Friday, July 31, 2009


Otoliths #14 opens up beautifully with five poems by Kirsten Kaschock. She continues to weave so many silken lines interspersed with wisdom-gems (re the latter, I love this:

                  all things undone contain their enemies.

There is also an important exchange between Tom Fink and Tan Lin that transcends the issue of how to write critically. Tom reviews Tan Lin's Heath project (which I adore). Tan offers a useful addition to (the original as it's to be reprinted in a revised version) Heath with his response to Tom's review. I'm glad Mark Young had the wisdom to print this exchange!

I haven't read everything yet as I post, but two nota benes surfaced immediately from my initial read:

Ric Carfagna's fabulous "Trace Elements"

and Anny Ballardini's "About Ducks, or of the Importance of a Category"--I love this line:

                  I water my category.

You won't regret checking out the whole issue! (I have a poem "Maid of Honor" innit but I note that mostly to e-file said detail in moi blog's file cabinet). Here is publisher Mark Young's announcement--quite excellent company:
It's one minute into August on the Tropic of Capricorn, & that means it's time to let loose issue fourteen of Otoliths.

As always it's full of variety. There's work by Kirsten Kaschock, Pat Nolan, Márton Koppány, Jim Meirose , Anne Gorrick, Caleb Puckett, Peter Schwartz, Fredrick Zydek, Ed Baker, Ross Brighton, Derek Henderson, John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett & Sheila E. Murphy, Raymond Farr, Jill Chan, John Martone, Bob Heman, Philip Byron Oakes, Ric Carfagna, Eileen R. Tabios, Justin Mulrooney, Jeff Harrison, Eric Burke, K. R. Copeland & Jeff Crouch, Crane Giamo, Paula Kolek, Daniel f Bradley, Arthur Leung, Joseph Harrington, Iain Britton, Thomas Fink, Tan Lin, Kristine Marie Darling , Joel Chace, Paul Siegell, Mariana Isara, Jay Snodgrass, Bill Drennan, Jill Jones, Stu Hatton, Nicholas Michael Ravnikar, Mara Patricia Hernandez, Felino Soriano, Matt Hetherington, Marcia Arrieta, Charles Freeland, Vernon Frazer, Grzegorz Wróblewski, Julian Jason Haladyn, Martin Edmond, harry k stammer, Reed Altemus, Randall Brock, Anny Ballardini, sean burn, A. Scott Britton, David-Baptiste Chirot, Joan Harvey, Mary Ellen Derwis, Bobbi Lurie, John Moore Williams, Sarah Ahmad, Scott Metz, Theodoros Chiotis, & Sheila E. Murphy.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009


As a poet who believes in letting go of her poems, who believes poems are not the property of anyone including their author, I have enjoyed the hay(na)ku for having an ideal journey out there in the world. It spread through the internet, of course, swiftly leaving my loving hands. And it's appeared in journals and books viz authors who really can do this form way better than I can. (That others can do the form better than its so-called inventor is a significant part of my and the hay(na)ku's poetics, but that's a rambling discourse for another day...)

Now, the hay(na)ku continues my vision of a poem's ideal journey by leaving the "poetry world" and moving forward to the larger world (where I believe poems ultimately should find their way). To wit, I'm purrrrred to discover that a chained hay(na)ku (which will appear later in THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY) has appeared in a corporate newsletter! The form was taken up by the company's in-house editorial staff, then came to find its way onto said newsletter. If I told you the company's identity, it'd be a more impressive achievement but I, for a complicated reason, can't reveal said identity. But the hay(na)ku -- a poem -- has appeared in a corporate publication, complete with a footnote about the hay(na)ku form itself.

I love it -- poetry infiltrating the capitalist sector. May it brighten up some worker's day -- lighten the drudgery, make a Man relax his uniformed shoulder, ... mayhap make someone who otherwise ignores poetry read and even attempt this very inviting form.


Speaking of the hay(na)ku, the big, burly men are back on the mountain. We are working on implementing a humongous fire protection system, among other things. The "other things" include installing a marble fountain that features statues of Achilles and Ajax playing chess (an image taken from one of the most famous Grecian black-figure vases, 530 BC). They plot and strategize their chess moves within an octagonal base. On each side of the octagon, a hay(na)ku is featured about some of Galatea's most beloved citizens: Achilles, Gabriela, Scarlet, Artemis, Michael ... and Galatea herself.

