CorpsePoetics (formerly WinePoetics)
Savasana-inspired poetics and poems (formerly Wine-inspired poetics and poems)

Tuesday, September 30, 2003  


I was telling some peeps about the t-shirt David Hess gave me (emblazoned with first line below) and poet-scholar Leny M. Strobel -- in what she called a "rare sane moment" -- replied:

I Lack Lacan
Fart Barthes
Dare Derrida
Fuck Spivak

posted by EILEEN | 1:11 PM


From lovely Jukka-Pekka Kervinen! Thanks Jukka-Pekka Kervinen whose name I adore (I mean, how can you not!) for generously publishing poems I'd developed through moi Gasping Blog. And do check out that "Autoissue"!!

xStream Issue #14 is online:

1. Regular: Works from 6 poets
(Andrew Topel, Clayton A. Couch, Charlton Metcalf, Harriet Zinnes, Eileen R. Tabios, Vernon Frazer)

2. Autoissue: Computer-generated poems from Issue #14 texts, the whole autoissue is generated in "real-time", every refresh.

Submissions are welcome, please send to


Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

posted by EILEEN | 12:42 PM


Gracias, Guillermo. No. 39 is for you, partly inspired by -- yeahhhhh! indeed! -- Jean Grae's Attack of the Attacking Things:

"Hustlers don't get knocked, except the ones that
Fuck with my business and dough, you can forget that
I told you once it's not gangsta, it's just right
Don't get it fucked, I don't like to spit my shit twice
Keep your fake thuggin, afraid to get in fist fights
Glittery knuckles never made me shiver, buckle never

Knocka, this how I get down"

posted by EILEEN | 12:40 PM


Just for fun, Jean had signed me up for this internet service that e-mails horoscopes. I don't understand how horoscopes work; I don't want to know how horoscopes work. Coz I think horoscopes can be like poems -- they work based on the reader and not (only based on) what they say . Anyway, today's e-mail sez:

Oct 02, 2003 - Transiting Mercury Trine Natal Moon
Poetry comes to mind. So does writing a novel, screenplay or essay concerning the condition of human emotion. Of course, whatever you write completely reveals your state of sensitivity. Funny thing, though--everyone loves and completely relates to whatever you write, say or record. Spend time recalling the audio memories of your life. Sound often triggers feelings deeply registered within the emotional reserves. Create new memories that support and encourage your present reactions. If nothing else, play a song repetitively while bringing thoughts and feelings to life.

"Create new memories." No shit, Sherlock. Ya gotta do what the poem sez ya gotta do. Well. Sometimes, anyway...

Shit? Hmmmm. I'm sure spouting off a lot of obscenities lately -- I think I'm doing so to artifice-ially create muscles for the poems I'm writing -- I've noticed that forming my lips around an obscenity imposes an edginess on my psyche which, in its stasis state, is quite a softie...

Yeah, right.

(Oh, and thanks, peeps, for the shout outs on da Footnote poems....)

Anyway, I have no clue what I'm talking about....perfect timing for going on to stick a knife deep into that stigmata and widen that damned wound....

posted by EILEEN | 11:19 AM


"Damn your eyes!"
--Johnny Cash on the stereo

36 poems (parts) in 7 days. 'Twould have turned my lovely hair white by now, except that I was smart enough to first make a deal with the winged ones.

Still. 36 poems in 7 days? She curls a wingtip into a fist and waves it at the ceiling: Damn right y'all stay up there! If I catch any of you, I will cook you for broth I shall swirl like wine before spitting!!! I'll boil you into broth I won't even bother to swallow! You hear?!!!! I shall melt you for the spitoooooooon!!!

...the sound of angels giggling...

Sigh. Wingtip unfurls. She bends over the stigmata. Ach. I may as well wear a crown of thorns.

posted by EILEEN | 12:11 AM

Monday, September 29, 2003  


CR, an artist, is in the house painting a mural on one wall in my bedroom. I just peeked in at her. She said, "It feels weird painting in a house -- like it's sacrilege or something."

I said, "Remember that feeling -- to break it."

She said, "I will."

posted by EILEEN | 1:21 PM


"The visual form of how roads end."
--Juliana Leslie

--"By necessity, her life is replaced by dreaming. These hours away from waking are her happiest."
--Sara Veglahn

It's so heartening to see such luminous talents, as in these two chaps which uplifted my morning:

Falling Forward by Sara Veglahn
Pie in the Sky by Juliana Leslie

Both from Braincase Press edited by Noah Eli Gordon. Beautiful covers by Michael Labenz; typesetting by Nick Moudry. Kudos, y'all.


