Saturday, February 28, 2009


before heading south is an essay I'm writing for a DIY anthology-in-progress. My DIY essay incorporates my experiences with the Filipino traits of "kapwa" and "loob", my roots in the Asian American Writers Workshop, the origins of Meritage Press (an outdated link but you get the drift), why I was once very active as an editor of anthologies, and Babaylan-based cultural activism and poetics.

Now, if I would only stop futzing around with the blog, I just might finish it before I hop (I first typed "hope") on an airplane in 48 hours! Yeah.


Actually, the true last thing on my To-Do List might be driving Mom to her one-week post op appointment following cataract surgery. Listening to her in the past few days say things like "Oh, I didn't know the masks in the hallway are colored!" to "Look at how those trees have silver leaves!" to "I can read the signs now!" ... all portend a future poetry collection entitled


Look at those colors! Look at the ... Light!


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Well, po-wise, this is as much as I can do to stimulate the economy before I head south. Recently bought publications are
Dredging For Atlantis (yep, I know -- it's my book....but, mayhap you should check it out, too!)

Kali's Blade by Michelle Bautista

Jes the FYI to the blog-file...

Meanwhile, I am newly-available HERE. Hint!

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Thursday, February 26, 2009


With my "The Blue Mule: An Ad(o)aption Triptych" forthcoming over at Blue Mule (but I give you a sneak preview as the issue probably will be released when I'm out of the country), not to mention the haybun section in The Blind Chatelaine's Keys, I feel like I should state something obvious to me but possibly not to others -- that is, much of my (future) writings related to orphans and adoption will not relate to my personal situation. (For example, my son whom I've so far identified as "M" is not "Marcos" which is the name in the "Ado(a)ption Triptych" prose poem).

But I will write generally about the topic of orphans because I don't mind raising more attention to a world often invisible to many who could make a difference. The world inhabited by orphans, in many cases, is almost a parallel universe to the rest of the world going about its *usual* business. Of course I suddenly feel like an idiot in making that admission -- there are many abusive situations out there that I'm sure isn't within my attention span. The matter of orphans might not have come to my own attention if I hadn't embarked on an adoption journey nearly two years ago.

And that I specifically looked to adopt an "older" child or children gave rise to a different layer of issues than what comes up with infant/toddler adoption. "Older", here, is defined as kids older than 6/7 years old.

And that I ended up dealing with children in an institutional (orphanage) versus foster family setting gave rise to yet another layer of issues.

So while Moi's been busily coming off in this blog as releasing one poetry publication after another while tippling from the wine bottles, for nearly two years "I" actually have been walking about, stunned, jaw painfully grazing the floor, as I go from one situation to another learning about these children's lives. Let me tell you let me tell you: It would be difficult to overstate the FURY I feel over how many of these children have ended up in their situations.

The estimates I've seen range from 33 million to over 200 million children worldwide having been orphaned. It's a huge range, but a lot depends on who does the counting or how the count is made. In one country whose adoption policies I researched, children have to be registered at birth. But the biological parents are often too poor (or in a place of not caring due to substance abuse) to register the children. These kids then become almost invisible to the government, thereby not eligible for adoption or government support. They are often homeless on the streets....and if anyone feeds them, it's often international religious organizations who don't need to see the paper of their birth certificates to know that they exist.

Partly from not having parented before, I had no particular reason to investigate how a human being's psychological growth rests so much on the physicality of nurturing. That if a baby is neglected, that part of the baby's brain that will come to affect future relationships -- to make relationships possible! -- might not develop in a healthy manner. Many of these babies then grow up to be "older" children who, if in large group homes or orphanages (with often insufficient resources for caretakers and other support), will rarely have their development issues addressed by the available care. When, in The Blind Chatelaine's Keys' haybun section I quote a child care worker as saying, "In the orphanages, we are breeding millions of serial murderers”, the reference partly relates to attachment disorders that are created by the lack of responsible parenting/nurturing of children.

The flawed policies as regards foster care, the lack of support for the parenting of mentally-ill children, and the invisibility of many orphans' plights are ... devastating.

In future writings, I may be compelled to raise these issues (perhaps, in a modest way, to attempt to raise attention to the lives of orphans). But please do not extrapolate from my writings to believe that I am adopting a child to "save" that child or that I'm behaving altruistically to do that child a favor. One adopts to create a family, and there are many ways to create families: I didn't adopt a child to be a do-gooder but to become a mother. I just, you know, felt like saying that since ... I doubt that "The Blue Mule: An Ad(o)aption Triptych" will be the last orphan-related poem you'll see from me.

Also, there are many different stories within the world of orphans and adoption and I don't intend for any of my descriptive phrases above to be all-encompassing proclamations.

Thank you for listening.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Okay, it's official. I've extended the deadline for the next issue of Galatea Resurrects to April 30, 2009. The good news is that this will give some of you more time to do reviews!

And if you wish to receive review copies before I leave for South America, let me know by the end of this week! List of review copies HERE.



Please pardon Moi while I interrupt Moi's regularly-scheduled programming to give Advance Warning to ye Oenophiles: as part of an auction to raise funds for scholarships to Barnard College, Galatea is donating the following item to an upcoming auction that will take place April 15-May 7, 2009 viz Charity Buzz. This special item is:

A bottle each of the 1997 Screaming Eagle, 1997 Harlan, 1997 Bryant Family, 1997 Colgin Herb Lamb Vineyard, 1997 Abreu Madrona Vineyard and 1997 Araujo Eisele Vineyard. Cellared impeccably since release. (All rated 100 or near 100 by wine guru Robert Parker).