Well, yesterday, I happened to look out the window and became fascinated watching one of the big, burly men reading the poems. After he installed one of the bases along the octagon, he stepped back to read the poem. Then he began slowly circling the fountain to continue reading the other hay(na)ku. I held my breath, waiting for him to show some sort of bemused reaction -- like maybe raising a hand to scratch a sweaty brow or sumthin' that otherwise indicated he thought the poems silly. But, no, this big, burly man just kinda gave a brief nod to himself after he finished circling the fountain...and moved on to the rest of his day.

I am optimistic over his response which I interpret (or maybe misinterpret, but allow me my idealistic canoodling here) as receptiveness. Through his reading of the fountain slabs, I hope he'll remember in the future how, one day, off he went to work and ended up reading poems. Poems -- they should be part of everyday life...


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The Halvard Johnson-edited issue of "WAR PAPERS: POETRY 3" is now available at Big Bridge.

Happy to be part of this issue with an ars poetica poem (that's also in NOTA BENE EISWEIN). Here's list of poet-participants, after an introductory poem of sorts, Barbara Guest's "Eating Chocolate Ice Cream: Reading Mayakovsky":
Norman Fischer / Poem on the Suicide of Lucas Carlson, November 2006, Brooklyn, New York

Bill Dunlap / The Very Origin of Artaud's Crablice

David Graham / Air Supremacy

Bobbi Lurie / tomorrow will be more real than yesterday

Jéanpaul Ferro / Letter from a Soldier

CL Bledsoe / Teeth

James Cervantes / Number Three of Photo Album Shuffled

Philip Metres / from "Ibn Gitmo Flarf Stations," #25 Ponzi Schemer Beaming Me Up

S. K. Kelen / Business as Usual: Three Almost Sonnets

John M. Bennett / Smoke Anda

Mary Kasinor / feeling ice cream and reading the internet

Rodney Nelson / Wages of Time

Alex Cigale / Huambo, Angola: An Explanation

Larissa Shmailo / Kalinivka/Prymsl/Dora

Michele A. Belluomini / Poem

Jan Clausen / Letters to God End Up in Ocean, Unread

Harry Gregor / You lower my jetty, is is yellow

Kate Shapira / Woonsocket

Nicholas Karavatos / Saw a Face in the Grain

Sophie Chamas / Seizure

AE Rieff / Child Verse

Edward Field / Secrets of a Woman, Our Dark Lady of Letters Susan Sontag (1933-2004)

Sharon Olinka / Meat

Joachim Matschoss / footscray

Hugh Fox / Every Day

Eileen Tabios / Ars Poetica (#100,000)

Basil King / The Possible Can Happen

Wayne Crawford / In the Shade of a Sunday Morning

Catherine Daly / "vegas, a roulette factory, and you"

Joe Ahearn / A History of Western Culture

James Finnegan / Red Cabbage

Sheila E. Murphy-/ Tremo(lo-la)

Russ Golata / Denizens of Dinner Death

Robin Morris / Soldier Girls

dirk vekemans / "autumn has come"

Gerald Schwartz / Eating Now, Reading Next

Gray Jacobik / Adjustments

Isaac Hock Walton / 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne, 2006–?

Lisa Siedlarz / Casualty Notification Officer

Seinhart Nickel / first killing then laughter then killing again

Hanoch Guy / Phoenician Glass

Gloria Frym / To Whom It May Concern

James Bertolino / Corn on the Macabre

David Howard / There Is Too Much Winter: Until Things Dry

Annie Christain / This Is a Robbery

Jared Schickling / The Irreligious Promiscuity of Metaphor . . .

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa / from Op / US

John Joynt / The Palace of Historic Employment

Roger Mitchell / Plague

Sean Patrick Hill / America, Take This Cup From Me

Stephen Vincent / Viet Nam Memorial Wrapped In Protest

Sybil Kollar / We Didn't Look Over That Way

Steve D. Dalachinsky / glissandos

James Iredell / Mexicans Living in the US to the Federal Government

Georgios Tsangaris / Romance after Chernobyl

Anny Ballardini / Eating a Sacher Torte while reading Derrida

Michael Heller / Maazel Conducts "Arirang" in Pyongyang (26 Feb 2008)

David-Baptiste Chirot / Raw butt ass naked waR

Jayne Lyn Stahl / To dine with friends…

Hugh Seidman / Conquest of Peru

John Roche / Spring Comes to Baghdad

Francisco Levato / from War Rug

Lynn Levin / Peace Is the Blithe Distraction

Ed Coletti / Gentle Little Pushes

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009


In an effort to elevate my blog from the prior gaseous post, let's discuss post-coital matters. To wit -- HERE as part of qarrtsiluni's issue addressing "The Economy of Porn." Got your attention?

I feel elevated -- don't you?