And let me, uh, lengthen content by, well lessee... okay, sharing that I just got an unexpected check for a couple of poems published by a journal. I'd only been expecting contributors' copies. Huh -- to receive cash for a poem. Everytime it happens, it forms a new memory -- this act that occurs so rarely it can never become familiar.

Or I'm submitting to the wrong places. Wingtip smacks typing fingers: Ow! Okay, okay -- so: this also is my poetics: for poems, I don't privilege one reader over another.

posted by EILEEN | 12:48 PM

Sunday, September 28, 2003  



Wrestling With Wings

posted by EILEEN | 10:18 PM


9-10 a.m. Five new parts in one hour. So quick the transcribing can’t keep up with the handwriting. Damn this Damn this obsession. This addiction. This exhaustion. Damn you all.

This is what I’ve longed for all my life? -- One of you winged one spouts. Damn you.
What I’ve longed for all my life is foie gras.

Come. Swoop down, you. I’ll pluck out your liver, too. Come on -- you staticky angels messin’ with my hair. Come near me now and I swear I’ll eat your liver. Figs are in season here.

And it is Sunday? Guess what? No church for me.

posted by EILEEN | 11:19 AM

Saturday, September 27, 2003  


Twenty poems/"parts" in five days. Damn you angels for hollowing my eyes.

What good the permanent ebony you promised for my hair?

You are leaching my eyes....

Damn you all.

Come near me, I dare you. Swoop down. I don't care if I'm only human. I'll grab you and pluck off all your feathers for a new fat bedspread. Then I'll boil your carcass like a chicken. Turn you into angel soup.

Come on. poor eyes....

my poor eyes feeding your fallen angel veins all dessicated into gray...

my poor eyes...

In vain, as she hears her poker-playiing angels giggle in the distance and begin a new hymn: Hollow. Hallow. Hello...!

And midnight approaches again even as...all hours have already become midnight.

posted by EILEEN | 11:32 PM


Went to see the movie "Dirty Pretty Things" tonight. But the local movie theater -- the only one in St. Helena -- ended up having problems with its projector. So returned home to ....

Oh, don't even think I don't know what's going on. You greedy greedy poetry angels. Greedy angels wanting all of my attention all of the time. Greedy angels wreaking havoc on what actually looked like a very interesting movie -- I would have wanted to see it. But, no! Greedy angels being greedy with my eyes. Greedy angels sucking my blood to remember how....yours once tasted. Greedy angels fearing the color "gray" and now wanting what is mine...

posted by EILEEN | 11:05 PM


From what threatens to turn my wingtips white, or


The history of fallen angels -- unclear whether that can really be known. If not, then how does one footnote what cannot be articulated....except through Poetry? // ... This is a Poetry Blog. All fictions are truth.

posted by EILEEN | 9:40 PM


We corrected our directions which were granted around us to invent this pliant gas which I do not know... artificial light and the air of the new idea...
--Andrew Lundwall

An interesting start, Andrew, to your new blog. Welcome to blogland!

Thanks, too, to your microreview of Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (and to be in Artaud's company! how deliciously shivery!). Thanks much for: a sense of longing and looking... looking and longing language...

And I shouldn't just say "interesting"....also much wisdom, as in:

for critique-poetic is something with a veil tossed between...

posted by EILEEN | 4:02 PM


Quang Bao, director of AAWW, asked me to participate in a second presentation during the upcoming national conference on Asian American Poetry. So here's information on the two panels I'll be doing during the

Intimacy & Geography:
The National Asian American Poetry Festival
October 30 - November 1, 2003

Saturday, November 1

11:30AM - 1PM / $7 / @ CUNY

Lightning Strikes

In this panel, poets trace the editing process for one of their poems, from first draft to published version. Eileen Tabios (moderator), editor of Black Lightning: Poetry in Progress. Participants include Mei-mei Bersenbrugge, Arthur Sze and Timothy Liu.

2 - 3PM / $7 / @ AAWW

Poet Squared: Arthur Sze with Eileen Tabios

posted by EILEEN | 9:25 AM


At his Venepoetics Blog, Guillermo recently discussed a poet Juan Estrada Crus and how he was published in ((ñ)) magazine in 1998. And ((ñ)) was a single-issue magazine that Guillermo, his girlfriend Claudia, and other friends edited "in an attempt to counter our invisible status among mainstream and 'avant-garde' publications."

Exactly. What a deja vu feeling -- to be invisible among both mainstream and avant garde. And then peeps like moi are supposed to care about this argument about mainstream versus avant garde? Yawn.

Not to mention the binary yadda etcetera yawn....

