Saturday, November 23, 2013


If I receive emails while I'm away, I'll respond when I return (hopefully no later than Dec. 20).

This is one reason why the next issue of Galatea Resurrects is deferred until January. But the good news is that the submission deadline is also deferred to Jan. 2, so you all have more time!


Thursday, November 21, 2013


[Please Forward]


Dear All,

As Editor of the VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets, I am moved by the generosity of poets who've sent in their poems for this forthcoming anthology. In honor of them, Meritage Press has advanced proceeds from anticipated book sales to donate $100 to ShelterBox ( so that we can provide immediate relief. (Future other beneficiaries will be decided closer to book sales.)

However, due to the usual book production process, the anthology may not be out for a couple of months at the earliest. That's okay in the sense that fundraising no doubt will still be needed into next year to help Yolanda survivors rebuild. But, due to the time lag in releasing the book, I decided to run a more immediate Special of offering a package of my books for sale. All proceeds will be donated for Yolanda relief -- and all orders will receive a 30% discount on the future purchase of one copy of VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA.

If interested in this offer, you can send a check made out to me (Eileen Tabios) for $42. This price does represent a 40% savings from the books' normal prices. The book packet will be comprised of the following titles below (links are provided to book info). Send check to Eileen Tabios, P.O. Box 361, St. Helena, CA 94574. Unfortunately, this Special is only available for shipment to U.S. addresses, as free shipping will be provided.

Eileen Tabios Books:




This Special Offer expires February 28, 2014 and as long as supplies last.

For queries:

You can send a check for an order without needing to alert me first. But if you email me, please note that I will be out of the country with limited email capacity in December. I will respond to your email but it may take me a while to do so. Orders received while I am out of country will be processed as soon as I return (expected to be no later than Dec. 20).

Eileen R. Tabios

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013


[Please Forward]


Mga Kababayan / Dear Filipino Poets,

Meritage Press is willing to publish an anthology whose net proceeds will go to relief organization(s) servicing the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda). The title: VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets.

Deadline: Nov. 23, 2013 (Yes, that's quick turn-around, but help is needed quickly!)

Submission: Send 1-3 poems. Send poems that, in your view, relate to Yolanda -- whether it's something you felt compelled to write as a result of the disaster or coverage thereof, or of issues related to Yolanda such as climate change, or of lessons that can be gleaned, or of hopes for improving the ways to survive or respond to such disasters in the future, or your "Beloved Philippines or Filipino" poems ... and so on. Poems need not be new as long as you feel they are relevant in some way to Yolanda and her lessons and other aftermaths.

Submmissions should be English poems or Filipino-language poems with English translation.

Email poems and/or queries to

All net proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Yolanda relief organization(s). I haven't had the chance to research this but will ensure the recipient(s) are effective helpers. As Filipinos gather to fundraise, please note that one can also order books to sell at your events (Meritage Press will work to give your fundraising organization the books at cost, and then your book sale "profits" can be donated to the relief organizations you support).

Poets, since your poems will be "donated," no comp copies will be given though you can acquire one copy at a discounted price. We're obviously trying to maximize sales proceeds to donate for Yolanda's victims. Maraming Salamat.

Thank you in advance,

Eileen R. Tabios

[P.S. This isn't the anthology referenced in prior post, but is a "sudden"-ly developed idea for obvious reasons...]

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013


perhaps you want to contact me for a new poetry project -- see below.

Actually, if you are dead and whether or not you are Filipino, feel free to contact Moi. But I digress ...

So if you are a LIVING FILIPINO POET, this Call Out (here's it's FACEBOOK LINK -- thanks to Vince Gotera) is for you:

Dear All...and you are all dear to me,

I think I've come up with a new anthology idea that would present Filipino English-language poems. But for this I need to get an idea of how many of us LIVING FILIPINO POETS are out there. Thus, if you are a Filipino poet writing in English or have had poems translated into English, please email me your name and email address.

That's it: Name and Email Address. To

Please forward this request to all nooks of the world.

