, speaking of Poem-in-Pocket, here's my son Michael this morning, fresh from shower and bleary-eyed, showing Mama that, yes, he didn't forget to bring Mama's Hay(na)ku for Haiti to school.

And just think! If you order an H for H booklet, you can have one, too! Don't you like the idea of a Poem caressing your butt?!

* POST SCRIPT: When Dan saw my statement about the state of his mind, he replied, "Ha! No, I didn't have a dirty mind, I thought you were making a veiled threat that if he didn't take YOUR poem in his pocket, he'd end up with a high velocity version of something the same size. A spankin'!"

So, Ooooops. I guess we know that it's Moi who has the dirty mind after all. But, come to think, you Peeeeeeps already know that, don't you!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


--this post is dedicated to Dan Waber for enabling me to discuss *paper sculptures* with my son

Okay. How cool is this story I'm about to share -- so, as we're in the waning days of Nat'l Poultry Month, Michael's school instructed all students to go to school tomorrow with a "Poem in the Pocket"!!!

So he asks this evening, before I learned about the P in P, for a poem. With much enthusiasm (and clearly showing myself to be a bad parent for not caring about the impact on his already heavy backpack), Moi offers him his choice of the BRICK, SON OF A BRICK, or the BRICKHOUSE. I hear a sigh. I turn around towards sigh. The hubby is rolling his eyes as he says, "Eileen, I think a page would do..."

"Why?" Moi (the) Ego asks. "He can bring in one of my books and read from it!"

I suddenly notice wind. I turn towards said wind. Michael is shaking his head back and forth furiously. I suddenly become furious towards the hubby -- is the hubby being a bad model as regards instilling a love for my poetry, I mean, a love generally for poetry...?!

"No," the hijo explains. "I need a poem that fits in my pocket."

And so that's how I learned that his school is doing a "Poem in the Pocket" project.

"Oh. That's all fine and good!" I reply, avoiding the face of the hubby which I feel to be smirking.

Anyway, here's the very cool part of the story! So guess what Michael will be flattening against his butt tomorrow? That's right, my "Hay(na)ku for Haiti" booklet which, I remind Toi, fits against the palm of a hand!

Moi being Moi, I also gave him some extras to give to his friends who will forget -- what do you bet some of those tweens will forget to bring in a poem. Who's going to remind them? Their parents....?! But let Moi not be bitter. Anyway -- isn't that a delightful use for an H for H booklet?!

After giving him several copies, I read my poem out loud to him. He looked back at me blankly.

"I'm a famous po-..." I begin, then give up.

Okay. But then he unfolded the single sheet of paper, before figuring out how to put it back again into booklet form -- a lovely design decision by Dan Waber over at Then he nodded up and down and said -- about the chap design, not my poem --"Wow. That's really cool."

I thought so.


Speaking of Michael, he recently participated in a "Run for Funds" fundraiser for his school. Various friends pledged a sum per each segment run. I think I've mentioned before that I have Michael do Thank You Drawings whenever he needs to express gratitude -- it teaches him manners while allowing him to exercise his huge artistic talent. So here's his latest Thank You to a lovely New York City art dealer who sponsored his run:

This time, I'm not actually going to exude enthusiasm over the drawing's brilliance. I suspect he copied much of the imagery from some cartoons. I'm finding, in his drawings, that he frequently lapses to imitation (especially when he's tired). Oh, pardon Moi. Moi am enlightened nowadays -- so I should renege the early part of this paragraph to say that Michael is not actually imitating others' images -- he's just practicing Kapwa! (Belay that smirk, Toi!)

Anyway, since my refrigerator has a wooden door, I can't put up my son's drawings up there....and must post them here. Aren't you all lucky!!!!

I thought so!

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Monday, April 26, 2010


I'm so pleased to announce, in conjunction with the forthcoming release of Galatea Resurrects' 14th issue, the next recipient of Galatea Resurrects' Publisher Prize! To wit:
CARAYAN PRESS, Ed. Edwin Lozada and based in San Francisco

Congratulations to poet, translator, and cultural activist Edwin Lozada, also a fine flamenco dancer!


