Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Woooot and Purrrrr! And to think I was bemoaning how no one gives me poetry books for Christmas! Well, some Peep was listening and I am pleased to say that I just opened my token -- and it's a wonderful token -- Christmas present that is a poetry publication: PRO FEMINA by Carolyn Kizer. It came accompanied by 14 by Boris Rhyzhii, translated from the Russian by J.H. Stotts. I am grateful thank you mucho salamats et al.

And I am also grateful for this annual missive from my older brother which shares The Washington Post's winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. Enjoy! The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3 . Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after
you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts
worn by Jewish men.

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I've done a number of collaborations with Nick Carbo in the past. In 2005, we began one where our process involved sending each other a poetry-sculpture -- a sculpture with an accompanying poem -- by snailmail and the other responding to such with another poetry-sculpture and poem. It was a good way to get rid of some old bras, let me tell you -- said brassieres then lending themselves to the line of uniting the convex with the concave (grin).

The series began with Nick finding a broken-down toilet regulator and spray painting it with the text of a poem it inspired. My response-poem addressed how to regulate desire (or not).

Well, 'twas good fun and we never really know what would happen to collaborations. With this one, Nick and I had some vague hope that the series would end up in a gallery. But, candidly, while we have retained the texts of the generated poems, some of the poetry-sculptures may no longer exist -- the vicissitudes of life, if you will. So I was delighted to be solicited for a collaboration by Quarrtsiluni, an online literary/artistic magazine which takes its name from an Iñupiaq word that means "sitting together in the darkness, waiting for something to burst."

Nice title. Specifically, I was solicited by Dana Guthrie and Nathan Moore who are guest-editing an issue focused on collaborations entitled Mutating The Signature. Yay-dom to the news that they took the first four poems from Nick and my poetry-sculpture series.

All this because a toilet stopped regulating itself...! Poetry: it's all around you--you just gotta be sufficiently tipsy to see ...

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Just received an email from Reme Grefalda, editor/publisher of OurOwnVoice for being "the godmother to the Global Filipino Literary Awards" begun in 2003. Well, yes. I don't think most peeps know that this award was originally my idea -- a way to bring attention to Filipino literature. So far, recipients include in poetry (award is also given to novels and non-fiction):
Imago, poetry by Joseph Legaspi (CavanKerry Press)
Miracle Fruit by Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Tupelo Press)
Ghost Wars by Vince Gotera (Final Thursday Press)
My American Kundiman, poetry by Patrick Rosal (Persea Books)
Matadora by Sarah Gambito (Alice James Books)
Trill & Mordent, poetry by Luisa Igloria (WordTech Publications)
Puti / White, poetry by Patria Rivera (Frontenac House)
LOVE GATHERS ALL: The Philippine-Singaporean Anthology of Love Poetry Edited by Alfred A. Yuson, Ramon C. Sunico, Alvin Pang and Aaron Lee (Anvil in the Philippines & Ethos Books in Singapore)

Why am I mentioning this now? Because I'm tired of some of y'all wondering why my books don't get this award. First, OurOwnVoice's editors (and I'm OOV's Contributing Editor for the Arts) are precluded from being considered....and I don't need to get awards for poetry y'all --

Moi's role is to laud poetry, not have Poetry laud me.

Now, stop the petty tsismis, kapischkie? Why not address, instead, the postmodern button-ism of Mima Cabacungan which I address in the new OOV? Let's feed our brains some good food, yah?

And advance HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mima Cabacungan who will be 101 years old next month! Wow! I wonder if, when I hit 101 years next year, I'll still be writing poetry...

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I'm really moved and honored to receive Aileen Ibardaloza's review of The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes in the just-released issue of OurOwnVoice. Moved in part because the review, rather engagement, took place because her mother picked up my book and started reading its lead poem out loud....a mother who apparently now spends a third of each of her days reading. Thank you, Aileen -- here's an excerpt:
In “Light”, Tabios has written about grief in forms both painful and necessary, blending into her work a dictator’s legacy, a traitor’s loyalty, an existentialist philosopher’s contemplations, a supreme poet’s three-part allegory, as well as reflections on totalitarian rulers and their murdered thousands, using as tools commodity lists, ekphrasis, hay(na)ku, random collage, prose and narrative non-linearity – all parts of a multivalent sum, the sum being ‘Light’. Which is also her name and yours, points out my mother. It is comforting that her poetic “I” includes ‘you and I’, that in between these lines, one might find – dare I say it – one’s own truth (or at least, parts of it). ENTIRE REVIEW HERE.

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Monday, December 29, 2008


Okay. Someone got a treadmill for Xmas. But what does it mean that, so far, the only peeps who've used this treadmill are the Xmas elves? And that the ones in line to next use it are dawgs? Looks like I gotta, I mean, someone's gotta, write up a New Year's Resolution...

And, yes dears, that wall installation is by Stella Lai. A brilliant meditation -- she cast numerous tiny individual heads, then crocheted light blue masks to place on certain heads to spell out "Don't Touch Me" -- simplistically, of course it has to do with the Asian concept of "face" and the masks that people wear, e.g. "Oriental" women often perceived as submissive vs the aggressiveness of the spelled-out message.

So, what does this have to do with poetry? Well, as moi opening poem to The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I, proclaims


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Saturday, December 27, 2008


As usual, I didn't get a single poetry book for the holidays. That's one of Moi's paradoxes: people rarely gift me poetry books unless it's a new release and the author thus knows I don't have it yet.