If you want more of Moi, you also can download my MP3 reading for a cheeeeeeesy reading style. I like cheese.

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Okay. So I naturally want to teach moi boy some manners. To wit, I'd like Michael to do less belching about. But the times that I've tried to provide politesse guidance has only made him want to belch more.

So, yesterday morning, I hit on the brilliant -- brilliant! -- idea of addressing two doves with one kiss. I thought up this container now on our kitchen table with a taped-on label that proclaims


Yes: irony. But for a good cause! For each belch, peeps in the house have to donate a buck to the container whose proceeds later would be given to the local food shelter or other hunger organizations. Michael has money in his piggybank that he earned from Abuelita from getting good grades in sixth grade.

Thing is, as I write this, said container contains $13, of which $3 comes from the hubby, $5 comes from the Abuelita, and $2 from Moi. Michael has only donated $3 so far.

Why did I never notice before how often peeps belched in the house until I felt compelled to teach manners? And Moi! I didn't know I belched (albeit daintily and prettily, no doubt...)!

And my mother is the biggest belcher!!! Now, she noted that this is actually good, especially for "senior citizens." Her explanation is that years ago she once had to be brought to the emergency room because she thought she was suffering from a heart attack. While being checked, the doctor had asked her if she belches or farts a lot. She replied: Negative. The doctor replied right back, "Not good. Try to belch or fart more."

Apparently, gas can get trapped in the muscles, which is mitigated by farting and belching. People who get gas trapped in muscles often wake up some day feeling like they're having heart attacks....

I am reminded, as I write this post, about a former elderly lady who was a neighbor back in New York City. She lived in an apartment next door to ours. She was also a nosy old biddy, bless her senior-citizen-heart. She used to love nothing better than to stop by unexpectedly to see what we're doing. She'd cheerfully go through our rooms in the apartment, which was not a problem, except that she would fart every other second. I, uh, digress...

Anyway, Belching For Hunger -- yes, that's the latest doings in my "sandwich generation" household where I have both a child and an elderly parent. If that's a weird result, what can Moi say? I'm a newbie parent...

But if you think that tale is ugly, you should know about me tutoring math -- let's put it this way, I think the kid is starting to realize I'm literally a chapter ahead of him in the tutorial textbook...

There are only so many ways one can hide behind a poem...

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Saturday, July 25, 2009


than this one when it comes out of Michael's mouth in unconscious, fully-attached tone:


And here is moi son with his former Colombian tutor whom he misses (well look at her -- most boys would miss Juliana, too!)


Thursday, July 23, 2009


First, there was THIS.

And now there is THIS2. Here be excerpt:

In reading and reviewing several of Eileen Tabios’ collections, I have often been struck by her ability to take large themes and subjects, such as Diaspora and flamenco, and bring them around to her own vision and mission as a poet and artist. In “The Singer” she writes,

the worst thing
one can

about someone in
flamenco? No

dice nada. He
didn’t say

to me… (pg. 68)

On the facing page, directly opposite, she writes,

you know

would be the
worst thing

about my poetry?
I created

that moved you.

Thank you New Mystics and Joey Madia!

Maybe my first 2009 book will have long legs....

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I attended middle school -- we called it "junior high" back then -- nearly 40 years ago. Entonces, being childless, there was no reason for me to pay attention to children's education until Michael came into our lives just four months ago. And let me tell you, I don't recognize this effin' terrain mislabeled "public education."

The thing with knowing something only at point A and then point B 40 years later is that you have two specific environments to compare. The result of educational deterioration between my point A and today's point B is stark. Stark, stark, stark -- and I can see this easily as one who didn't get inured to said deterioration by living through government cutbacks of public education over the years.

As I write this, I'm in conversation with my best friend who happens to be educating, among others, an 11-year-old son at what is considered an excellent public school (hi M!). She's talking about (hitting mostly financially strapped parents for) fundraisings for basic pen and paper supplies. She's talking about California public schools narrowly focusing their students to pass STAR tests (thresholds in math and reading) so as to maximize government funding; but, check this out: if a school tests well, it gets more funds while schools who don't test well get reduced funding -- does that make sense? And, as M also says, "What happened to infusing the love of learning itself?" Extra tutoring after school (at least for those who can afford it) is now the norm, rather than the exception if parents really wish students to understand a subject.

M notes that she would be reluctant to send her son today to the same high school she and I once attended! I am unsure, as I write this, that the public schools M and I attended would be able to prepare children for attending (for example) Ivy League institutions. They did so for M and me. And we managed to go to these universities without extra tutorings in subjects because they were successfully being taught at the schools, or extra tutoring for college prep tests like SATs.