If you're in the wine-know, you know that it is very difficult to get all of the above bottles in one package. So participate in the auction ... but be forewarned, too, that the highest online bid will just become the entry bid in the live auction during the actual Scholarship Gala & Auction dinner on April 29 at Gustavino's in New York City. So bid high for this special lot!

Barnard being so special, there are other special lots available, like Shepard Fairey's "Be the Change" Official Inauguration Poster. Check it out!

As much as over half of Barnard College's students receive scholarships -- I was one of them. I'm happy to be supportive...EDUCATION IS A GOOD THING!

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is useful for a poet. So I'm scratching moi purty head wondering if impending motherhood means I have to stop considering the kitchen an art gallery and those various kitchen implements to be sculptures.

Speaking of different perspectives, do I actually have to state this obvious fact, to wit:


So there, Poetry Critics. Rest Easy...there are great poets out there existing to stimulate the saving of your jobs!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Well now. Sure says something about how far Galatea Resurrects has gone that it's also publishing, as of next issue, reviews of literary theories. Why not? Such amuses Moi the Editor -- and if there's one overriding editorial standard by which Moi abides, it's her amusement. So here's an excerpt from a forthcoming review of Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed by Mary Klages:
in discussing Cixous’ theory of l’ecriture feminine she describes this as “milk, it’s a song, it’s something with rhythm and pulse, but no words, something connected with bodies and with bodies’ beats and movements, but not with representational language.”(103)

Milk, it's a song... Lovely language indeedy.

Speaking of Galatea Resurrects, I'll have to adjust the release of the next issue to accommodate South America, as it looks like I'll leave the continent next Tuesday and be away for about a month-and-a-half. Details to follow...


Sunday, February 22, 2009


Hah! A moment to CELEBRATE!

Celebrate what, Toi asks? Moi cheerfully replies after having slobbered through doing taxes:
2008 is my first profitable year as a poet!

By poet, I mean my activities not just related to my poems but in terms of what I feel I should do as a poet, e.g. Meritage Press. Anyway, check out my summary Income Statement:
TOTAL REVENUES             $9,117.92
TOTAL COSTS             $6,996.23
NET PROFIT            $2,121.69

Woot! California and federal budget deficits -- here Moi comes with taxes for your deficits! It's always us poetry publishers stepping up to the plate when Citibank and General Motors fail to stimulate us all!

And the result compares favorably with the prior year, to wit:
TOTAL REVENUES             $7,721.88
TOTAL COSTS             $14,027.17
NET LOSS             ($6,305.29)

Big improvement, yah? Particularly since I stopped all public appearances these past couple of years and, you know, such usually yields humongous reading fees (yeah, right). Anyway, I'd say I got a positive money-result because I was able to nearly halve my book production costs through the judicious use of short-run printers or print-on-demand technology. I had blogged earlier that poetry sales went down, which is the case; the higher revenues was boosted significantly by the sales of STAGE PRESENCE, a performing arts anthology that I published. But I'll take that subsidy for moi poetry titles!

So let's see what the 2009 economy brings.... I suspect my financials actually won't be that bad, but that'd be because I'm reducing the number of titles I'm likely to publish in 2009 and book production costs are always the major expense.

In any event, while I'm not pulling the plug at all on Meritage Press, I'm also in the middle of reviewing how to move it forward. The current distribution set-up for most small press poetry simply does not work. But we poet-publishers knew that, yah? That's why the non-profits among us apply for grants. But being a private press, I just opt for the wine industry to subsidize the poetry. After all, pain is always eased by...uh, wine!

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Friday, February 20, 2009


Thank you poet-wine-lover Allen for noting Nota Bene Eiswein!


Thursday, February 19, 2009


Steven Fama (who, as a non-poet discerning reader of poems is so needed by the poetry world!) offers the world premier of some fabulous prose poems by John Olson. RUN TO HERE to read and snort along with Moi along some hilarious lines like--
Greetings. I just received your considerable missile. And I agree. Your personality has nothing to do with you.

In answer to your last question, yes. Check under the counter. You should find the manual there among some old potatoes, apple juice, iron and Neptune.

When I was in the mountains, in solitude, I was obliged to be in continual burning of thought as an only resource. That’s when I grew accustomed to the obscurities of my own silly head. And sought means to get it out and down on paper where it might assume light and scope and crumbs of knowledge.

The process of writing these poems is also a very interesting read. And, okay, I confess that the third excerpt above bears special meaning to me. Reading moiself into it, I see exactly the process of Moi living on Galatea and coming to blog at the order for me to be light-headed, you see, I gotta get those "obscurities [out] of my own silly head"!

Know John Olson's poems and ye be blessed, I tell you in a non-silly toast ...



The lovely Marsh Hawk Press just released the second issue of its literary journal, Marsh Hawk Review. This issue is edited by the equally lovely Thomas Fink. The review is under the revolving editorship of the Marsh Hawk collective members -- right now, I'm scheduled to edit the second issue of 2010. But let Moi not insert moiself precipitously here -- read instead the current issue featuring these lovelies:

William Allegrezza
Tom Beckett
Sigman Byrd
Patricia Carlin
Jennifer Kwon Dobbs
Denise Duhamel
Kristen Gallagher
Noah Eli Gordon
Carlos Hiraldo
Amy King
Basil King
Mary Mackey
Sandy McIntosh
Stephen Paul Miller
Sheila E. Murphy
Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan
Akilah Oliver
Tim Peterson
Sean Singer
Juanita Torrence-Thompson
Geoffrey Young
Mark Young


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Rushing around preparing for my trip to South America (heh). Among other things, this trip means I'll probably extend the submission deadline for the next issue of Galatea Resurrects by at least a couple of months (I'll post more on it later); meanwhile, if any of you are interested in doing a review, please know I'm only here to snailmail you review copies for another 2-3 weeks. So you might want to check out GR's List of Available Review Copies now and email moi at

Meanwhile, amidst the flurries, I did manage to fit in one interview by a Netherlands-based Peep (love the transnationalism of the internet!) -- here's an excerpt from the interview that should be out next week:


Question: In "The Light Sang as It Left Your Eyes", there's a strong connection to history in particular the Martial Law Era. I found it interesting how in sections you identified yourself as a daughter of the dictator, would you like to expound a bit more on this?