A pal was saying that maybe I intimidate people against giving me poetry books. So here's for the record -- I am always DELIGHTED to receive any poetry publication -- that's ANY poetry publication. And if you just wish to make sure I already don't own it, all you have to do is check HERE to see what I already have in moi library. Kapishkie? Before I die, I plan to read all poetry publications ever created...and if I don't, I guess I'll just stay immortal.

Well, if no one bought me a poetry book, I nonetheless bought some recently, to wit:

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

FRAGILE REPLACEMENTS by William Allegrezza

I got the above in order to give them away through this wonderful Literary Secret Santa Gift Exchange -- it's interesting, btw, to see what folks give as poetry-related presents.

Additionally, I recently-purchased:
PRIVATE EDITION: SONNETS AND OTHER POEMS by Tarrosa Subido, the first Filipino writer in English and first Filipino published in American magazines.

SONNETS FROM A GARDENER by Abelardo Subido, the perfect accompaniment to above. Tarrosa and Abelardo apparently are known as the Filipino Brownings. (Brown Brownings -- chuckle...)


SORRY, TREE by Eileen Myles (happy to have it, even though I got it in a weird way)

Another copy of BAP 2008 (sigh)

NEST by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (a pristine, signed copy -- I thought it cheap at $10 and I saw it at The Great Overland Book Company in San Francisco which sells "fine used" books)

ZOMBIE NOTES by Maureen Owen

NOVALESS by Nicholas Manning (already owned, but bought it for a GR reviewer)

KALI'S BLADE by Michelle Bautista (already owned, but bought it for a GR reviewer)

GOD'S SILENCE by Franz Wright


I have more items to buy (e.g. GRAVITY & GRACE by Ernesto Priego) but am having trouble with Lulu which suddenly and unfathomably doesn't recognize my zip code....

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Thursday, December 25, 2008


2008 is the second year for Meritage Press' "Tiny Books" series, a fundraiser for Heifer International. I'm pleased to report that, through sales of Tiny Books, we raised enough money this year to finance two goats plus some left-over for other items like chicks, water buffaloes, et al for helping to alleviate poverty. Here's the thing about goats:
Goats can thrive in extreme climates and on poor, dry land by eating grass and leaves. The gift of a dairy goat can supply a family with up to several quarts of nutritious milk a day - a ton of milk a year. Extra milk can be sold or used to make cheese, butter or yogurt. Families learn to use goat manure to fertilize gardens.

And because goats often have two or three kids a year, Heifer partners can lift themselves out of poverty by starting small dairies that earn money for food, health care and education.

Well isn't that spe-e-cial? But of course it is!

These Tiny Books are gems. And a special THANKS to the one person who has bought them all! That be the special Sheila Murphy. UPDATE: A second peep to have all Tiny Books: the also-special John Bloomberg-Rissman!

Christmas: it's about giving, not gifts.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008


John Bloomberg-Rissman initiated the project "1,000 VIEWS OF GIRL SINGING" rooted in one of my poems "The Secret Life of An Angel". I was honored to see so many participants re-do or re-work or take some impetus from that poem -- in part because I moiself was never satisfied with it. So I also tried to work the original, and came up with "ANTI-WINTER: THE DOUBLE LIFE OF AN ANGEL", now part of Fiera Lingue's in-progress WINTER issue (it's in progress but has some fine contributors and contributions -- check out the link now, why not?)!

Thanks to editor Anny Ballardini for always being open to my work.

The poem on Fiera Lingue is not going to be my last take on my original poem -- part of the problem is time: I'm so past that time when I wrote the original poem and so I have to find a doorway to it now that keeps me alive to it....meanwhile, the contributions of so many others are so much more effective than mine, e.g. THIS.

One thing that this whole exercise proves is that looking at a poem in another way than "bad" vs "good" is as valid a path to creating a larger poetry experience than what may be limited by authorial intention.

Anyway, the poem on Fiera Lingue is what it is (and I do like my Jamaican accent coming up in its punchline), but also will serve as a means for taking me closer to what likely will be my last Word on this poem -- which will appear in the anthology that John is editing, and which I think will be published by U.K.'s Leafe Press (that's a teaser for the anthology!). THANKS again, John...and to all the participants. Cheers.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


There are way, way, way too many good reviews in numero 11 of Galatea Resurrects for me to point to more than a few – it’s a cornucopia
--Ron Silliman

It's a tickle, of course, for Galatea Resurrects No. 11 to receive so much attention over at Ron Silliman's -- the issue almost takes over Ron's latest linkie list!

And it can always get better! GR has some fabulous review copies still awaiting your interest. List is HERE. In fact, I can share just some of the titles I would have reviewed had I had the time -- as I've said before, I only review those poetry publications that compel me to review them, not because I have some particular author or other agenda in mind to address viz a review, so these are really fabulous works deserving of attentnion:



CREATION MYTHS by Mathias Svalina

EITHER SHE WAS by Karin Randolph

SUBMISSIONS by Jared Schickling

the journals BIRD DOG, VANITAS 2 and TINFISH

I'd actually started reviews on the above before running out of time (but now my trains of thought of them are sufficiently interrupted that I'd have to start from scratch were I able to turn to them again). So their review copies are still available. Don't take the above as my only recommendations among the submitted review copies as I haven't yet read everything that's been sent as a review copy (though sooner or later I do plan to read everything). There are plenty of fabuloso poetry publications awaiting you reviewers' attention. HINT.


Sunday, December 21, 2008


Fifty four lemons -- I wonder if that'll be the extent of my Winter Garden. Because the frost may have done in the kale, cabbage, scallions, bok choy and other greens that had tried to make up my "winter garden."