Couple this with some of the idiotic expectations we get in response to my ex-orphan son with currently limited English. We hear things like, "Just get him through high school and that's already great for him."

Speakers like that reveal their lazy belief that since my son was "saved" from such a bad situation, everything is gravy. He possibly wouldn't have gotten a high school diploma as an institutionalized child in a financially-poor country, so the fact that (i) he's now in the great Estados Unidos is great, and (ii), his education, regardless of its quality, is good enough for being better than what was available to him pre-adoption. When I talk college planning with some of these folks -- and they are supposed to be "educators" -- you can see the expressions shift on their faces to hide incredulity at my naivete.

What's worse is that their reactions are colored by their own low threshold for the "normal" (non-adopted) students (I'm talking about their regular student body, kids who don't have the academic disadvantages that an adopted immigrant has) -- that is, if these kids get to community college (and, hey, is that the "New Normal" under Obama or what?), that's supposedly a home run.

People, if my son ends up a working at a fast food restaurant because that is all he is capable of, BUT HE IS A GOOD PERSON, then it's a home run for me. But until my child indicates that such is all he is capable of, my job as a parent is to maximize his education and assume he is capable of attending the best university that exists in the world. And it's my job -- and should be as well a school system's job -- to help nurture this potential. Beset in pragmatism defined by misguided political decisions on how to spend tax revenues, expectations for children are being lowered at exactly the place where expectations should be high: schools.

I talk like this and I'm greeted as an effin' anachronism.

And since this is a poetry blog, if you believe poetry is marginalized in today's (U.S.) culture and want to know why poetry is marginalized, it's NOT BECAUSE POETS ARE WRITING IRRELEVANTLY. It's not because poets aren't writing about what's "important" to write about like politics (what's "important" is subjective, yah?). It's not because poets are writing "elliptically". It's not because poets are writing "narcissistically". It's not because poets are "writing to each other." It's not because poets are flarf-in'. It's not because they're too "quiet" or too "avant". It's not because too many poets write "academically" or got their MFAs. It's not because poets aren't doing their job -- anyone who feels they can define a poet's "job" is generally just arrogant or looking for a way to grab attention for himself (yes, it's usually a him).

If you believe poetry is marginalized (and that is an "if"), then poetry is marginalized today in large part because K-12 (Kindergarten to 12th grade) education has, in too many cases, eliminated the relevance of the arts....including any notion that a particular art form can be expanded beyond what is inherited by an artist.

It's ironic because, speaking of the effects of the dollar (or euro, or yen, etc), poetry is one of the greatest preparations for facilitating something as bottom line as "business vision". (Hello -- does the economy suck due to forces beyond the usual business cycle?) To simplify the articulation of this matter, many of Poetry's approaches facilitate one's ability to think outside of the box, to look beyond the obvious and discern patterns which foretell how a particular industry might unfold, to manage complicated infrastructures and unstable human resources, et al. (If you want to know the source of whatever modest success I had in my ex-finance career, it ain't because I can add; it's because I was good at concepts...and I left it up to computers and calculators to add.) It's not a coincidence that in my time I've met at least one successful CEO out there who has poetry books in his office bookshelves!

As regards public education, I'd like to say Rome is burning while the politicos are playing the violins. The problem, of course, is that if these politicos were educated in public school, they probably wouldn't know how to play a musical instrument. The arts have been cut back and music, after all, is merely part of the "arts".

Blah. And as I end this, Schwarzenneger's California continues to be bankrupt. Blach.


Update: I don't, of course, believe that Obama means that community college is as high as we should aspire; I wrote that tongue-in-cheek. Having said that, M notes that that today's budget compromise includes "cutting cut another $9.5 billion from public schools and another $2 billion from the state’s higher education system,... " Where was I...? Oh yeah: BLACH!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009


Jacket Magazine just put up Grace Ocasio's review of moi most recently-released poetry collection NOTA BENE EISWEIN -- I'm very grateful as I've not had much chance to do promo for this book since it was released a few months ago (math tutoring a 13-year-old tends to suck up much energy). Entonces, this is its first review, which you can see HERE. But here's an excerpt since I like it (and thank you, Grace Ocasio):
In the poem “Teatro Olimpia,” Tabios creates a political atmosphere exemplified by a lone flamenco dancer performing for soldiers she despises. The tension arises when the dancer’s boss orders her to lift her dress for the amusement of the soldiers watching her dance. While she dances, the dancer appears to escape from her plight through her reveries. Tabios uses graphic details to illustrate the forcefulness of the dancer’s steps:

shoe tips bearing
six extra

drumming into a
floor she

as the naked
chests of

beneath her.