I’ve just always been curious as how to a child reconciles with having a dictator as a parent—and particularly a very intelligent child (or so she seems to me) like Marcos’ eldest daughter, Imee Marcos. The poet-scholar-critic Thomas Fink, who was actually once a classmate of Imee at Princeton University, recently finished an essay on my poems and cited the primary poem in my book “The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes”. That poem is entitled “What Can A Daughter Say?” and has the persona weaving back and forth between being “Eileen” the author and Imee. The poem collages some statements Imee has made about her father’s legacy, and some of the statements come off as an apologist’s, but compassion surely has relevance here if a person is talking about a beloved parent? Fink states, in part:
Most obviously, Eileen “is” Imee to the extent that both are Filipina daughters of Filipino fathers. The central (male) political figure of a country assumes the symbolic position of that nation’s “father,” and in a household conforming to patriarchal arrangements, the father is the “leader.” In her formative years, a daughter would experience a father’s impact in ways comparable to how a nation’s citizens would be influenced by their president or dictator. But these are just preliminary generalizations.

When Tabios collages what Imee Marcos says, she underscores the problem of articulation in the prose poem’s title. For Imee, herself a member of the Philippines’ House of Representatives from 1998 to 2007, to acknowledge her father’s prodigious thievery and other crimes against Filipinos would be incredibly difficult.

(Tabios has never met Imee. In 1975 the dictator’s daughter and I sat next to each other for a semester in the front row [center] of Professor D.W. Robertson’s Chaucer class at Princeton; I sat on the left and Imee on the right. We agreed that Robertson was hard to hear. Whenever the professor let out a marvelously eccentric laugh while explicating off-color passages in The Canterbury Tales, Imee and I turned to each other and smiled. When we once asked each other’s majors and I heard that hers was Politics, I said, “That makes sense.”)

Long after a collective judgment has been rendered on her father, Imee Marcos wishes to defer assessment. Imee’s appeal for Filipinos to “‘study. . . the Marcos era,/ before, during, the Martial Law period,/ applying intellectual rigor over emotion,/ scholarship, not partisanship’” uses the rhetoric of disinterested research to mask the vexation she must feel about hearing her father condemned. She does not interrogate a basis for objectivity in assessing historical causality or account for the role of one’s subject position in developing interpretations. When Tabios responds to the passage above, “How much do we need to know to master the past?” one can ponder the difference between the verb “master” and the verb “understand.” In Nietzschian terms, Imee does not admit her “will to power” in invoking historical analysis, which can depend more on not knowing and/or evading knowledge than on presenting what one knows:

Then Mr. Fink goes on to cite excerpts from the poem quoting some statements Imee has made about her father’s legacy:
She says, “Exile has been merciful/ [for allowing me to] remember/ my father as well,/ strong, playful and brilliant.” . . .

She says about being “a child of a dictator”—“I don’t remember.” . . .

She says, “I think it should be clear/ that to torture was never/ a matter of policy./ He didn’t order the military/ to do these things.” . . .

She says, “Martial Law/ was like/ another lifetime.”

So, obviously, the position of being the daughter to someone who’s vilified as a dictator is a very complicated one. And I am attracted, as a poet, to complicated—often unresolvable—positions.

Question: "The Blind Chatelaine's Keys" provides a very intimate view into the process of adoption. I was wondering if you'd ever considered writing a memoir on the process (aside from what's in “The Blind Chatelaine’s Keys”). (On aside, I really like the honesty in "The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes" and “The Blind Chatelaine’s Keys”.) Have you ever considered writing a memoir and offering it to a major publisher?

I actually once tried to write a memoir which was more structured to be more commercial (I even had promising discussions about it with a major trade publisher). It relates to my move from New York City to Napa Valley and how in Napa I’m trying to build a home called “Galatea” wherein would lie the intersection of “nature, art, poetry and wine converg[ing] with much love.” If that phrase sounds familiar, that’s because that’s also the tag to my primary blog at Given the humongous successes of wine- and/or country-house-related books based in Provence and Tuscany, and now the wine areas of other parts of the world, I thought a wine country-related memoir would do well financially (and I could use the proceeds to finance my mostly poetry-publishing press Meritage Press!). I haven’t yet finished the book partly due to time. But I also have set it aside because I sense I’m not ready to do it in the way I wish to do it, which is to integrate poetry into the project while still retaining the interest of an imagined reader who might have come to the book out of interest in wine and other matters besides poetry.

This is also to say I think it’s premature for me to be writing memoirs except relatively narrow, specialized ones. But I suspect that, at the end of the day, I’m not really interested in revealing that much about my life (except for, as I said, specialized areas like the intersection of wine and poetry into what I call “wine poetics”). This may seem ironic given my work in biography—but if you take a look at that work, it’s to disrupt the form of (auto)biography rather than because I feel I have such an interesting life that it’s worth writing a book about it.