Now, some may wonder why Moi with brown thumbs would bother to garden. Elementary, moi dears. Because Moi finds gardening difficult and in such difficulty is she much reminded of poetry-as-process. I would mention the making of lemonade out of lemons but that would be a cliche (oh, but I guess I just mentioned it....ah well).

Had dinner with the neighbors last night. We discussed composting. As. If. I. Know. What. I'm Doing With Anything Involving The Yard. Anyway, beyond the devastated landscape that often comprises Moi's garden, here's my latest Relished W(h)ine List Update:

54 lemons

BACKSCATTER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by John Olson (Are ye peeps reading this poet? Coz ye peeps should be reading this poet!)

WARSAW BIKINI, poems by Sandra Simonds

APRIL TO THE POWER OF THE QUANTITY PYTHAGORAS TIMES NOW: A SELECTION OF MATHEMAKU, poems by Bob Grumman (so charmingly-brilliant I occasionally vibrated with pleasure as I read through this)

ZOMBIE NOTES, poems by Maureen Owen

WIND IN A BOX, poems by Terrance Hayes

IN THE PINES, poems by Alice Notley

POEMS IN CONVERSATION AND A CONVERSATION by Elizabeth Alexander & Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

IN THE MIDDLE DISTANCE, poems by Linda Gregg

LONGFELLOW & MEMORANDA, poems by Geof Huth

WHEN NEW TIME FOLDS UP, poems by Kathleen Fraser

ELEGY, poems by Mary Jo Bang

A BIGGER BOAT: THE UNLIKELY SUCCESS OF THE ALBUQUERQUE POETRY SLAM SCENE, history/anthology edited by Susan McAllister, Don McIver, Mikaela Renz and Daniel S. Solis with a Preface by Marc Smith and Afterword by V.B. Price

UNPACKING THE BOXES: A MEMOIR OF A LIFE IN POETRY by Donald Hall (I'm wondering if Donald Hall is the poet whose memoirs I've consistently relished and yet whose poems I've never really, uh, relished...)


IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT, novel by Mary Jane Clark

THE LAST HOSTAGE, novel by John J. Nance

2004 3Rings shiraz Barossa Valley
1994 Artadi Lagos Viejos Reserva
1997 R.B.J. Theological
1992 Ravenswood Pickberry
1996 Close Clare Shiraz
Schramsberg sparkling wine
2005 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese
2005 Renteria pinot noir
1996 Dalla Valle Pietre Rosse
2006 Joel Gott zinfandel
1991 Ravenswood "Old Hill" zinfandel Sonoma Valley
2006 Cline zinfandel
2006 Jorge Ordonez Paso a Paso La Mencha
2005 Provenance Merlot NV
1985 Poggio Antico Reserva Brunello
1978 Gaja Sori Tilden Barbaresco

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Saturday, December 20, 2008


So there I was at a Copperfields Bookstore, introducing my 80-year-old mother (with weakened eyesight) to the world of audio books. While she browsed the audio books' shelves, I decided to browse the nearby poetry shelves -- all three of them (Tsk, Copperfield: I wish you'd game up on your poetry selection overly-weighted on *three* shelves with Rumi, not that there's anything wrong with Rumi of course).

Anyway, while looking at the poetry, I saw a copy of Best American Poetry 2008. Recalling that my name is in it -- my name, not one of my poems -- I thought to show it to Mom. I called her over, waving a copy of BAP at her.

Intrigued, she lifted an eyebrow but didn't know what BAP is. So I explained BAP's concept; for my purpose (see below), I emphasized that the poems in this book are supposed to be the "best" according to certain editors' judgments.

Then I pointed to Charles Bernstein's poem "Ku(na)hay", noting that it's a reversal of the word "hay(na)ku".

"Oh!" she responded with much cheer. She was very happy to see this Charles Bernstein (I described him (sloppily) as one of the nation's "best" avant garde poets) pay attention to Filipino matters (ahem).

Then, piece de resistance! I went to the the back of the book and showed Mom my name in Charles' bio where he explained the hay(na)ku's background.

"Wow!" Mom said. That was the reaction I anticipated. Okay, so much for that, I thought, and turned to return the BAP anthology back onto the shelf.

But Mom stayed my hand, asking innocently, "Wait, let's get that! Shouldn't we be bragging about you being in BAP?"


"Um, Mom," I coughingly replied. "I'm mentioned in BAP but I don't have a poem in it. I mean, I don't apply to these things...." (yes, I know one doesn't apply to BAP but I stumbled in my explanation as I suddenly had to, uh, somehow get around the fact that I don't have a poem that's ranked "best" -- I discovered that it's not that I would have wanted a best-ranked poem so much as that, suddenly, I didn't want to disappoint Mom in her thinking that her daughter wasn't that good of a poet, something convoluted like that)...

I continued, "My name in BAP is nothing to brag about...."

"Well!" my precious Mom replied. "I want to brag about you! Let's buy that book!"

"Oh, Mom -- I wouldn't buy this book! Why, you should buy someone else's collection," I said, motioning towards the shelves.

"Like what?" Mom said.

I looked swiftly over the shelves -- Tsk, Tsk, ye Copperfield -- and breathed a sigh of relief at recognizing one that had interested me but which I hadn't yet had a chance to purchase: SORRY, TREE by Eileen Myles (also an anomalous presence there among the other offerings, I belabor to add). I plucked it out and showed Mom, "This one."

"Fine," Mom said. "I'll get that for you and let me have that Best American Poetry book so I can tell people my daughter is in it."