The ingredient of violence that Tabios interjects into the poem through this imagery is a bit shocking. One wonders if the vengeance the dancer exacts through her imaginings is too severe. After all, the stares of soldiers seem to do little in the way of real harm to the dancer. But then again, the text implies that the dancer’s fantasies are the only viable vehicle through which she can rid herself of her psychic pain, her dread of the soldiers.

Eileen Tabios’s book Nota Bene Eiswein challenges the reader to scrutinize her text meticulously. One must examine the text over and over again until its words make plain to the reader Tabios’s vision of the world.

Click HERE FOR ENTIRE REVIEW. I hope it encourages some of you to check out my book which, among other things, features my "Tattoo Poetics" (c'mon -- doesn't that entice?!)

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It seems fitting (though personally irritating) that I've been tutoring Michael in math for nearly two months now. Math was never my forte, but I guess I know more (barely) than someone who barely knew subtraction before Moi entered his life. His forthcoming 7th grade's math focus will be pre-algebra.

"Pre-algebra" -- now, that's yet another of those words that literally is unnecessary, ain't it. Poetry teaches that all of Life is inherently algebraic.

In any event...and relatedly, I've been working on finalizing the manuscript for my next book Footnotes to Algebra. As its subtitle will indicate, it collects together "uncollected poems" from 1995-2009 ("uncollected" meaning poems not previously published in earlier books). As I wrote before, this book swiftly jelled after its conceptualization. Which is to say, the book's organization lacks much of the mulling over and editing that often creates a poetry collection as one considers which poem "fits" or not.

But the fast approach (akin to my beloved first draft, last draft) was purposeful. I wanted to test my faith in algebraic affinity -- that these poems would cohere beyond any deliberate organization on my part...just because that's what poems do.

In Poetry, I've found that Faith is always rewarded. I like the book that's come out of this process and hope you will too as it will come out soon. Meanwhile, here's a look at my drafted front cover:

Thanks to book designer Geoffrey Gatza. As for the cover image, this is the acknowledgements for it--thanks John!:
"...a tattoo on the arm of John Bloomberg-Rissman entitled “Secret Life of Angelus Novus (Skinglyph/Twombly View) (Tatt #1)”. A photograph of the tattoo is part of the anthology 1000 Views of “Girl Singing” (Leafe Press, U.K., 2009) featuring responses to, or translations of, Eileen R. Tabios’ poem “The Secret Life of An Angel.” The tattooed text is from Walter Benjamin’s “Über den Begriff der Geschichte” (“On the Concept of History”), Thesis 9. The background is a detail from Cy Twombly’s painting Autunno (no. III of his Quattro Stagioni), taken from the cover of the catalogue to an exhibition at the Tate Modern.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Michael Kelleher's fabulous posts as he reads through his poetry library inspired me to start a new blog:


It's a good cure for Insomnia...and I don't mind another venue for promoting poetry books, e.g. my first entry on Lila Zemborain whose books GUARDIANS OF THE SECRETS and MAUVE SEA-ORCHIDS I heartily recommend!

The blog will address, in reverse alphabetical order, the poetry books I've managed to list on Galatea's Poetry Library.

Which also looks like a good reminder to you all that I'm willing to expand my library by trading books (info is at left-hand column of Library Blog).


Monday, July 13, 2009


[Please feel free to forward]

A Call For Submissions

for a


Guest Editor: Eileen Tabios

Deadline: Sept. 30, 2009

Submissions: 1-5 poems, any style or theme in the English language. Can have been written in a non-English language but submit only if an English translation is available (N.B., I, however, can only assess the English version). Can be previously published but not online, or otherwise available online, as this Issue will be published online.

Bio.: Tell me something about yourself (and of course include place of residence).

Eligibility: I seek poets not residing in the U.S. But it's possible that as this Submissions Call goes out, some of you may be in the U.S. temporarily (say, for college or graduate studies). But if you still self-identify as being a resident (primarily) of another country besides the U.S., even though you may be living currently in the U.S., you are eligible.

Logistics: Email submissions to . Don't send attachments. Send poems in the body of the email. If you wish, you also can describe special formatting issues in the body of email.

For more info: Email



Steven Fama continues to grace the poetry world with his deep readings and wonderful prose. Go HERE for his take on the Comma, involving books by Jose Garcia Villa, Ron Silliman, Steve McCaffery, Ken Goldsmith, Lisa Jarnot, and Will Alexander. Steven's one of the best readers of poetry out there...!

Also want to draw your attention to two new journals:

Cerise Press: A Journal of Literature, Arts & Culture (gorgous lay-out, gorgeous words!)