Speaking of Galatea Resurrects, we keep receiving wonderful review copies looking to be reviewed. Note that the review submission deadline for Galatea Resurrects' 15th issue is Nov. 1, 2010. Please go HERE for review copy or reviewing information!

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Sunday, April 25, 2010


then, with Dog as my Witness(es), post about "Blood Memory versus Persona Poems" in my latest for the true Eileen Tabios Blog. Jes sayin'...

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Saturday, April 24, 2010


Isn't that a lovely image? That's a drawing from brilliant New York-based artist Maureen McQuillan who has an exhibition up now at McKenzie Fine Art. And, apparently, I gave Maureen the idea for the title of her exhibit: "Necessary Detours"! Well, preeen! Click on the link for more info and images, though I have to post this other gorgeous image, too; medium is a manipulated photograph:

And, of course, moi whole “Relished W(h)ine List)” thing is one of those…necessary detours! Ergo, here's my latest Recently Relished W(h)ine List which, for your amusement (though not always mine), shall inaugurate the Spring 2010 harvest tally here on Galatea.

1 stalk of "miner's weed" (Naturally, it took a visitor to tell me that what I thought were "jes weeds" were actually the wonderful miner's weed which is a type of lettuce. But instead of beginning to harvest the whole array, I only picked one, before thoroughly sanitizing it to taste it. I refuse to pick more since the lot, unfortunately, is located exactly where the dogs love to pee and poop. Such be my lot -- moi continued bathetic lot -- as a gardener or farmer.)
100 stalks of green onion
7 strawberries

Hay(na)ku for Haiti Booklets by 14 poets so far! (Click HERE for more info, free book offer, and how you as a poet can participate!

EASY EDEN, collaborative poems by Micah Ballard and James Patrick Dunagan (luminous and wise gems. A ravishingly glorious read)

EASTER SUNDAY, poems by Barbara Jane Reyes (poems viz diamond-etched metals--another ravishing read)

DIARY OF A WAVE OUTSIDE THE SEA, poems by Dunya Mikhail, trans. From the Arabic by Elizabeth Winslow and Dunya Mikhail (interesting)

32 SNAPSHOTS OF MARSEILLES, poems by Guy Bennett

IF NOT METAMORPHIC, poems by Brenda IIjima

A BOOK OF UNKNOWING, poems by John High

EATING HER WEDDING DRESS: A COLLECTION OF CLOTHING POEMS, Eds. Vasiliki Katsarou, Ruth O'Toole, and Ellen Foos


SIMON J. ORTIZ: A POETIC LEGACY OF INDIGENOUS CONTINUANCE, Edited by Susan Berry Brill de Ramirez and Evelina Zuni Lucero

THE SHARED VOICE: CHANTED AND SPOKEN NARRATIVES FORM THE PHILIPPINES by Grace Nono, with Mendung Sabal,Henio Estakio, Baryus Gawid, Salvador Placido, Sarah Mandegan, Gadu Ugal, Florencia Havana, Sindao Banisil, Elena Rivera-Mirano



A BOOK OF HER OWN: WORDS AND IMAGES TO HONOR THE BABAYLAN, poetry, art and meditations by Leny M. Strobel


MAUREEN MCQUILLAN: NECESSARY DETOURS, art monograph to exhibition at McKenzie Fine Arts

ALIMATUAN: THE EMERGING ARTIST AS AMERICAN FILIPINO, monograph of exhibition curated by Koan Jeff Baysa

NIGHT TRAIN, novel by Martin Amis

THE KILLER'S WIFE, novel by Bill Floyd

EVIL AT HEART, novel by Chelsea Cain

COLLISION, novel by Jeff Abbott

PANIC, novel by Jeff Abbott

NERVE DAMAGE, novel by Peter Abrahams

2000 Dutch Henry Chafen Vineyards Reserve Cabernet NV
1994 Artadi Vina El Pison Rioja
2006 Peter Michael "La Carriere" chardonnay
2001 d'Arche Lafaurie "Cuvee Madame" sauterne
2002 Jadot Chapelke-Chambertin
2003 Samuel's Gorge grenache
2005 Mollydooker "The Boxer" shiraz
2005 Saxum "Heartstone"

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I know these topics (post Rae Armantrout-beginning) whereof He Speaks and this latest is yet another reason why Allen Bramhall, too, is another contributor to deep intellectual thought in the 21st century.