Goooood Lord. Well, Lordie et al, I was stuck, obviously. So, I sighed and let Mom bring the two books -- along with her first audio book -- over to the bank of cash registers. I can just see the future unfolding in front of me: Mom bragging left and right to everyone she knows that her daughter is in Best American Poetry.....except that, of course, I'm not.


While waiting for the sales clerk to ring up our purchase, I decided to read Charles Bernstein's poem to Mom. I did. Then I asked her, "What did you think of Charles' poem?"

After some thought, Mom pursed her lips then replied, "He's so pessimistic. Or maybe he's just tired. He seems so tired! He should get some rest."

If you don't know what Mom's talking about (a feeling I know much about), you can check out Charle's poem by reading BAP 2008. Why not? After all, I, too, am in Best American Poetry 2008.


P.S. Re SORRY, TREE -- Eileen Myles had me at Hello! She had me on Page 1:
When I think
about loving
I think
about opening
my bible
and shaking

I don't recall an "Eileen Tabios" ever being mentioned in the Bible. But it's a long book and I haven't read it in a while, so let me go offline to check....and pray -- Please, Lord! -- I'm never around when Mom is waving BAP 2008 at someone and proclaiming, "My daughter is in this book!"

As for the Bible, perhaps Eileen the Saint? Eileen the Redeemer? Eileen the Angel? Wait, wait -- I see her! There's Eileen amidst the crowd looking askance as the Tower of Babel starts to lean over....!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008


You are enthusiastically invited to party over at the brand new Galatea Resurrects #11 featuring 72 new reviews!

Yes, indeedy: "Big cause for Holiday Joy!" woofs Achilles and Gabriela!

For convenience, I cutnpaste below the Table of Contents!

December 17, 2008

By Eileen Tabios

Michael Caylo-Baradi Reviews SHORT MOVIES by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Márton Koppány

Rachel Daley Reviews ZONE : ZERO by Stephanie Strickland

John Olson Reviews SCAFFOLD by Joel Chace

Eric Gelsinger Reviews SO THAT EVEN by Tawrin Baker

Kristina Marie Darling Reviews TORQUES: DRAFTS 58-76 by Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Denise Dooley Reviews THE SENSORY CABINET by Mark DuCharme

John Cunningham Reviews CAUGHT BY THE TAIL: FRANCIS PICABIA AND DADA IN PARIS by George Baker and I AM A BEAUTIFUL MONSTER: POETRY, PROSE AND PROVOCATIONS by Francis Picabia, translated by Marc Lowenthal

Eileen Tabios Engages DEMENTIA BLOG by Susan M. Schultz

Pamela Hart Reviews THIS IS WHY I HURT YOU by Kate Greenstreet

Jon Curley Reviews A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO MOUNTAIN CLIMBING by Jane Augustine

Karen An-Hwei Lee Reviews MENTAL COMMITMENT ROBOTS by Sueyeun Juliette Lee

Tom Beckett Reviews SUBSISTENCE EQUIPMENT by Brenda Iijima

Lisa Bower Reviews TRADING IN MERMAIDS by Alfred A. Yuson

Thomas Fink Reviews PARSINGS by Sheila E. Murphy

Michael Caylo-Baradi Reviews PERSUASIONS OF FALL by Ann Lauinger

Tom Beckett Reviews STRING PARADE by Jordan Stempleman

Karen Rigby Reviews THEORIES OF FALLING by Sandra Beasley

Wendy Lynn Cohen Reviews THE GREAT WHIRL OF EXILE by Leroy V. Quintana

James Stotts Reviews ITERATURE by Eugene Ostashevsky

Tom Beckett Reviews YOUR TEN FAVORITE WORDS by Reb Livingston

John Cunningham Reviews BLANK VERSE: A GUIDE TO ITS HISTORY AND USE by Robert B. Shaw

Elizabeth Kate Switaj Reviews IN NO ONE'S LAND by Paige Ackerson-Kiely

Wendy Lynn Cohen Reviews POLYVERSE by Lee Ann Brown

Eric Gelsinger Reviews OPEN NIGHT by Aaron Lowinger

John Bloomberg-Rissman Reviews ANIMATE, INANIMATE AIMS by Brenda Iijima
Another view

Eileen Tabios Engages HALLUCINATING CALIFORNIA by Richard Lopez and Jonathan Hayes

Emily Schorr Lesnick Reviews ARDOR by Karen An-Hwei Lee

Linda Rodriguez Reviews ROUNDING THE HUMAN by Linda Hogan

Helen Losse Reviews AFTER THE POISON by Collin Kelley (1)

Sam Rasnake Reviews AFTER THE POISON by Collin Kelley (2)

Robert E. Wood Reviews AFTER THE POISON by Collin Kelley (3)

James Stotts Reviews IN COMPANY: AN ANTHOLOGY OF NEW MEXICO POETS AFTER 1960, Edited by Lee Bartlett, V.B. Price and Dianne Edenfield Edwards

Denise Dooley Reviews UNBECOMING BEHAVIOR by Kate Colby

Tom Beckett Reviews WORLD0 and NO SOUNDS OF MY OWN MAKING, both by John Bloomberg-Rissman

Michael Caylo-Baradi Reviews THE SINGERS by Logan Ryan Smith

Wendy Lynn Cohen Reviews HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORDS by Joan Retallack

Lars Palm Reviews PLAYING THE AMPLITUDES by Christopher Rizzo

Karen An-Hwei Lee Reviews BOX OF LIGHT / CAJA DE LUZ by Susan Gardner

Jeff Harrison Reviews WALDEN BOOK by Allen Bramhall

Fiona Sze-Lorrain Reviews BONE PAGODA by Susan Tichy

John Bloomberg-Rissman Reviews ISSUE 1, Edited by Stephen McLaughlin and Jim Carpenter