That’s one of the things Poetry’s taught me: the Paradox.


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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

WHEN "MOI" BECOMES ... "MOM"!!!!!!

After nearly two years, a punishing travel schedule involving three countries, new snow appearing on moi purty head, innumerable discussions with lawyers/counselors in three languages, making too many people wince with moi mangled espanol, and ... some unexpected, almost-unbearable heartbreaks along the way, I am nearly there.

Nearly there, of course, isn't the same as there, there. What is that there, Toi asks? There -- to wit:

A veritable HOT MAMA indeedy! You will note there the lack of many details, such as the subject's name, on that nesting blog. That is all for a reason, and which I will be ECSTATIC to clarify when MY SON MY SON MY SON -- have I mentioned I have a new SON! -- will be safely ensconsed on Galatea. We hope that will happen by the end of April.


I'll be going to South America to complete the adoption -- I will be out of the country in the March-April timeframe as the process will require my presence there for 4-6 weeks. This will affect a number of projects -- I will write more specific emails to those affected.

This also means I've got two, perhaps three, more weeks available in the U.S. and possibly the internet. If you need to chat with Moi now, do it ... now!


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Monday, February 16, 2009

2008 Meritage Press Annual Holiday Poetry Contest

Meritage Press is delighted to announce the result of the 2008 Meritage Press Holiday Poetry Contest, judged by Bino A. Realuyo. Only one poem was chosen this year:
First Place: “Letras Y Figuras” by Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr.

While information on the contest winner is available at, the winning poem itself may be seen at (in order for the poem's correct format to be presented).

ABOUT THE WINNING POET: Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr. has been a fellow for poetry in various writers' workshops in the Philippines. His poems and stories have been published in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Mud Luscious, Sunday Inquirer Magazine, Philippines Free Press, and other journals and anthologies. He is currently working as a freelance writer and publicist.


2008: Rodrigo V. Dela Pena Jr. (Judge: Bino A. Realuyo)
2007: Naya S. Valdellon & Marcel L. MiIliam (Judge: Eric Gamalinda)
2006: Joel M. Toledo (Judge: Michelle Bautista)
2005: Arkaye Velasquez Kierulf (Judge: Jean Vengua)
2004: Joel H. Vega (Judge: Sarah Gambito)
2003: Luisa A. Igloria (Judge: Patrick Rosal)
2002: Naya S. Valdellon & Michella Rivera-Gravage (Judge: Oliver de la Paz)
2001: Carlomar Arcangel Daoana (Judge: Nick Carbo)

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Sunday, February 15, 2009


Well now. Apparently the second printing (grin) of MY NOVEL (grin) is due to stuff up moi country lane mailbox this week.

So those waiting for their copies should get it soon....and those still interested in seeing what the hoo-haa is about can still email me for a free copy viz This tiny novel has traveled to nine (Update: eleven!) countries so far ... tiny but big-hearted!

Thanks to Amanda Laughtland for her literally manual press!


Friday, February 13, 2009


No surprise: poetry sales plummeted in 2008 and continue to fall -- certainly based on the results of Meritage Press whose tax-related stuff I'm in the midst of preparing.

At the same time, submission queries rose to the press. Ach, Poetry -- ye paradox!

I hope peeps are actually BUY-ing books at AWP. The last time I was there, I was helping to manage Marsh Hawk Press' table at its Bookfair. On the last day, the guy across the aisle from me motioned me over. I guess he'd been watching me schmooze and ooze during the event (and I earlier had bought a couple of books from his press) and gleaned my very sincere love for poetry (very sincere!). So, he motioned me over, spread his arms like wings benefacting over his still laden table, and offered, "You can have it all if you want."

I wanted -- I took ALL of the books from his table and took them back all to poetry book heaven.

As for the rest of youse: Now look -- you still have the rest of the month to avail yourself of the Release Special of Housecat Kung Fu by Geoffrey Gatza. Just look forward to the holidays or birthdays of some child you know. There is no better present! Just this morning, someone who had the prescience to order a copy emailed: "it is an instant love affair...and i don't fall in love so easily. i reached for it first thing this morning and now this old lion is smiling..."

And, I try to do my bit but....sigh. Anyway, here's my own latest list of books I bought recently by poets:
LENINGRAD: AMERICAN WRITERS IN THE SOVIET UNION, memoir by Ron Silliman, Bruce Watten, Michael Davidson and Lyn Hejinian


SOULS OF WIND, novel by John Olson

NOTA BENE EISWEIN by Moi (bought my own newly-released book from Ahadada Books, Tokyo & Toronto, soon available at SPD -- go gO GO!)

THE BLIND CHATELAINE'S KEYS (Am I the biggest customer of my own books? Well, wait -- that's hardly unusual in poetry, is it? she notes mischievously...and soon available at SPD -- go gO GO!)

So. That was exhausting....


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Thursday, February 12, 2009


Conjuration List Poem

St. Helena
San Francisco
Los Angeles
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
Santo Tomas
Santo Tomas
San Francisco
St. Helena
St. Helena
San Francisco
St. Helena
Napa City
St. Helena
New York
San Francisco
Internet for "20 Hour Course"
St. Helena
St. Helena
Santa Rosa
St. Helena
Santa Rosa
St. Helena
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
Napa City
St. Helena
St. Helena
St. Helena
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
New York
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
New York
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
St. Helena
San Francisco
St. Helena
St. Helena
San Francisco



Seeing the book cover of Geoffrey Gatza's Housecat Kung Fu perkily perched atop Ron Silliman's blog today reminds me of two end-of-February deadlines:
Special Release Offer for Housecat Kung Fu


Special Release Offer for NOTA BENE EISWEIN

Click on links for details. To meet the deadline, your mail needs to be postmarked by end of February (vs, arrive here by end of February).