If your poems are translated into English, please specify that in your emailed reply.

"Filipino" doesn't mean full-blooded (tho don't know what full-blooded means, but that's another story). You could have a drop and if you self-identify as Filipino, please inform me of your existence.

Though I know many of you, please don't assume I do. Even if we're tight, please still send me your name and address.

It would be ideal if I received all responses by December 31, 2013 but if you hear of this afterwards, shoot me an email too.

All best,
Eileen Tabios


Sunday, November 03, 2013


Interesting—there’s such similarity between Peter Jay Shippy’s poetry collection A SPELL OF SONGS and James Patterson/David Ellis’ novel MISTRESS.

And here are other relishes with moi latest update of my Recently Relished W(h)ine List below. As ever, please note that in the Publications section, if you see an asterisk before the title, that means a review copy is available for Galatea Resurrects! More info on that HERE.

4 pumpkins
140 persimmons
3 honeydew
4 cantaloupe
15 red bellpeppers
50 green bellpeppers
100 jalapeno peppers
129 yellow Heirloom tomatoes
79 red Heirloom tomatoes
9 orange Heirloom tomatoes
7 red tomatoes
76 cherry tomatoes
55 green figs
32 black figs
7 Meyer lemons
6 yellow onions
27 apricots
47 yellow squash
20 strawberries
18 Italian cucumbers
48 sprigs of basil
42 lemons

THE CODICILS, poems by Mark Young (magnificent. LinkedIn Poetry Recommendation #86)

SAKRA BOCCATA, poems by Jose Antonio Mazzoti, Trans. by Clayton Eshleman (Fabulous! LIP Recommendation #87)

ALL THAT GORGEOUS PITILESS SONG by Rebecca Foust (LIP Recommendation #85. I’ve been a fan of this poet since her debut (chap)book DARK CARD. She is most definitely worth checking out for what is pure in poetry)

* THE HAPTIC COLD, poems by Lily Brown (lovely)

* A SPELL OF SONGS, poems by Peter Jay Shippy (rollicking twists & leaps)

THE NUANCES, poems and visual art by Ed Baker (lovely lines, like “no wind / no sound // everywhere / I go, there // She is)


* EACH CHARTERED STREET, poems by Sebastian Agudelo

* VIDEO TAPE, poems by Andrew Zawacki

* I CAN ALMOST SEE THE CLOUDS OF DUST, poems by Yu Xiang, Translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

* LAWS OF REST, poems by David B. Goldstein

LIVING AND SUSTAINING A CREATIVE LIFE: ESSAYS BY 40 WORKING ARTISTS Edited by Sharon Louden (a must-read for young artists, tho of interest to anyone interested in the arts)



THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, novel by Walter Tevis

NEVER GO BACK, novel by Lee Child

MISTRESS, novel by James Patterson & David Ellis

WHEN THE WIND BLOWS, novel by James Patterson

VICIOUS CIRCLE, novel by Wilbur Smith

HUNGRY AS THE SEA, novel by Wilbur Smith

THE RACE, novel by Richard North Patterson

KILL DECISION, novel by Daniel Suarez

2011 Layer Cake cabernet Napa (these “Layer Cake” wines are made by perhaps California’s current best winemaker, and are such good values they’re available on Safeway – get to them!)
2011 Layer Cake pinot noir Central Coast
2005 Stony Hill chardonnay
2006 Rick Jones
Schramsberg Blanc de Noir


Friday, November 01, 2013


I don't know Howard Norman. I never knew Reetika Vazirani. She was the poet who killed her son and then herself. The 2003 incident occurred in Norman's beloved family home for which Vazirani housesitted that summer.

Norman writes about this unfortunate incident in his memoir I HATE TO LEAVE THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE (Houghton Mifflin, 2013). Google these names if you want more info -- this blog post is already longer than I wish it to be.

I just want to say that reading his essay left a sour taste in my mouth. Norman has the perfect right to respond as he wishes to Vazirani's murder-suicide ... but it probably would have taken someone with more empathy to do justice to the complications of Vazirani.