The real proof, of course, is in THIS.

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Friday, April 23, 2010


I just finished my latest addition to deep intellectual thought in the 21st century -- an essay called


I hope it will be as good for you ....

And if you click on link, you also get CAKE!


Speaking of cake, now THAT is a BOOK LAUNCH! Scroll down to see me frowning. Why frowning? Because while I was holding that cake-cutting knife, I thought I should be holding on to the headhunter's axe wielded earlier in the Conference by Virgil Apostol...

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Thursday, April 22, 2010


So far, we've raised $233 for Haiti relief through the Hay(na)ku for Haiti Fundraiser. Thank you! It's a great result given how each H for H booklet costs a mere $3.00!

And, yes, the deal to get a free copy of THE THORN ROSARY for every $15 minimum order is ... a deal!

And now I'm pleased to announce three more additions to the list of H for H booklets -- these are hay(na)ku penned by Cynthia Marie Phillips, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, and a hay(na)ku-ed translation I did from Ric Carfagna's magnificent FRACTUS CORPUS. The permanent link to the H for H project is HERE, but I cutnpaste the latest announcement below for convenience.

We appreciate your support -- as we know, the problems in Haiti are not going to be resolved any time soon and every little bit helps. Here are the deets!


A Haiti Fundraiser with Complimentary New Book by Eileen R. Tabios

Marsh Hawk Press has teamed up with Meritage Press to provide a poetry fundraiser for Haiti Relief.

Those who order five or more "Hay(na)ku for Haiti" booklets from Meritage Press' Open Palm Press will also receive a complimentary copy of Eileen R. Tabios' latest Marsh Hawk Press book, THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New, edited by Thomas Fink.

As five booklets are available for $15 and Ms. Tabios' book retails for $19.95, we hope poetry lovers will find this offer an attractive way to contribute to Haiti relief. The following provides details on this Haiti fundraiser:

Open Palm Press
(an imprint of Meritage Press)
is pleased to announce the series:

Hay(na)ku for Haiti

-- a fundraiser for Haiti, edited by Eileen R. Tabios and blessed by support from

Poets who write in the hay(na)ku form (about which more information is available at have consented to create hay(na)ku for helping Haiti's recovery efforts. The results are to be released as "pocket poem booklets" by Open Palm Press. Each will be sold for $3.00, reflecting the hay(na)ku's three lines, with all proceeds to be donated for Haiti relief.

The series begins with:

#1: PARTICLE AND WAVE and FROM THE CHAIR, two hay(na)ku sequences by Jean Vengua
#2: On A Pyre: An Ars Poetica by Eileen R. Tabios
#3: Hay(na)ku for Haiti by Tom Beckett
#4: when the earth moves by Lars Palm
#5: After René Depestre’s “My Definition of Poetry”, as translated by Edwidge Danticat, with lines at the end by Lafcadio Hearn by John Bloomberg-Rissman.
#6: Mrs. Quake by Nicole Mauro
#7: Through Having Been, Vol. 1 by William Allegrezza
#8: Through Having Been, Vol. 2 by William Allegrezza
#9: blonde topography: a terse set of tercets by steve dalachinsky
#10: Drop, Portion and Assignment by Peg Duthie
#11: As I Speed to Your Place by Amanda Laughtland
#12: REBIRTH by Cynthia M. Phillips
#13: in articulate concision of appendices by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
#14:from Delicacies in FRACTUS CORPUS by Ric Carfagna (Vol. 1), Hay(na)ku-ed Translations by Eileen Tabios

Over time, more releases will occur as it is anticipated that Haiti's relief requirements will be prolonged and deep. Poets interested in exploring the hay(na)ku through this fundraising effort may contact the series editor at

"H for H" booklets are lovingly produced by on lilac-colored paper to fit, at 2.75" x 4.5 X 2", on an open palm -- ideal for giving engagements.

To order some or all of the series, please send checks made out to "Meritage Press" for $3 per booklet and send to

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

This offer is also available to non-U.S. residents, but with extra arrangements required for international shipping.