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I am often penitent after writing a poem.

Says something about my poetic process, but said something is private. What I blog about is Donatello's The Penitent Mary Magdalene (1425) in the Cathedral Museum of lovely Florence:

So, maybe (hopefully) someone can help me out. I'd love for the above image to be on the cover of my forthcoming THE THORN ROSARY: SELECTED PROSE POEMS 1998-2010. Is this image, perhaps because of its age, available for free nowadays? Or is it the photograph whose copyright should concern me?

Alternatively, is anyone visiting the Cathedral Museum this year? Want to take a photograph that I can replicate on the book cover? Florence is always lovely to visit!

(Email Moi at


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Mardi May, Sally Clarke, Amanda Jackson, Paula Jones and Janet Jackson are members of the ksp poets in Australia. They are participants in the forthcoming THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU PROJECT and Sally just sent me this letter:
Thought you would like to know that our Chained Hay(na)ku has developed a life of its own, in association with a wonderful art exhibition, "On Fire", presented at the Mundaring Arts Centre, here in the Hills area, east of Perth, Western Australia. // Acknowledgement for your anthology // Appeared alongside Merrick Belyea's "Front", Mundaring Arts Centre WA, "On Fire" Art Exhibition. Curated by Catherine Czerw. 6 February to 8 March 2009.

Wonderful news -- that's the only fire I am happy to hear as regards Australia....check it out you Australian peeps!


Monday, February 09, 2009


So, dear Filipino poet, wouldn't you like to have your name replace that blank below for 2008? Look at the stellar company!

2008[-9]: _______________ (Judge: Bino A. Realuyo)
2007: Naya S. Valdellon & Marcel L. MiIliam (Judge: Eric Gamalinda)
2006: Joel M. Toledo (Judge: Michelle Bautista)
2005: Arkaye Velasquez Kierulf (Judge: Jean Vengua)
2004: Joel H. Vega (Judge: Sarah Gambito)
2003: Luisa A. Igloria (Judge: Patrick Rosal)
2002: Naya S. Valdellon & Michella Rivera-Gravage (Judge: Oliver de la Paz)
2001: Carlomar Arcangel Daoana (Judge: Nick Carbo)

Which is all to say, this is a reminder that the deadline for participating in the EIGHTH ANNUAL HOLIDAY POETRY CONTEST, BELATED though it may be, is this Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009!


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Here's the thing -- I have wondered if The Blind Chatelaine's Keys would ever get a review, partly because so many potential reviewers are in the book! But to my preening delight (and humility at how the Poetry Angels sometimes stop pissing on me), moi keychain's got a review today by Joey Madia in New Mystics! It begins:
Chatelaine (chain)—A set of short chains on a belt worn by women and men for carrying keys, thimble and/or sewing kit, etc. (from Wikipedia)

Kapwa”—a Filipino cultural concept of interconnectedness whereby other people are not “others” but part of what one is. (from the opening page; emphasis in original)


Dostoyevsky and Freud put forth the notion that it is impossible for an autobiography to reveal the Truth because of our penchant for self-delusion and both positive and negative exaggeration. Aldous Huxley seemed to agree, saying: “there is never a one-to-one correspondence between an author’s work and his character.”

If poetry, like all writing, is a form of autobiography, then the path to the Truth is lined with thorns and nails and broken glass, at the end of which are myriad locks. ENTIRE REVIEW HERE.

Thank you Joey...but I also must draw attention to the last paragraph which specifically applauds BlazeVOX Books for publishing the book. Yes. Yes. Only the most weird, I mean, truly innovative (grin) publisher would have taken a risk on something like The Blind Chatelaine's Keys. Thank you, you blazingly wide-eyed and radiant publisher!


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Sunday, February 08, 2009


On the Flips Listserve, some discussion on mainstream publishing (vs, cough, poetry publishing). Since, while a poet, I also am now a novelist (grin), I deem moiself an expert on such a topic. So, in response to this TIME Magazine article about Modern Book Publishing and Culture (see link below), I suggested in an email entitled " you can be a famous mainstream writer", and replicate here:

Ahhhh....this aspect! So one of the questions, logically, is -- especially as more authors do the smart thing and publish their own works by leveraging off technological advancements -- how one rises from the soup of so many offerings out there. One way is grass roots, as described in the TIME Magazine article, where word-of-mouth can bring attention to a deserving work that initially was self-published but then ended up getting an agent, a mainstream publisher and so on. But, certainly, one can be more proactive. Here's my idea -- a revision of the AMERICAN IDOL talent contest television show! Of, I should say just IDOL since I think the IDOL idea is not original or unique to the U.S....

Anyway, what if we have a GLOBAL LITERARY IDOL talent show conducted through the internet. Anyone can first audition by sending in the first chapter of the novel. These could be whittled down, as they do on IDOL, to the most promising (perhaps by a judge of established literary authors -- please, no Paula equivalent, okay?)....and then, the whole internet world can participate! The semi-finalists or finalists can keep posting subsequent chapters. After each chapter, the internet audience votes....and so on until a winner is declared (presumably, many but not all of the chapters would have been posted so that the winner then would still have the entire book to release....and it'll be released to much attention and curiosity about it based on the IDOL-whittling down process....