Fiona Sze-Lorrain Reviews WOMEN POETS ON MENTORSHIP: EFFORTS & AFFECTIONS, Edited by Arielle Greenberg & Rachel Zucker

Eileen Tabios Engages TORCHWOOD by Jill Magi

Karen An-Hwei Lee Reviews SHADOW MOUNTAIN by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan

Patrick James Dunagan Reviews GLAD STONE CHILDREN by Edmund Berrigan and DRUNK BY NOON by Jennifer L. Knox

Fiona Sze-Lorrain Reviews SAVAGE MACHINERY by Karen Rigby

Patrick James Dunagan Reviews ALL THAT'S LEFT by Jack Hirschman and ONE OF A KIND by Jack Micheline

Adam Halbur Reviews EYE-SENSING by David Jaffin

Steven Karl Reviews STATE OF THE UNION--50 POLITICAL POEMS, Edited by Joshua Beckman & Matthew Zapruder

Eileen Tabios Engages RED by Marilyn R. Rosenberg

Brett Duchon Reviews PRAU by Jean Vengua

Wendy Lynn Cohen Reviews LOUISE IN LOVE by Mary Jo Bang

Steven Karl Reviews SHY GREEN FIELDS by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

Nathan Logan Reviews THE ROMANCE OF HAPPY WORKERS by Anne Boyer


Brett Duchon Reviews COMPLICATIONS by Garrett Caples

Linda Nguyen Reviews BRIDGEABLE SHORES: SELECTED POEMS (1969-2001) by Luis Cabalquinto

Linda Rodriguez Reviews THE PORTABLE FAMINE by Rane Arroyo

Reed Boskey Reviews WHAT THE FORTUNE TELLER DIDN'T SAY by Shirley Geok-lin Lim

Rebecca Holohan Reviews THE SPLINTERED FACE: TSUNAMI POEMS by Indran Amirthanayagam

Katherine Levy Reviews KALI'S BLADE by Michelle Bautista

Monna Wong Reviews MUSEUM OF ABSENCES by Luis H. Francia


Aileen Ibardaloza Reviews PASSAGE: POEMS 1933-2006 by Edgar B. Maranan

Eric Gelsinger Reviews WHEN I COME HERE by Ryan Eckes

Nathan Logan Reviews ON THE FLY by Amy King

Aileen Ibardaloza Engages BARING MORE THAN SOUL by Reme A. Grefalda

Michael Caylo-Baradi

A PREFACE: Angelo Suarez engages with the works of Philippines-based poet-artists Bea Camacho, Costantino Zicarelli, Buen Calubayan and Cesare A.X. Syjuco

Angelo Suarez on THE POETICS OF INTERMEDIA: Bea Camacho’s Eulogy to Art

Angelo Suarez on A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS MORON: Constantino Zicarelli and Buen Calubayan


Allen Gaborro Reviews DOVEGLION: COLLECTED POEMS by JOSE GARCIA VILLA, Ed. John Edwin Cowen

Patrick James Dunagan Reviews EVANGELINE DOWNS by Micah Ballard

Tiny Poetry Books Feeding the World…Literally!

A German Shepherd Most Assuredly Shall Grace the White House Lawn


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Another item checked off the massive To-Do List: I just approved the final proofs for sending Nota Bene Eiswein (NBE) to the printer! Thanks to Jesse Glass for requesting, then publishing, a manuscript! NBE will be released by Ahadada Books in early 2009, in time apparently for it to make its pretty face known to the public at AWP where Ahadada will have a presence. And speaking of pretty faces, here's its front cover (this seems to be as large as I can make the image so the scribbled markings against the pale blue field aren't really legible):

The cover features one of my collages entitled “Global Warming”. 'Twas inspired by the heat of flamenco, a photograph of the Barne Glacier by Seth White, and asemic writing practices to which I was introduced by the brilliant Tim Gaze. The asemic portion of the collage utilizes a symbol for “Filipino poet” as created through my 2002 “Poems Form/From The Six Directions” project. Also relevant to this collage as well as the underlying sensibility to these poems is an observation by Christian Dotremont:
“The printed sentence is like a city map: the bushes, trees, objects, and myself have disappeared.”

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I'm punchy from all the things on my huge To-Do List which I'm trying to, uh, do....during a break of skimming the news, ended up writing this for my new Trading Wall Street series:

Light                   sweet                   crude


                                    then fell

to settle at $44.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It was Paris. But in Texas.

While a banker some decade ago doing some due diligence on some power plant, or was it a mining project?, I once got lost in the night-dark country roads of Paris, for that puw-em, I know, I know: I'm being frivolous...but, hey, it was spawned by yesterday's Associated Press report that "Light, sweet crude for January delivery peaked briefly above $50 early Monday, but then fell $1.77 from Friday's level to settle at $44.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange."

It could get worse, here's another yackety-yack for Trading Wall Street that I stumbled across my messy e-desk and reconfigured. Before the market crashed, big-shot traders and other financial heavyweights were known as "Big, Swinging D_cks" and I ain't sayin' ducks, ye duckies. So:


Actually, I should retitle the above “BERNIE MADOFF”.

I know, I'm still being frivolous. But, hey, it's a visual poem (see how that male organ limps with the judicious use of the caesura?). And it's a sound poem! And it's even got "meaning"!

I'm punchy. I hope to release Galatea Resurrects soon. I need to sleep. Otherwise, the results will be an extended poetic discourse on the male organ...