For more information, including on international orders:


Mischievoice, March 10, 2010: Review of Hay(na)ku for Haiti by Lars Palm

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


THE THORN ROSARY is now available in the Philippines, and is being distributed by Anvil Publishing.

The price is 850 pesos--reflecting my deeep Love for Bayan, that is nearly U.S.$3.00 less than the Western retail price of $19.95.

So love me back, please, and tell the archipelago's libraries to stock this balikbayan book!

Not that there ain't movement here in the SPD just ran out of its initial inventory. But not to worry Peeps, another batch is on its way.

Thank you for your interest!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Remember my cigar-smoking poetry angels and muses? The ones always playing poker--betting with my (moi!) tears--and whose games frequently decide my poems? Let me share a close-up photo of one of them:

What? You were expecting Angelina Jolie? Anyway, these bakéts used to play poker on a table just beneath the ceiling of any room I happen to be gracing with my presence. Well, this weekend, the table dropped and they're now puffing their stinky smoke right next to whereever I sit. Why, Toi asks? Moi is happy to explain!

I have a lot of fun on this blog...rather, WE have a lot of fun on this blog. Right?

But one reason I have such fun is because I've always felt that "Moi" vs "I" was blogging -- a tool that allows me to mostly (cough) hide.

Well, due to popular demand (right), I'm COMING OUT! To wit, THE MUSE HAS BECOME VISIBLE! Moi will continue to blog here -- it's way too fun to give up. But, now, if you want to see the real "Eileen Tabios", perhaps you'll visit me at the just prau-launched


Relatedly, Jean Vengua created this "TABIOS HAPTIC" in response to my presentation at this weekend's Babaylan Conference (more on Jean's haptics HERE and HERE):

Gorgeous, right? Thank you, Jean...and its significance, too, will be further explored at my (not moi) new Babaylan Poetics Blog.

Naturally that Blog (unlike this one) allows Comments as such will mean your presence! There is a new Dance beginning....

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Monday, April 19, 2010


Really nice. As I was driving Michael to school this morning, playing through the car was a CD by Grace Nono that I’d picked up at this weekend's conference. And, somehow, the music led us to talk about her performance which Michael saw Saturday evening (his first introduction to his Mama’s indigenous culture). Michael observed, Grace Nono has an “old voice”, which belies her physically youthful appearance; I thought that seems apt somehow.

But what I said instead was how Michael should consider is how he, as a Colombian, also has a pre-Spanish culture full of marvels that I hope he explores in the future. I could see deep thoughts flicker across his “guapo” face (as so many Pinays—including favorite surprise guest Angel Velasco Shaw -- called him as they met him). Then he reverted back to being a tween as we arrived at his school—moi boy stumbling out of the car in a flurry of boyish awkward but endearing action….

It’ll take a while to go through the results of the Babaylan conference (rumors about Moi “passing gas” as she engaged the body in poetic discourse are just rumors….mebbe)—so I stop here for now. Except that it did lead me to pick out SIMON J. ORTIZ: A POETIC LEGACY OF INDIGENOUS CONTINUANCE among the piles of review copies for Galatea Resurrects. I’m now curious to read this anthology….

…and this leads me, too, to share: I’m extending the review submission deadline one more (and last) time for Galatea Resurrects. The new deadline is May 1. C’mon peeps—and did you know:

when you review a book voluntarily, that’s a Babaylanic act...!

And now, I go offline to see where in la casa I should hang the latest painting to grace said casa: "Ka" by Christian Cabuay.

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Friday, April 16, 2010


me HERE....where I will be with HER:

Grace Nono is so lovely I like putting her images on moi blog. Which is to say, I can't do it all the time but I do choose with what to engage. This is a conference whose spirit and attendance will be pure Joy. May you feel that way about, uh, literary conferences you choose to attend (grin).

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Thursday, April 15, 2010


This is to announce that I'm extending the deadline for review submissions for the next issue of Galatea Resurrects. You now have until April 23, 2010 to send reviews. For more information, go HERE.