And, like the T.V. IDOL, the beauty of this talent contest is how it creates the audience by the time the (winning) book is to be released and it, economically, probably isn't that expensive to do ....

Laugh if you have no vision. Personally, I think this idea would work! Feel free to co-opt, ye struggling mainstream publishers!

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Saturday, February 07, 2009


Call me idealistic but...I've been checking out poetry books from my local library recently. Some are reflected in my recent reading lists. I get tired of seeing the library deaccession poetry books, or refuse to take donated poetry books for their permanent collection. I figger they behave this way partly from lack of demand. So, if I start checking out poetry books, they should perceive that the demand for poetry is rising, right? Fine, today you can call me Missy Drop-in-the-Bucket...

...and in case you wish to read my books, you AWP attendees, they're at the Marsh Hawk Press table as well as the Ahadada table. Meanwhile, here's my latest Relished W(h)ine List:

eight clumps of bok choy

two thick and two skinny clumps of purple kale

one clump of Red Velvet lettuce

four clumps of either lettuce or kale

54 Meyer lemons

BOOK LEFT OPEN IN THE RAIN, poems by Barry Schwabsky


AND HOW TO END IT, poems by Brian Clements

FOR LOVE OF AN ARMADILLO, poems by Didi Menendez, illustrations by Jeremy Baum

POLYTHEOGAMY, poems by Timothy Liu and paintings by Greg Drasler


A TOAST IN THE HOUSE OF FRIENDS, poems by Akilah Oliver

INSTANTS, poems by Philip Metres

WEAVING THE LIGHT, poems by Mary Ruth Donnelly

A STRANGER'S TABLE, poems by Anne Brooke

LENINGRAD: AMERICAN WRITERS IN THE SOVIET UNION, 1991 collective memoir by Michael Davidson, Lyn Hejinian, Ron Silliman and Barrett Watten (it was odd for me to read through this book as my read kept being interrupted by flashbacks of my own late-1990s visits to the Soviet Union, trips that -- except for Buddhist Siberia -- are arguably the *GRAY-est* experiences of my life. Gray coats, gray landscapes, gray sky, gray food....GRAY. Gray people: I was advised not to smile when I was out in public so as not to stand out; this advice was proferred by some of the warmest people I know who, in the privacy of their own homes (gray apartment buildings) freely showed their liveliness. The solidity of the color GRAY, along with the significance of the non-existence of objects (e.g. nothing to buy) were resonant. The writers in LENINGRAD were correct to be moved to meditate on the implications of the object's non-existence. Insert flashback here of a request to bring bags of split peas and other rare commodities to Russia... Of course, it was after their and my trips that the Russian noveau riche would come to extend the brass of supreme billions -- but this might be foretold by the paradoxically humorous existence of something called "Women Admirers of the Jeff Koons Club". I don't know -- I need to reread this as I kept reading myself instead of much of the words. Meanwhile, okay, I guess I glean (without knowing if I'm correct) the precursor to THE GRAND PIANO Langpo project...)

ANTHOLOGY SPIDERTANGLE, visual poetry anthology edited by mIEKAL aND


TAKING TURNS, art monograph by Sharon Louden


THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD, history by David Laskin

THE HARD WAY, novel by Lee Child

THE BROKEN WINDOW, novel by Jeffery Deaver

ORCHID BEACH, novel by Stuart Woods

TAKEOVER, novel by Lisa Black

INTO THE FIRE, novel by Suzanne Brockmann

DARK RIVERS OF THE HEART, novel by Dean Koontz

1989 Remelluri Rioja Gran Reserva
1998 Dalla Valle Maya
1990 Elio Altare Arborina Barolo
Chambers Fine Muscat Solera Blend
1990 Domaine de Marcoux CNP
2005 B Cellars Blend 25 NV
1989 La Mission Haut Brion
1990 La Tour Blanche
Etoile rose sparkling wine



Friday, February 06, 2009


            (writ during John Williams performing Stanley Myers' "Cavatina" on guitar)

I was hijacked into Poetry. But from that instant, Poetry also took care of me.

This week, I received a major rejection....only to discover later in the week that a major boon would not have been possible without that earlier rejection.

In Poetry, the poet always wins the poker game if the poet always bets the entire pot and more, especially objects not owned or known.

Listen: in Poetry, I have voluntarily leapt off all the cliffs I've come across (though not initially from courage but from thumbing one's nose at the world). Not once -- not once! -- have I never not flown.

Listen to me, Young Poet. There are all sorts of bees and other insects ever buzzing about. Ignore them -- your standards need to be higher than whatever artificial thresholds these bees concoct.

Listen to me, Young Poet. The Muse is yourself. So be the best that you can be. Poetry is ethical -- no hipster will ever tell you that. So make sure that s/he staring back at you from that mirror is not who you are, but who you want to be.

Then punch that Ideal so that you will never have to imagine a sharp edge slicing into your skin, the slide of a blood drop elongating itself across a knuckle, the taste of your inner self as you suck on the wound, the sense of invasion as a small shard slips among and within the pink fronds of your unprotected tongue...and the ensuing power of rejecting its invasion.

Experience wine and its cousins, Young Poet, so that you will learn how to deal with what you cannot control....but later, under a stark noonday sun, fashion their memory into something you crafted: an existence possible only because you also exercised deliberate control.

Then listen to me, Old Poet. It is never too late to forsake regret for joy. The beauty of the page is how it consistently fails to translate the staleness of breath. Listen to me, Old Poet: if your poverty means no treatment for cataracts or glaucoma, but you have been true to Poetry, oh Old Poet: you shall fail to see the smallness of that needle's eye.