Ekleksographia (sponsored by Ahadada Books)

It's really heartening to see all this activity!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


First, here's my (unedited) blurb for Michelle Cruz Skinner's next and forthcoming short story collection, DISPLACEMENTS:
Evocatively written. Deftly offers how life can unfold as a series of uncertain transitions. But redemption can surface when one realizes through these stories how much we share with each other -- an effect made possible through full-blown characterizations that allow for nuanced portraits, thus reader empathy.
--Eileen R. Tabios

Also just finished reading Tom Beckett's and Geof Huth's 680-page conversation, INTERPENETRATIONS. There is this absolutely fabulous joke about a woman and pork. Hard to beat that joke -- but most meaningful to me in this deep engagement is the notion of *kindness as part of poetic praxis*. Now THAT is what Moi am talking about!

Elsewhere, the garden sprouts forth randomly...or maybe not so randomly. First, I got a report from my garden helper Debra that some "strange animal has made a bed among your rhubarbs, entirely destroying your rhubarb output for the season."

All concerned (well, not really, as I don't really know why rhubarb exists), I reported said tragedy to the hubby. The hubby snorted and clarified, "It's not an animal. I did it. I'd told Deb I detest rhubarb and for her to get them out of the garden. She didn't. So I went down there last weekend and hacked them all up myself."

I'm looking at the hubby and thinking, "Is my life an effin' telenovela or what? What do you mean, Oh Busy Abogado, that you have time to go down to the garden to hack up the rhubarb?!!!!"

But Moi bits moi tongue. If the hubby has Reagan's cauliflower problem but with rhubarb, I don't have the psychiatric training to address such. Entonces, let us move on with -- drum roll! -- my latest Relished W(h)ine List:


1 red cherry tomato (yes, Mark: counting tomatoes is still the "New Poetry"! Woot: and the tomato season is starting!)
21 golden cherry tomatoes
5 artichokes
70 green onion stalks
14 onions/scallions
70 strawberries
22 yellow squash
14 zucchini
120 basil leaves
5 Japanese cucumbers
17 cucumbers
25 pepper leaves
1 green pepper
30 mint leaves

THE PARIS HILTON, poems by Keith Tuma (wow. that's one of the most powerful cover images I've seen...)

THE SHUNT, poems by David Buuck

HUMANIMAL, poetry by Bhanu Kapil

THE METHOD, poems by Sasha Steensen

TUNE DROVES, poems by Eric Baus

ZERO READERSHIP; AN EPIC by Filip Marinovich


HYPERGLOSSIA, poems by Stacy Szymaszek

LAST CALL AT THE TIN PALACE, poems by Paul Pines

HOUSE ORGAN, No. 67, Summer 2009, literary zine Edited by Kenneth Warren

INTERPENETRATIONS, poetry conversation by Tom Beckett and Geof Huth (in manuscript)

DISPLACEMENTS, short stories by Michelle Cruz Skinner (in manuscript)

GONE TOMORROW, novel by Lee Child

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, novel by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS, novel by David Morrell

A CURE FOR NIGHT, novel by Justin Peacock

MEDUSA'S CHILD, novel by John J. Jance

THE TOURIST, novel by Olen Steinhauer

NAKED IN DEATH, novel by J.D. Robb

SOUVENIR, novel by Therese Fowler

KNOCK OUT, novel by Catherine Coulter

2006 Peter Michael Ma-Belle Fille chardonnay
2005 Fritz Haag Brundeberger Juffer Sonnenuhr riesling spatlese
2005 Saxum James Berry Vineyard
2001 Torbreck "The Factor"
2006 Dutch Henry chardonnay
1993 Ravenswood "Monte Rosso" Zinfandel Sonoma Valley
2005 Chianti Classico
2006 B&G cabernet
2005 Dutch Henry chardonnay
2007 Dutch Henry rose
2004 Dutch Henry "Argos"
2003 Chase Family Hayne Vineyard zinfandel
1970 Lynch Bages
2003 Larkmead cab/merlot blend
_____ Barnett cabernet
_____ Cliff Leder cabernet
_____ Orin Swift zinfandel syrah blend

[Last 3 wines imbibed during St. Helena's Cheers but couldn't confirm years as I was too busy focusing on that taco truck...]

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Friday, July 10, 2009


is a curatorially convenient phrase but belaboring. It's like someone asking "Where is God" (assuming God can be located at a specific somewhere) when, for those who believe, it's already recognized that God is everywhere. So when someone talks about *found poetry*, there's a[n ancient] logic in it to which one draws attention to because the act of living has created an unnatural separation between everywhere and Poetry.