Speaking of extensions, the Santiago Bose exhibition in the Philippines has been extended through a new venue. For said exhibit, I'd written a poem inspired by this drawing by Santiago Bose:

You are invited to check it out -- especially if you'd missed it at the Yuchengo Museum -- in company with other artists and writers inspired by Santi, to wit:

Participating visual artists include : Arnel Agawin, Ged Alangui, Leonard Aguinaldo, Rica Concepcion and Egay Navarro, Jordan Mangosan, Alwin Reamillo, Kawayan de Guia, Mark Justiniani,J, and John Frank Sabado.

Participating writers include :Lilledeshan Bose, Desiree Caluza, Ian Rosales Calocot, Frank Cimatu, Karla Delgado, RJ Fernandez, Easy Fagela, Luis Francia, Ed Geronia, Jessica Hagedorn, Lawin Ileto, Marne Kilates,Lia Llamado, Victor Penaranda, Padmapani Perez, Sunantha Mendoza Quibilan, Zosimo Quibilan Jr., Bino Realuyo, Justin Shady,Angel Velasco Shaw, John Silva, Eileen Tabios, Lorely Trinidad, and Krip Yuson.

Alfred A. Yuson previously wrote about the exhibition; his review is available HERE.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Love moi peeps. To wit, I already have a publisher who's expressed interest in my found (literally found) poem, "OPERA FOR WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS". Well yay. No wonder I blather and blog. But this post is really not about Moi. Cough. It's about how, if this poem is published, I've got the cover art for it! And it's because this drawing is brilliant and not because it was made by Junior-Picasson aka Moi son Michael! Check it for yourself:

That critter is something Michael imagined on his own -- he's got touches of Takashi Murakami, yah?

Most recently, Michael inserted the critter into another thank you drawing, and his first collage--this to his Tio Freddy in New York who'd sponsored Michael for a fundraising "Run for Funds" for his local school:

Gads--I'm so glad I'm not one of those insufferable parents continuously bragging about their untalented children...for my Michael is so very talented!

Speaking of Freddy, I inserted myself...I mean, my book, into the snailmail that sent off Michael's drawing for framing in his loft apartment. I sent him THE THORN ROSARY with the inscription
Memorize every word...

After all, it's only 336 pages...

Now, am off to type up 216 couplets--may my eyesight survive.

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Monday, April 12, 2010


Remember THIS? Here's a rare opportunity to get a copy and have it signed by its coeditor, Moi, as well as some participants like Jean Vengua! To wit, you are invited to the historic


sponsored by the Center for Babaylan Studies at Sonoma State University on April 17-18.

Conference schedule available at

Among lovely participants will be my literary copanelists M. Evelina Galang, Aimee Suzara and Marie Therese Sulit (the latter discussing Merlinda Bobis). [These links remind Moi how gorgeous Pinays are, inside as well as outside!]

There also will be a book launch Sunday for a unique feat, the anthology BABAYLAN: FILIPINOS AND THE CALL OF THE INDIGENOUS, co-edited by Leny M. Strobel. (How I love talking poetry in other contexts besides the literary. For poetry is of the world!)

And Saturday, Grace Nono's performance from 7:00- 9:00 p.m. of "Philippine Chanted Prayers and Intimations" is open to the public. This will be my first -- and long overdue -- exposure to Grace Nono, and I suggest you not miss it too! Grace's photo begins this post, and here she is as well with pal Joey Ayala:

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from having his bookshelves bent by the BRICK and now the BRICKHOUSE. Thanks Alan (though I'm mostly a "powerhouse" only when I get a token to ride the subway)!

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Sunday, April 11, 2010


So, we arrive at the end of spring break and not just because it poured rain this weekend. Today, as Michael and I read about the history of Rome, we came across this statement
Empire inevitably had political consequences at home. In the first place it made it even more difficult to ensure participation--that is, the participation of poor citizens--in government

, at which point, Michael interrupted his reading to shrug his shoulders and say, "That's normal..."

I looked at my son who's so far spent the majority of his life in an orphanage, and wondered yet again what he's seen with his childhood eyes. More than once as we read about early Rome, I kept remembering how Jonathan Carroll once wrote,
"our youth is where the only gods we ever created live".

On that note, spring break ends. But hopefully, Michael's true spring has ... uh ... sprung!