Here, now, is a deceptively manicured hand slitting your computer screen to approach your cheek...and, later, wherever else you will guide it to go....

Take my hand, slip it within your own. Shiver (Honey, I know....).

Honey, Poetry always knows.




right the Netherlands no less (grin)...




I love the book more and more as I read through it: here's another facet from Barry Schwabsky's book left open in the rain (first published in Vincent Katz's Vanitas):

Disassembled flame
"moving at summer's pace"
how we kiss tunes straight
until they sound like practice
float a rhythm over pennywise drones
the ionized outer cone conducts

Venus crosses sun -- amazing pictures
that clock was exactly right
a poem whose subject so transcendently nondescript
was always just somewhere
however wronged

decriminalized, let's keep it cruel
the poor can only smoke
we'll make like trustafarians in the tropic of ease.

It's raining as I blog this -- how purrrrrr-fect. The epigraph to the book?
I can study rain.
--Robert Johnson


With this book, I also realize that Barry must have met Eric Gamalinda somewhere there in the Musica Universalis....that's sumthin'...


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...I drank wine
of immoral bouquet: sea foam,
midday drizzle, ash of poppies, copperas,
mustard. Then I stopped arriving
and the eye-burn
stopped happening.
--from "Immigrant"

Diamond brilliance is measured by Return of Light.... Return of light is the amount of light returned through the top of the diamond and directed at the beholder.
--Leo Schachter

When I published Barry Schwabsky's first book OPERA: POEMS 1981-2002, I always knew that OPERA was just an opening. Publishing OPERA was a unique experience -- without diminishing its marvels, I concede that I felt releasing OPERA was also a condition precedent for keying open the door into something else: I thought Barry had a certain future book in him and I wanted to see it. That it has happened ("Praise the Lord!") and, viz Brooklyn Rail/Black Square Editions, it is

book left open in the rain

It is early February and I suspect this will be one of my favorite reads of the year. Probably, ever. The poems are so breathtakingly beautiful it hurts to feel them (suddenly, as the banal-ridden poet proffers, It hurts to feel). From "DIARY OF A POEM",
she loves the sound of breaking chains

as in this excerpt from "ways to make a man feel like an unemployed hearse driver who had had a little trouble with the higher powers" (first published by Kevin Killian's/Dodie Bellamy's Mirage#4 Period(ical)), with John Williams' "Cavatina" from Warning Guitar the perfect background for typing:

Fertility and other stories told
in once-contracted eyes now dilate

in the shadows of a shadow
where closer music listens in

to strangely muddled colors
wet a page left intentionally blank

with something half past endless.
Pleasure? To be continued:

Cut. The trouble with being
is not wanting to until

we hear the children listen hard
to stuttered music. A face breaks

into private laughter. Ask my
bones if they can please you.


Behind brushed hair catch a whiff
of possible futures. Belly yours.

Again. Mouth open sky.
Again. Wet fingers wet corners

of a page left intentionally blank.
Is this your body? Membrane

soaked with almosts. Delicious
blood or an eye unstuck. Begin

generic shadow weather,
Mrs. Blue Skies -- translationese

for music pushed through blown
speakers. Slow-burning when I do you

this ode to distraction, invisible
and certified real as the day.


Once, I lived for a year in a penthouse apartment in New York City. Each night, the views out of the windows presented city lights. Miles' Seven Steps to Heaven emanating from the computer speakers encourage me to recall how I could feel hands lengthen to penetrate glass and start plucking from the city skyline to form a diamond necklace. Barry Schwabsky's book left open in the rain is that same necklace -- to wear it is to feel ice burn flesh; with no reservations, I wear it. These poems should lie (pun intended) attached to unarmored skin.

Withdrawn like a god fed on lilies
crossing over into myself
in breath stained with images
I'll take time to tell the truth

that day scatters, night collects
crickets creak like used-up thoughts
between facing
mirrors light spreads wings


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Thursday, February 05, 2009


Chuckle. I got a Peep to purchase the copy of Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole that was up for a penny at Amazon, per moi prior post. Thankee, Peep.

BUT. I think this means that, so far, I've found it easier to sell a poetry book for a penny than to give it away gratis. Poetry, ye paradox...


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Insomnia led me to peruse Mel Vera Cruz's photographs of lemons. Here's one:

Yah. I guess they be organic lemons. Now, check out this close-up--what part of the human body does said close-up remind you of?

Oh, Peeps: I love it when your minds wallow in the gutter....

I also appreciate this visual manifestation of an aspect of moi poetics that Alfred "Krip" Yuson, in blurbing Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole, once articulated as:
Much of Eileen Tabios' poetry hits us right in the gut. Or should we say groin, since it is at once scintillating, skittish and seductive. Primal in its experimentation, fugitive in its tactile manipulation of recalcitrance and romance, ultimately there blooms a hardcore quality to her corpus' radical engagements.

I know one of you picked up Reproductions... when I said Amazon has a used copy available for a penny; surely this post will make one of you go hardcore and liberate the other copy that's still available at that obscene price.

Mom, btw, detests Krip's blurb. I, however, giggle. Oh how I love to be amused....


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Wednesday, February 04, 2009


So, wouldn't you like to celebrate the historic Barack Obama presidency by having something in common with the Obama's personal library? That is, a copy of the equally-historic Housecat Kung Fu by Geoffrey Gatza has been sent to Mommy-in-Chief Michelle Obama as a gift to Malia and Shasha.

You, too, can now have this fabulous "Strange Poems for Wild Children"....and at a discounted SPECIAL RELEASE OFFER price, no less!