Monday, December 15, 2008


One of the upsides of being so behind schedule in my life is that, for Galatea Resurrects, six more new reviews have arrived in time to be part of the next issue. So I've corrected the report on GR's Most Interesting Poetry of this date, we are pleased to note that since GR launched two years ago hoping to get enough reviewers' interest to generate as much as five reviews per issue, we have managed instead to launch 610 new reviews so far, covering 274 publishers in 15 countries. Yadda.

You straggling reviewers can still send reviews in through this coming Wednesday as it'll take me at least that long to finalize...


Sunday, December 14, 2008


Working -- finally! -- on an idea I've had for over a decade: a series of poems utilizing financial or Wall Street jargon. I want to say the idea came to the fore due to recent Wall Street & recessionary troubles -- but, actually, I may still not be following up on this were it not for the generous encouragement of John Olson who seems to consider the idea a good investment (grin).

So I've been jotting down a list of words to poeticize, like "clawback" (which refers to the long-overdue efforts in the financial industry to take back (claw back) bonuses from bankers who created stupid financial deals such as those that have cratered several banks of late), or what actually started me thinking about this project over a decade ago: "numbers crunching." When I was still working in the finance industry, I was describing my job to a girlfriend whose career is in medicine. And as I was boringly going on about financial analysis, she interrupted me to ask, "Eileen, how exactly do you crunch numbers?"

I thought it hilarious -- having taken the phrase "numbers crunching" (analyzing numbers, statistics, et al) for granted and not realizing that its literal meaning would be senseless to someone not in the finance industry. The real question, of course, is whether numbers are tasty -- and it'll take a poem to answer that!

Anyway, today, I wrote the first poem attempt in this series -- and I hadn't expected it would be a "pwoermd", but that's cool, too. Here's the inaugural poem to TRADING WALL STREET:


I would be comfortable with just the one-word poem above if published as part of the "Trading Wall Street" series (earlier working titles were "Recession" and then "Wall Street Trades"). But, when presented singly, I initially thought (since the poem is based on a real life story) of giving it a title, even a didactic title like "Pwoermd for Ex-Bear Stearns Bankers Who Ended Up at Bank of America". Or maybe a title like "2008" would suffice... until I remembered of course, the poem digging its winged elbow into moi ribs, Fughet it -- why explain?

I bother with this explanatory paragraph just because my ribs hurt and I'm glaring back at the poem: Folks would recognize the concept of "liposuction", of course. But without the reference to Wall Street, would folks recognize "LIFO" as the accounting term "last in, first out" ... which then would have a particular resonance given Bank of America's recent announcement to lay off about 35,000 workers in the next years ahead?

Anyway, I'm just cogitating. For now, I just want to thank John Olson for the power of his encouragement -- and name drop him, too, because I want to say his poetry book ECHO REGIME is brilliant...and I am looking forward to his BACKSCATTER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS. Peeps -- you all should have John Olson on your poetry bookshelves! His poems...resonate! And would provide worthwhile returns on your time and attention!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008


It's not scientific since the results are skewed by the age of the publishers (the longer they've been in business, the more books they have available for review) as well as whether publishers bother to send review copies to Galatea Resurrects(GR). But I'm a big believer in amusing moiself and it amuses Moi to post here a list of Galatea Resurrects' Most Interesting Poetry Publishers. Such is defined as the publishers who've received the most reviews so far from GR's volunteer staff of reviewers. The distinct majority of books reviewed are chosen by the reviewers themselves, rather than me as an editor pushing a particular tome. So, I think there's some anecdotal evidence as to what folks are finding interesting among poetry releases.

And now that I know which books are to be reviewed in 2008's last issue (which hopefully will be released soon), I can share this list of publishers whose books have generated at least five reviews. To wit:
Meritage Press --37 reviews
Dusie (Switzerland) --35
Ugly Duckling Presse --24
Marsh Hawk Press --23
Coffee House Press --18
BlazeVOX Books --13
Otoliths (Australia) --11
Hanging Loose Press --11
No Tell Books --10

Let Moi nota bene this: of the above nine publishers, I know that at least five (which is to say, the majority) utilize POD (print-on-demand) technology (e.g. So to the jackass who once wrote Moi that these POD-based publishers are somehow not as legitimate as those using first-run printings at the thousand-level (or 500-level) runs, your point is uninterestingly wrong (not to mention erroneously conflating *publishing* with *printing technology*).

Okay. So, the top nine above are honored for having their works receive at least ten reviews by, by, uh, lessee--how can Moi honor them? Oh, I know!-- by having links to their publishing web sites! [And she goes back to edit in the links to the above...] And then, here are the others who've managed to interest GR reviewers in writing at least five reviews of their books--also a fine achievement given that 274 publishers so far have seen their publications reviewed in GR, but with many receiving just one review:
Ahsahta Press --9 reviews
Salt Publishing (England) --9
Spuyten Duyvil --8
Moria Poetry --7
Auguste Press --6
Bamboo Books --6
Belladonna and Belladonna Books --6
effing press --6
Finishing Line Press --6
Leafe Press (England) --6
O Books --5
Presa :S: Press --5
Saturnalia Books --5
Soft Skull Press --5
Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series/University of New Mexico Press --5

The number includes "negative" reviews so this statistic is about what is interesting vs. the reductive judgment (in poetry) of what's "best".

On a related note, I'm purrrrrr-ed to realize that GR now has reviewed books by publishers in 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Finland, France, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, United States. Yay. There's room for improvement, of course, but, still, GR is meeting its goal of reflecting the internet where it parties--"in" is for INTERNATIONAL, di ba?