But it bears repeating at times, and it's the way one reminds that's judged by its aesthetic effectiveness. So I liked, as soon as I heard of it, Bill Allegrezza's project of drawing poems on found objects... and then volunteering to send it out to whoever is interested in receiving such. That's Poetry in action, a poetics of attention and engagement with everywhere. Like this piece(s) which arrived in yesterday's snailmail, and which I'm blessed now to have cheerfully lighting up Galatea's poetry bookshelves:

I actually got four of those red small wheels. Here's a sampling of text, with the caveat that I may not read the handwriting correctly (and it's a nice layer, too, that Bill's handwriting and choice of pens/ink shows up charmingly against the objects' wood and painted wood surfaces):
...gathered in piles
near road ends in
heat and anticipation
for what would be
a first love adventure
without the
ceremonial anxiety

These found objects certainly do not carry "ceremonial anxiety" about their transformed (re-discovered?) existence as poetic objects. They just ARE. Like Poetry, comfortable in their everywhere-ness.

Thank you, Bill!

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Thursday, July 09, 2009


Two last-minute additions as epigraphs to THE THORN ROSARY:

It is easy to break a child’s bones, smash saints,
Tear final chapters from books, grow flowers from wound.
But how to sweeten a stale tongue, how to find maps in snow?

—from “A Sestina Written in a Cold Land” by Fatima Lim-Wilson

I’m walking the angel home to its body,
one still possible to hold in unburrowed light,

—from “Room for Time Passing” by Ricardo M. de Ungria

They're epigraphs to the book's last section, which is "New Poems" -- I envision them as order to continue Poetry past a book's last page.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Unexpectedly had to take Mom to hospital today -- 2nd visit to emergency in last month or so. She's fine but at near-80, she's certainly fragile.

Which only made it more meaningful today that I received a months-long-effort by poet-scholar-activist-editor Joi Barrios: her essay that will serve as "Afterword" in my forthcoming THE THORN ROSARY. Joi's generous essay is welcome for contextualizing my work in the history of Philippine literature -- it is an aspect that would have been near impossible for THE THORN ROSARY'S editor, Thomas Fink, to address. Tom Fink, as many of you peeps know, is one of the deepest thinkers out there writing criticism on contemporary poetry (he also edited "A Different Sense of Power": Problems of Community in Late-Twentieth Century U.S. Poetry, and (with Joseph Lease) “Burning Interiors”: David Shapiro’s Poetry and Poetics).

As editor of THE THORN ROSARY, Tom writes an Introduction. While it's gratifying to have his support -- and necessary since Tom probably knows my poems/poetics better than anyone including moiself -- I've been fully aware (and wise Tom has, too) of the problematics to a Filipina woman artist being "introduced" by a white male critic. That's all solved by Joi Barrios' involvement (which wasn't planned so much as simply delivered onto moi lap by Poetry's kind angels); I'm still sort of hyperventilating over what Joi's come up with to say over my poems -- it's so unexpected. If you don't know Joi, here's a bio:
Joi Barrios (Maria Josephine Barrios Leblanc) serves as a Lecturer teaching Filipino and Philippine Literature at UC Berkeley while on leave as an Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD). After completing her Ph.D. in Filipino and Philippine Literature at UPD, she taught at the Osaka University of Foreign Studies, UCLA, and UCI. She then returned to Manila to serve as Associate Dean of UP College of Arts and Letters and Coordinator of the Graduate Program of the college. She is the author of five books, among them, the poetry collection To Be a Woman is to Live at a Time of War, and her research From the Theater Wings: Grounding and Flight of Filipino Women Playwrights. She has won fourteen Philippine national literary awards and, for her contributions to literature, was among the 100 women chosen as Weavers of History for the Philippine Centennial Celebration. In 2004, she also received the TOWNS (Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service) Award.

Back to Mom -- after taking her home from the hospital, I gave her Joi's essay on my poems. Her reading and engagement with it delivered unexpected frisson. The essay led her back to ruminating over the early days of English-language literature development in the Philippines. When she noted that Joi received her doctorate, she recalled one of her early mentors -- Edilberto Tiempo -- who had pushed her to get her own doctorate (after she wrote a Master's Thesis that became the first critical look at "local color" in English-language Philippine literature). She couldn't go for her Ph.D., Mom recalled, as money was tight and she didn't want to put anymore pressure on her mother, a widow then struggling to educate four children. With Mom's history, it was thus so moving for her to read about her daughter (and so moving for her daughter to watch) that a scholar seemingly surfaced from nowhere ("nowhere" in the sense that I had had no idea that Dr. Joi Barrios was even paying attention to my writings) and had this to say:
One could perhaps consider Eileen Tabios to be the Angela Manalang Gloria of the 21st century, her poems all at once, crisp, flowing, interrogative, tender, innovative, funny, thought-provoking, sensuous, revolutionary. Manalang Gloria (1907-1955), author of the collection simply entitled Poems, 1940, was known for her snapshot-like poems on unconventional women (the "old maid" walking down the street, the querida or mistress, the woman who fell in love with a priest), and her fearless approach to themes women dared not speak of during her time—such as marital rape ("Revolt to Hymen"). Both Tabios and Manalang Gloria had the ability to use the English language in writing lyrical and powerful verses and the fearlessness to articulate silences.