Whatchoo waiting for? Go on! Before the Obama Honeymoon ends, collapsing under the weight of the falling economy and a ridiculously-politicized first-response-Stimulus-plan! Remember: to acquire this book is ALSO to stimulate our economy!

Seriously -- how many poetry-for-children books don't talk down to children? That's why Housecat Kung Fu: Strange Poems for Wild Children also will interest adults! Check it out or I'll send a kitty to conduct martial arts on your door!


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Monday, February 02, 2009


Thought I'd take a photo of NOVEL CHATELAINE on moi hand, because its Tiny-ness is part of its charm, courtesy of Amanda Laughtland's book design--to wit, in Ron Silliman's words: "Seven chapter, 8-page novel with great color graphics ingeniously printed on a single piece of 20-lb weight copy paper":

More joy! Here's John Olson -- who, by the way, brilliantly used one of the Oulipo N + 7 techniques to respond to Steven Fama's fun reworking of Elizabeth Alexander's inaugural poem HERE -- as regards my first novel (grin):
Your novel arrived in the mail yesterday. I hope to have the first chapter read by mid-February, maybe March.

Just kidding, of course. I read it as soon as it emerged from the envelope. What a delight. It has a certain tragi-comical zest. A shovel breaking earth and a neglected garden and a plot in which tendons bend and bones bend and antlers bear the gold of narration. It is rather amazing how much gestalt and atmosphere can be condensed into a few small paragraphs.

Are you familiar with Yasunari Kawabata's "palm stories"? Or Ernest Hemingway's six word novel? "For sale: baby shoes. Never used."

Oddly, your novel reminded me of the Rolling Stone's "Jumping Jack Flash." The song was inspired by Keith Richards' gardener. He jumped over a mud puddle or something and Keith shouted "jumping jack flash"!" He and Mick decided that was such a cool phrase they had to make a song out of it...

Gardening?!--guess that's where the fiction arises for Moi. Speaking of novels, John Olson's SOULS OF WIND arrived in today's mail -- here's how it begins:
He stood with his hands resting on the taffrail gazing at the water boiling up from the stern of the S.S. Egypt, a steamer with one funnel and six masts rigged fore and aft with nearly two thousand square yards of canvas. The ship was doing eighteen knots and leaving a long trail of foam, diffuse and mesmerizing in its quiet undulations. A girl sneezed, and he turned around instinctively to see who was behind him. The hard, chiseled lines of his face frightened the girl and she ran to hide behind her mother's skirt. He gestured with apology, but neither the woman or her husband--an immigrant couple from Bucharest--revealed acknowledgement. They feared this man.

From that excerpt, you can glean why I almost cried at John's comments over my novel (grin -- I'm sorry, whenever I think of that phrase my novel, I just put on a major sh*t-eating grin) for he knows of what he speaks. He also improves my reading habits -- after his novel, I'm off to read Yasunari Kawabata's Palm-of-the-Hand Stories....

I haven't read Yasunari Kawabata in over a decade, but still remember how his House of the Sleeping Beauties was one of those evocative reading experiences that tips one into a dream where Poetry held sway... Another poet had recommended this book to logical of course that poets recommend Yasunari I also do...

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By your popular demand, the Three M's -- Moi, Mom and Meritage Press -- are delighted to sponsor
“The 2009-2010 Filamore Tabios, Sr. Memorial Poetry Prize”

Deadline for manuscripts is Aug. 31, 2009. Click on above link for more information.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009


Barry Schwabsky, Sandy McIntosh and Denise Duhamel have released fabulous new books.

First, Barry's latest is BOOK LEFT OPEN IN THE RAIN (fabuloso title, dontcha agree?!) from John Yau's Black Square Editions. And what's good is you don't need to take my word for compliments to it. Here's what discerning mind Rodney Koeneke says about it on Goodreads:
Schwabsky’s adept and thoughtful lyrics twin the vagaries of love with the complexities of art, treating both as part of the same tangled interplay of surface, perspective, “self-portrayal,” and the erotically charged balance of power between observer and observed: “Notice the way I notice you.” The “you” that moves through the poems never quite resolves into an object, but gives occasion for the poet’s “crossing over into myself/in breath stained with images”: stars to blank pages, skies to “a child’s tooth.” If “the object of any and every couple

Second, Sandy's and Denise's collaboration is 237 MORE REASONS TO HAVE SEX from Mark Young's Otoliths Books. That's right, not 236 or 238 but specifically 237 more reasons to have hoo-haa. As the authors themselves point out, it'd be the "perfect Valentine's gift". Okey. Here's book info about it:
The inspiration for this chapbook was a story published in The New York Times about a study conducted at University of Texas, Austin by Professor Cindy Meston. She determined that there were exactly 237 reasons to have sex. However, as a postscript to her article in the Archives of Sexual Behavior Professor Meston admitted that "there should be some added."

As a result of deep consultation between Denise Duhamel and Sandy McIntosh, they decided to add the missing 237 reasons.

The work was accomplished after two weeks of fevered collaboration via email that left Sandy, at least in the words of his wife Barbara, "demented."

Their self-sacrificing work will be available at AWP in Chicago from February 11-14, and right now on the Otoliths and LuLu web sites.

Speaking of AWP, I've had to cancel my presence there....but do please check out my latest NOTA BENE EISWEIN at the Ahadada Books table...and then you can also get a copy of Sandy's/Denise's latest viz Sandy at the Marsh Hawk Press table (please check to make sure that Sandy hasn't buried my Marsh Hawk Press books behind his, you know what I mean?). Cheers!