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I'm workin' it, workin' it! Slowly but surely, I'm working on getting out the next issue of Galatea Resurrects. Tough due to my trouble schedule (am about to leave the mountain again for a couple of days). But if you go HERE (check out right sidebar), you'll at least see the names of the reviewers so far -- I nota bene this because without the volunteer efforts of these people, Galatea Resurrects would not exist (or be extremely boring with just Moi blathering out her opinions at y'all). So thank you lovely reviewers!

And a special THANKS to poet-professor Kristin Naca over at Macalester College for making Galatea reviews be a homework assignment! This is a great idea which you teachers can emulate, if you wish. That is, check out the review copies HERE and request them from me to distribute to your students whose critical eyes you're training! And if you then deem the students' work worthy of a fine grade, I'd be happy to publish their reviews! Here at Galatea, we HEART students because we are all students and, thus, Platonic logic-wise, we HEART YOU ALL!


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I'm all a-twitter trying to figure out which small press, which poet, which work to support through this First Annual Secret Santa Gift Exchange to support independent literature!!!! What a great idea!

That purchase of course would be another addition to my BOUGHT POETRY LIST...speaking of which, here are my latest poetry purchases aided by some local Holiday Fundraisers:
IN THE MIDDLE DISTANCE by Linda Gregg--33 cents at the local library book sale. I actually already have this copy but I enjoy Gregg's poems and, for 33 cents..... Although, yes, 33 cents is a shame for purchasing a poetry book. But Gregg had it better than Kathleen Fraser whose WHEN NEW TIME FOLDS UP I happily picked up from the freebie shelf, reclining there among such other cast-offs as Gothic and cowboy romances, et al.

HOW NOW, BROWN COW? poems by Alice Schertle, illustrations by Amanda Schaffer for 50 cents at the Boys & Girls Club Book Sale (which I purchased for sending to my Philippine home village nursery school)

MARIANNE MOORE, text by Dave Page, illustrations by Tomi Ungerer for 50 cents at Boys & Girls Club Book Sale

PATRIOTIC POEMS AMERICA LOVES, anthology compiled by Jean Anne Vincent, for 10 cents at Boys & Girls Club Book Sale (Mom was curious about it)

THE NEVER-ENDING: NEW POEMS by Andrew Hudgins ($4.50 or 50% off at Main Street Books in St. Helena which focuses on used books)

MY VOCABULARY DID THIS TO ME: THE COLLECTED POETRY OF JACK SPICER, Eds. Kevin Killian and Peter Gizzi ($23.10 for a new hardcover)

TAU by Philip Lamantia & JOURNEY TO THE END by John Hoffman ($11.01 for a new paperback...I've been meaning to buy this forever; don't know what took me so long...)

May you all buy poetry publications this Holiday Season! Poetry books are usually inexpensive, but often priceless!

Hm. I should do a Holiday Sale Special for Meritage Press I will! Mention this blog post and you can purchase any of the books still on stock on the Meritage Press list at 40% off the retail price ("Tiny Books" excluded from this offer as said teensies are for a fundraiser on behalf of the worth Heifer International). Good through the end of 2008. If you want to follow up on this, just email me at

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Monday, December 08, 2008


No, I don't mean to say I won some Guggenheim award. I don't apply to them, NEA, or any other awards for poetry. This, of course, doesn't stop you from asking me to write you recommendations for these same awards. I don't mind helping out, of course, but I have to say I've always scratched my head as to why the Guggie, NEA or other folks would pay attention to my opinion....anyway, this morning, I worked on a recommendation for a Guggenheim fellowship (somewhat aware that I have to take longer than the five seconds I give to blurbs); I nota bene this only because I usually recommend poets but this is the first time a visual artist has asked me to recommend. Okay, I think, then I get this letter this weekend saying the deadline is this week. Geez: give me some notice, why dontcha! But it's not like I had anything else to do but write you people recommendations for awards which would never have the prescience to award my work, right? (Wink).

Anyway, I have to park my notes somewhere on this recommendation so I can keep working on it, ERGO I BLOG IT! -- I'm running out now to stimulate the economy from its recession-headache. So, here are the notes, which may be useful for some insight (very little insight, Moi'm sure) as to what folks say in those recommendations:
12/8 Notes
It is an honor to recommend TC for a Guggenheim Fellowship. I have followed her work for over a decade and have marveled at the various paths -- both experimental and lovely -- she has taken as an artist. Indeed, one of her paintings is reproduced on the cover for my book _____for its post-Jackson Pollock approach of allowing gravity to paint her canvas, while generating a harmonious abstract work whose patterns evoked both musical scales as well as Chinese ink brush paintings.

TC’s drawings are also unique with a strong conceptual underpinning based on current technological advancements. In both her paintings and drawings, I have admired how TC's abstractions do not hover from a distance but are very much part of the world. Paradoxically, her hand as “presence”, remains palpable in even the works that rely on chance (e.g. gravity) or technology (computer graphic capabilities).

I have paid attention to contemporary art for nearly thirty years (I wrote a book of art & poetry essays entitled MY ROMANCE, Giraffe Publishing) and occasionally write as an art critic. TC rises above many of her peers, in part by never allowing her complexly cerebral approaches from generating abstract works that not only please but often soothe (in a Zen way) the eye. Thus, as a poet as well (I’ve published 15 poetry collections to date), I have found TC's works inspirational and have written many ekphrastic homages to her.

Please feel free to contact me always if you have any questions.
Eileen Tabios


Sunday, December 07, 2008


John Bloomberg-Rissman's long poem No Sounds Of My Own Making -- which is also an extended hay(na)ku sequence -- is reprinted as a feature in the just-released issue of Reconfigurations which focuses on process. It's accompanied by an Introduction by Karla Kelsey which I mention not just because my name is innit...Anyway, while my name is interesting, the rest of the issue is more interesting so ... Go Visit, Why Dontcha!