For instance, today, we had his (and the hubby's!) first piano lesson....! We moved forward what was initially intended to be a retirement purchase because we wanted to give the kid lessons to play this now gracing the living room:

As for Moi, I'm now trying to remember what I learned from once taking piano lessons almost everyday for two years under Catholic nuns....geez: moi fingers need yoga bootcamp!

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Thursday, April 08, 2010


I LOVE ART and of course appreciate living with art. To keep track of the progression of artists whose works enliven our living space, I keep art files. Basically, anything related to the artists' works -- from exhibition announcements to correspondences (love hearing from artists) to media -- gets filed.

That is, they're supposed to be filed. Instead, for the past five years, I've tossed these bits of info onto a windowsill in the library, intending to file them. Well, this week, the files are updated, courtesy of Michael. I needed to give him a chore and thought filing also would give him an excuse to read and learn about other artists.

What I discovered, though, in going through the five-years-plus information piled up on the windowsill were some old poems whose existence I'd forgotten. I occasionally stumble across old poems in various nooks and crannies, and this sheaf of three were, I realized, poems from a stay at MacDowell years ago. So I read them -- which was interesting because after several years of separation I could read the poems as a reader and not their author. What a relief to discover that I loved "Opera For William Carlos Williams," a long poem about the sexual lives of visual artists; its epigraph -- and may it amuse you as much as it must have amused, and still amuses, Moi -- is
"the derivation of the adjective venereal is from Venus!...I was stunned!"
--Dr. William Carlos Williams

Not only that, it's a long poem -- 216 couplets! I immediately thought it'd make a neat chap! Interestingly, one line was from what my notes say was a breakfast conversation with then co-resident Lucy Grealy!

I also discovered a 22-part poem, except the first three parts are missing; I don't yet know what to do about the missing parts. I might do a "Dave Brubeck" on it, in terms of how he ended up composing/finishing "The Time of Our Madness".

The third poem was a silly one-pager about martial arts and I must have thought it also unsatisfactory at the time I wrote it as I hadn't bothered to transcribe it yet from handwriting.

Still, this is a pretty good haul to discover -- I often wonder what's lurking within moi voluminous files. In any case, perhaps I should clean house more often!

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010


One of the downsides for Michael of taking English as a second language is that the classtime allocated for such needs to be taken from other sources. Thus, he's not currently studying History. This means that Spring Break (this week for his school) is spent introducing him to some world history. Because we're visiting Italy this summer (prepare yourself, Vittello Tonnato!), we're now reading about the Roman Empire.

'Twas during this morning's reading with Moi that I introduced him to the saying, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." This came up as we were reading about how the Roman oligarchy worked. As I uttered the saying that Baron Acton made famous, I of course thought about Marcos. But that strongman went out the mental window when Michael shared what that saying meant for him; to wit, the child uttered, "Absolute power corrupts what happened in Colombia."

That's when I looked at Michael and realized yet again: he never really had a chance to be much of a child.

(I often second-guess my parenting decisions. But a factor that could provide comfort is knowing that how I screw it up may not mess him up as much as facets of his younger life did. Well, witness Moi second-guessing: this parenthetical, too, is a tragedy, ain't it?)

Fortunately, Achilles got resurrected here in Galatea. And he is helping with the healing -- here they are playing frisbee:

And fashion, too, is playing a role in healing et al! Dude Michael apparently has fashionista tendencies. Like -- do you see the soles of his socks? Already, he's dressing better than me -- though not's not a particularly high threshold as I spend most of my time nowadays in my father's old shirts. Anyway, one of the soccer moms told me about skateboard-hip boys' clothing, e.g. these funky socks that are a lovely balm for his HUGE FEET! Yes, the boy is still small for his size -- though he's grown about four inches in the past year, too much of the calories are diverted to his feet which ballooned from size 4 to size 7 in the same time frame!

From political science to socks: this Parenting is just like Poetry: can be about anything and everything!

Meanwhile, thanks to the critter who helped train me to become Mom to a human: Achilles, you da man!

A dog is truly Pure Love....