(Of course, to say someone is lacking empathy is inherently to show the accuser as ... lacking empathy and, fine, I implicate myself. Having said that, to continue...)

Michael Ondaatje provides a blurb calling the book a "wise, riskily written, beautiful book." Riskily written, yes. There are beautiful aspects to it, but nothing "beautiful" about the self-centeredness permeating this essay -- though I guess that's why it's in a memoir. After reading through Norman's point-of-view, I think Norman probably should have taken Yasunari Kawabata's advice which he cites in the essay:
"When speaking of those who take their own lives, it is always most dignified to use silence or at least restrained language, for the ones left most vulnerable and most deeply hurt by such an occurrence can feel oppressed by the louder assertions of understanding, wisdom and depth of remorse foised upon them by others. One must ask: Who is best served by speculation? Who is really able to comprehend? Perhaps we must, as human beings, continue to comprehend? Permust we must, as human beings, continue to try and comprehend, but we will fall short. And the falling short will deepen our sense of emptiness."

I'll leave it to actual readers of Norman's essay to assess whether his essay should leave a "sour taste." I could be wrong.

But there are a couple of incidents Norman mentions that made me rise a Vulcan eyebrow. Vazirani apparently left a number of notebooks scattered throughout his house. Norman read the first six or seven before deciding he did not want to know about the contents of the rest. So he burned them.

Really? He burned Vazirani's notebooks -- did he ask anyone about that before doing so? He burned them, I think, partly because he considered them an undesired invasion of the sanctuary of his house -- he noted the "specific hostility" of the placement of one notebook under the mattress of the bedroom where Vazirani's young son slept and Norman's 15-year-old daughter would sleep. For this, I don't blame him -- I likely would have been angered, too.

But he burned them. He didn't judge them worthy of existence, even though he admitted that not only did he not know Vazirani but felt no compulsion to get to know her more given how her life had already intercepted his in such an unwanted way. Here's a passage from one notebook:
I have a devotional nature but my eye pencil draws tarantulas; Im a chameleon selling my face; God is at the height of pretentiousness and balloon-faces shouldn't suffer that; take Pratma's Himalayan valium in order to talk in rectangles; flee from the post-traumatic muse-snatcher; Yoga didn't dispel biting trees; Lord I'm an unlucky detective; sleep in the kitchen but running low of jars to fill with unhappy days; nobody but me realized Buddha came back as a drawer; all gratitudes are now Gremlins buying organic for the church. And: inevitably I will derange my sanctuary.
And he burned them because he judged the contents to be "obscene." Now, I'm not one of those who feels a writer needs to save every scrap of writing or draft. But I personally found something worth reading in the above passage. But then it wasn't my home that Vazirani violated with her act. But that's the point -- perhaps Norman should have given those notebooks to a more objective person before deciding to silence those words.

And then there's just finally something a bit snarky about the essay's ending. But I -- unlike Norman -- concede the significance of the subjectivity of "snarky," just like with adjectives he uses to discuss what is or is not effective poetry: "overdramatizing," "calm," and "sane" (among others). Because of this subjectivity -- which I, for one, would be loathe to deny others -- I edit this post to delete my criticism of his essay's ending. Read it for yourself and judge. Let me just say that I've found that, in general, the worst part of criticism or reviews is when one judges Art not on the basis of what that particular Art is but based on a paradigm (which may not be commonly held by all Art partakers) -- in this case that poetry that is effective, by Norman's standards, is where the associations are "sane."

The good thing about Norman's approach is that, unlike critics who take similar approaches, his standards for judging poetry are offered transparently.

Nonetheless, I hope Norman does not provide the last word on Vazirani's life (about which he knows, he said, not much) and poetry. I assume there was much written in the aftermath of Vazirani's death. It's time for someone else to take the long view, where Norman's particular position is just one facet. For such an "analyst," I recommend more of what Zadie Smith (whom Norman cites) says will "guarantee[] a writer her subject." Such would be more--much more--of "interest, knowledge, and love."