Friday, December 05, 2008


Mira! Melissa Luna's paper presented last year in Mexico -- "El Hay(na)ku: Poesía Filipina Electrónica" -- is now available online HERE. Muchas Gracias, Melissa! (Ernesto dear, do be sure to read it, if you haven't already!)

Congratulations to Poets PictureBook for its First Year Anniversary! Salamat to Marne Kilates for all his hard work (Marne -- you still have to send me your book. So now, moi 9 billion peeps know that Marne Kilates still has to send his latest and I'm sure brillilant poetry collection to this Chatty One!)

I am so happy and THANKFUL to see this interview of the brilliant Tim Gaze, who also has been generous in teaching me about asemic writing. Purr.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008


Well now! Moi am happily reading a 10-page paper en Espanol even though I'm not Spanish-fluent. Porque, Toi asks? Porque el papel explores the hay(na)ku and was presented by Melisa last year at a "Congress" in Mexico. Her presentation apparently generated much interest and now an article based on that, with some of her translations of poemas from The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, will be published this month in Sincope. Melisa also expects to attend a Poets Festival in Yucatan this January and some hay(na)ku will be appear in said Festival's Memoirs.

Oh it's all good! Such blessings! That hay(na)ku is such a jetsetter while all I can do is live vicariously through its jet-settings. As 2008 nears to a close, here are the trips I've had to cancel this past year for a variety of reasons: Italy (Tuscany area), Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, among others...but, Hey Hay(na)ku--You Go!


Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Well, I woke up all grumpy from last night's dream -- apparently, I was shopping at Walmart, and stumbled across a stack of my book Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole in their book section. Each was deep-discounted to 50 cents per book. On the one hand, I was ecstatic to see my poetry book at Walmart--yes Ma'am I believe in poetry infiltrating huge supermarkets, and Walmart's is the largest public corporation by revenue!. On the other hand, 50 cents per?!

Fortunately, I woke up to an email from one of my devoted, loving publishers: Mark Young of Otoliths Books. Mark sez, "Have you seen THIS (scroll down)?"

I'm no longer grumpy....

Meanwhile, I moiself recently bought the following books:
DEMENTIA BLOG by Susan Schultz--gift to a friend dealing with her mom's dementia

THE ROMANTIC DOGS, poems by Roberto Bolano


NARROW ROAD TO THE INTERIOR, haibun by Matsuo Basho & Translated by Sam Hamill

Actually, Basho came free, courtesy of Copperfield Books's Black Friday special of "Buy 3, Get 1 Free". Yadda.

But I also bought WIND IN A BOX by Terrance Hayes -- significant for passing the test of being bought on its own merit (so to speak). That is, sometimes I check out books because of buzz about them, like Bolano's, or because I'm a fan of biographies, like Hall's. For Hayes, I was flipping through the poetry section of the bookstore and the poems reached up from the pages, smoooooched me, and flirted, "C'mon--don't you want to bring me home?" Well, 'twas a fabulous I brought him, er, the poems ... HOME.


Speaking of margins, "I'm a crappy gardener because of language poetry"--scroll down. As an aside, what I might admire most about Langpo are its poets' intelligence. But Pinoys who think I'm a language poet might want to think about the implications of a Filipino (let alone a Pinay) supposedly being a language poet -- such would be a rather airhead position if you want moi opinion, and of course you do, di ba?

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Whew! I finally finished an art essay I'd been trying to write for over a year. This artist wasn't any more difficult than other artists I've covered in the past....but I just hit some sort of writer's block on art-writing this year and it affected this assignment.

Then, today, I hit on the idea of writing the art prose as if it were a poem. Which is to say, down a goblet of wine, fly off the mountain and finish it before Moi landed on her purty but sore butt. It worked. The art essay is finished.

Now, I can work on Galatea Resurrects and maybe start hand-writing out those gem-like Tiny Books for which orders I've been sitting on...

...but first, another goblet please. Tonight, the 1997 R.B.J. Theological. Sip...

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Monday, December 01, 2008


Simply: swamped. So I'm extending the deadline for Galatea Resurrects' 11th Issue to this Sunday, Dec. 7, since I can't get to GR anyway until then. But not to worry, the issue should be released shortly after that.

Meanwhile, more of moi poems HERE as part of "While the He/Art Pants," the Fiera Lingue Issue Edited by Anny Ballardini and Guest-Edited by Obododimma Oha. Thanks to Anny and Obododimma. Good company includes Edward Mycue, Jared Schickling, Bill Morgan, John M. Bennett, Conrad Reeder, Tom McBride, Gerald Schwartz, Farideh Hassanzadeh-Mostafavi, Russ Golata, Evelyn Posamentier, Gina Sangster Hayman, Matt Johnson, Susan Bright, Daniel Zimmerman, Fan Ogilvie, Henry Gould, Carol Novack, Joseph Duemer, Peter Ciccariello, Spencer Selby, Eugen Galasso, Grace Cavalieri, Amy King, Halvard Johnson, Raymond Bianchi, Lars Palm, George Spencer, Bob Grumman, Wendy Taylor Carlisle, Br. Tom Murphy, Annetta L. Gomez-Jefferson, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, David Howard, Obiwu, Afam Akeh, Jim Leftwich, Charles Martin, Luc Fierens, Eileen Tabios, and Donna Pecore.

I like noting which other poets appear in any publication where my poems appear -- that context is part of my poems' lives....

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