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010


I often get asked for advice regarding poetry, which is disturbing(ly amusing) in that people who read my blog might not get the underlying performance aspect of it -- to wit, Moi blather a lot about Poetry precisely because I don't know it. Poetry isn't stable enough to be known as such knowledge implies it's a fixed entity when, actually, it's the quintessential air or water whose shape changes based on, uh, vessel...Anyhoo.

Having said that, and feeling like a Dear Abby just now, I thought I'd pose my response to a young poet who asked for my input as regards a journal which just accepted a group of her poems. Said young un wanted to know whether she should hold back a poem from the accepted batch to try to place elsewhere so that her poems would get "wider" distribution. At the risk of insufferability, here's my response below and, maybe I'll keep posting replies to advice-questions in the future if it's amusing to do so (or mebbe not -- "poetry expert" is an oxymoron, after all...still, if it's amusing to do so...):


Dear XYZ,

In response to your question, let me share my favorite story about poetry --
Once, there was a poet who finally finished a poetry manuscript after much time and effort. But, one day, hir house and its entire contents was devastated in a fire. As s/he stood there on the streets, watching the firemen battle down the blazes, one of the neighbors walked over to express condolences. During their conversation, as both watched the fire destroy the house, the poet mentioned that all copies of her writings -- paper printouts as well as computer disks -- were in the house. And since s/he hadn't memorized her poems, this meant that the poems were basically gone. The poet anticipated that in the future s/he might recall some fragments as s/he writes new poems, but, for the moment, considered all the poems that were in the house to be gone.

"Wow! I'd be devastated!" the neighbor replied. But then the neighbor noticed that the poet didn't seem particularly sad. So the neighbor asked how the poet felt about the loss of hir poems.

The poet looked at the neighbor and confirmed that, Nope, s/he didn't feel any sadness or despair over the loss of hir manuscript or other poems. The poet said, "If I'm a real poet, there will be more poems. If I'm a real poet, I'll write more poems."

So, you see Dear XYZ, I'm not the best person to ask about strategies in placing poems in literary journals. I am not saying your question is not valid and I do know that many poets have such strategies about submissions and publications -- a long time ago, when I still lived in New York, another poet told me that she was "done" with sending poems to any journal. From hereon, that poet said to me, she was going to send only to the "best" (print) journals out there, and she was also going to be very careful about the company in which her poems found themselves. Clearly, that strategy worked as that poet since has come out with several books and (foregoing any discussion over the oxymoronic nature of the phrase "poetry fame") is both well-known and well-respected.

Certainly, in amassing literary credits, three poems is just as good as four, I suppose, and you could hold back a poem from the accepted batch to try to place elsewhere. Perhaps many poets might so advice you to do that.

But what I love about my favorite poetry story is that it proposes that poetry's expanse is infinite and that one need not *allocate* poems as if the poetic well has limited contents. I am one, therefore, who would say: "Give the journal all four poems and just focus on writing more poems for others." But this solution, of course, requires faith in yourself as a poet -- that you, indeed, will continue writing new poems worthy of future publication.

I also believe in keeping a more sacred space around (my) poems than the dross of tacky exchange. For me, I believe I am blessed when anyone responds well (e.g. through a journal acceptance) to any of my poems; I feel I should respond to those gestures with gratitude, thus generosity rather than thrift.

Your question, Dear XYZ, may not be just a question about literary strategy. It may be a matter of ars poetica -- it's not just a matter of how you choose to be published but an issue of how you choose to live as a poet. And because that is what I believe your question is touching on, I will share this advice that perhaps was not what you were expecting to hear (but you did ask for "any of [my] thoughts :-):

Poetry is starkly righteous: it will treat you exactly as well as you treat it -- this Gift you've been given to be able to make poems.


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Monday, April 05, 2010


Normative texts, at one of which I just glanced, show yet again why my books (exacerbated by their non-poetic retail prices) will not compete (in the short-term oriented short term).


I pat Moi on her bad back for considering the concurrent writing of prose presentations on "empire" and "kapwa" (the Filipino notion of interconnectedness) not to be dysfunctional.