However, comparing Tabios with Manalang Gloria seems to be an exercise in stating the obvious. This is similar to arguing that perhaps Tabios channels Jose Garcia Villa (and his comma poems) simply because she wrote about The Secret Life of Punctuations.

Instead, in contextualizing Eileen Tabios's work, we could look into the following: Leona Florentino (1849-1884), the 19th-century Ilocano poet; the unanthologized Tagalog women poets who published in Liwayway and Taliba in the 1920s and 1930s, during the United States occupation of the Philippines (1899-1942); and the binukot, the storyteller from Panay of pre-colonial Philippines.

Contrast the above references with some of the (of course equally valid) references in Tom Fink's essay as regards other poets and artists (the latter because Tom aptly explores the role of ekphrasis), in no particular order: Gertrude Stein, John Ashbery, Ron Silliman, John Yau, T.S. Eliot, Jasper Johns, Mondrian, Joseph Albers ...

I reslish how my work doesn't fit into publicly recognized categories (even as I rarely if ever contradict how others might categorize my poems). With receipt of Joi Barrios' essay, I not only made Mom feel that Life has been -- is! -- wonderful with its turning-of-circles, I can now feel comfortable putting the manuscript to bed. And, as I informed Mom, if someone like Joi Barrios can see in my poems what she saw, I will now feel comfortable just sitting on moi butt for the rest of my life in my new career as slacker. (Thank you, Joi!)


P.S. Oh, and today, I also got an acceptance for my second novel to be published: SILK EGG. But I still plan to be a slacker...


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Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Well, Dear Bankrupt State of California, I would have wanted to do better by you. Which is to say, I just finished filing my California State Tax Return in moi capacity as a poetry publisher. Since a distinct majority of my gross sales occur through the internet or to wholesalers like SPD, I need only pay the minimum amount due on the rest:


Good thing I filled out my own tax return. If I had hired an accountant for his labor, it probably would have cost me about $300 so that I can file a return and thus send the state of California $25.

Such are the vicissitudes (don't you love that word) of poetry publishing.

P.S. If I may offer a suggestion for how to spend my $25, do please bolster the education budget. The state of public school education ... sucks.


Sunday, July 05, 2009


Proud to serve on Board of Kelsey Street Press. As such, delighted to spread the news of its new reading/submissions period; information HERE. This is a press through which your future book would have marvelous company!

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Well, Rosmarie Waldrop puts it this way over at Steven Fama's wonderful blog.

Then Niki Escobar writes a hay(na)ku sequence "letter to US history."


Friday, July 03, 2009


Yesterday, I sat with Michael and taught him the elements of the book review. It's a good exercise in his acquisition of a new language. We reviewed two of the Narnia books that he's finished (since he's arrived home at Galatea, he has been obliged to read a minimum of three pages a day, and often reads much more than three pages -- great, since at least it looks like we achieved our goal to raise a reader).

Anyway, guess what was the most difficult part of the reviewing process for him? Yep -- the same thing I notice as an editor of a (poetry) review journal. The inclusion of his personal (emotional) response to the book.

It's tough to raise children with being comfortable at expressing their emotions without making them fragile to negative external elements. It's tough for adults to balance emotion-sharing with, uh, other things....I can't even be particularly articulate about this -- it's such an old story.

Off for a cuppa java.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Based on Ron Silliman's latest linkie list, I understand that the Poetry issue that contains a Flarf/Conceptual Poetry section has a back cover with an oversized bar code (click on link).

Richard Tuttle did it too for Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge's 1998 book NEST (Kelsey). More recently, I recall seeing it on both front and back covers of Chelsey Minnis' POEMLAND (Wave Books, 2009). And I'm pretty sure I've seen that bar code elsewhere on another book cover whose title I just can't recall at the moment as I write this blog post ('twas a black and white cover and I think the press was based in San Francisco).

Moi peeps are smart peeps so I won't belabor the conclusion hinted at here...