What is, however, unfortunate is how later work reveal my art-for-art's sake to be political after all. Unfortunate because the timing reverses the norm: show your politics first and then, having been deemed politically correct, feel free to experiment to everybody's applause. This, I did not do. (For clarification, do note the chronological presentation of poems in THE THORN ROSARY, a Selected.) Nor do I regret not doing what would have been careerist smarts. I aspire to be a poet, not to work as a murder mystery writer -- though the latter certainly is often more enjoyable (at which enjoyment my reading lists, e.g. per below, indicate Moi to be an expert).

But maybe there's nothing unfortunate here -- just showing up the brass in the gate-keeper's strategy. Because all it takes is one loud-mouth to persevere and hey at least a dirty dozen actually stuck with robust raucousness. (I continue to be amazed, ye cigar-chomping, poker-playing angels, at how y'all take care of Moi...)

Relatedly, the last time I did a poetry reading, I mostly read other poets' works. Not one or two tokens by another poet(s). Mostly read others' poems.

I write around the issue because I strive for -- and treasure -- kindness. (By posting this, I fail -- but what is Poetry but a paradox?)

Meanwhile, and relatedly, here's my latest Recently Relished W(h)ine List:

Various booklets from HAY(NA)KU FOR HAITI (new authors and booklets forthcoming!)

UNDOCUMENTARIES, poems by Rosa Alcala (intelligent poems with welcome verbal flourishes; nice to see these poems by an author I first knew as a translator)

THE FRENCH EXIT, poems by Elisa Gabbert (many exquisite gems)

STARLIGHT AND SHADOW, poems by Tom Clark (evocative in a lovely and loving way. And it is a free read viz this pdf:

M ENTAL TEKST, poems by Jim McCrary (witty and rollickin'!!)

GRAVE OF LIGHT: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 1970-2005 by Alice Notley (yes good poems but I really wish the design didn't go for run-on poems on the pages--i.e. that each poem began on a new page--as the set-up did not make for conducive reading. In poetry, white space so matters)

THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES, poems by Jane Sprague

INTWASA POETRY [anthology of 15 Zimbabwean poets] edited by Jane Morris

VESTIGES OF WAR: THE PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN WAR AND THE AFTERMATH OF AN IMPERIAL DREAM, 1899-1999, multi-genre anthology co-edited by Luis Francia and Angel Velasco Shaw.

TRIGGER CITY, novel by Sean Chercover

DEMOLITION ANGEL, novel by Robert Crais

THE FIRST RULE, novel by Robert Crais

DROP SHOT, novel by Harlan Coben*

GONE FOR GOOD, novel by Harlan Coben*

THE FINAL DETAIL, novel by Harlan Coben*

DARKEST FEAR, novel by Harlan Coben*

HOLD TIGHT, novel by Harlan Coben*

THE BETRAYED, novel by David Hosp

BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, novel by Giles Blunt

1998 Kyeema Shiraz
2005 Schloss Schonborn Riesling Beerenauslese
2002 Jones Family Cabernet
2006 Peter Michael "Ma Belle Fille" Chardonnay
Roederer sparkling wine
1958 Spanna
1999 Haut Brion
1999 Araujo Cabernet "Eisele Vineyard"
1992 Taylor Fladgate
2004 Kistler Cuvee Elisabeth Bodega Headlands Vineyard
2006 Chafen Family Vineyards estate cabernet
2006 Philo Rose pinot noir Anderson Valley Dry Ranch
2009 Dutch Henry sauvignon blanc
2004 Primus Estate zinfandel Sierra Foothills
2009 Toulouse Vineyards pinot gris
2009 Toulouse Vineyards muscat
2009 Toulouse Vineyards gewurtztraminer
2009 Toulouse Vineyards Rose of pinot noir
2007 Toulouse Vineyards pinot noir Anderson Valley
2007 Toulouse Vineyards Estate pinor noir
2008 Toulouse Vineyards pinot noir
2005 Freemark Abbey Vineyard Bosche
2007 Blackbird cabernet
2003 Teusner shiraz Barossa Valley
1992 Ravenswood Pickberry
2009 Dutch Henry rose
2005 Spunglass cabernet

*I also would like to join officially the particular Fan Club raucously demanding that Harlan Coben write another Myron Bolitar escapade. Please to comply, Mr. Coben. Have some compassion, Dude.

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