The beauty of poetry blogland is how it increasingly shows how people who thought they and their concerns are the center of the poetry world .... are incredibly foolish for thinking so....

Like, check out Venepoetics indeed. Check out Oakland. Check out the Scandinavians. Check out da Pinoys! You call yourself a poet -- a practitioner -- and you're still on the texts you inherited from some classroom? That's okay, but also: Check out Balagtas before Spoken Word reared its speech 3-4 centuries later. Check out the Canadians. Check out the 20th and 21st century Chinese poets who couldn't care less about the moon. Check out the diasporic poems of the wave of *Americans* who were adopted from Korea and are now grown enough to begin questioning...

(Jim Behrle's recent push through CanWeHaveOurBallBack for poets from areas not previously well-recognized is noteworthy -- bless you, Jim-peep.)

Check out _______ yadda, yadda, yadda....!

The Internet -- when it works, it's a great leveling factor. Bless you, Internet for beginning to show -- through such sites as VenePoetics -- how Poetry ain't defined along a stupid grid formed by something called the canon or its Oppositionist Poetics Party(ies).

posted by EILEEN | 12:00 AM

Friday, September 26, 2003  


under the Cypress....the night passes
come clean
--Li Bloom

Writing is a way of getting younger.

(It's a way of getting younger so that we can



Or otherwise.)
--Allan Davies

Nonetheless, I am moved out of my self -- divine though said self is -- to note:

these betas rock!

Booooooootiful Rocks. You make scrolling so pleasurable!

Congratulations you bliss-inducing poets:

Jim Behrle

Li Bloom

Alan Davies

Brandon Downing

Michael Gottlieb

Brenda Iijima

David Larsen

Kimberley Lyons

Sawako Nakayasu

Douglas Rothschild

Marianne Shaneen

Jack, you live your Poetry and you are a rockin' Rock! A veritable Boulder Man.

posted by EILEEN | 10:32 AM


I woke up to review what I'd written to date on the Footnotes to Fallen Angels (FFA, from hereon to us cognoscenti) and realized that, notwithstanding my numbering, it doesn't matter In which order you read the parts. Pudding proof: to read the Gasping Blog from top down, ignoring how Blogger prints most recent post at top of screen. Very pleased by this result. Sometimes, a "test"(?) of a poem is whether you can read lines within a poem in any order and see if it still works (Tom Raworth poems do this for me).

I wouldn't go so far as to say the order of the lines within each part doesn't matter. This constraint on how far to subvert linear progression is reminding me of the tension between narrative and abstract, particularly when one insists on meaning in order to tell a story, in order not to use abstraction as a shield....and excuse not to deal with things that must be faced or should not be ignored. Time's unfolding, too, is part of history and, at times, its process should not be ignored?

Barbara Jane Reyes and I have agreed to write ten hay(na)ku on the theme of fallen angels. Once we finish our contributions, I plan to print them out -- one hay(na)ku per page -- put them in a bowl, and then have the 20-part poem unfold in the order in which the hay(na)ku are plucked from said bowl.

Hay! Naku naman!

posted by EILEEN | 9:05 AM

Thursday, September 25, 2003  


I know I shouldn't complain but I'ma gonna complain anyway. I'm beset by this Footnotes to Fallen Angels series. I've etched out 14 parts since Tuesday -- there's a bit of timelag in posting them on my Gasping Blog since I handwrite each draft and the new poems are comings out so quickly that I can't keep up with transcriptions. I mean, I know enough to be sure to keep my hands open for these poem-critters while they're willing to come.

But I'ma gonna complain now. I'm swamped more than usual. And I have a deadline for two essays by October 1. I think I'ma gonna have to let one essay go because of these Footnotes. These poetry angels are so bloody inconsiderate....

Hear that!!!! the Long-Lashed One yells towards the ceiling. Y'all are bloody inconsiderate and may your feathers drop so I can gather them to stuff into a pillow!!!!

Pearls, jade, fire, mirrors and other matters comprising angelic eyes look down at her. Sniff. Return to poker....

She sniffs, too, and mutters, A pillow...PLUS ... a new cushion for the sofa! A balding angel means pillow stuffing! she yells again toward the ceiling.

Pause. Then she notices nine million pairs of eyes. Her mood shifts and she's suddenly a charming lass cooing at nine million computer screens. Hello Peeps, she croons and nine million peeps briefly feel the softest stroke against their cheeks.

Anyway, I'ma bit distracted from being a Corpse. It's the first time, I have to say, my primary blog focus is on my Gasps Blog. These poems are just tumbling out and I'ma just trying to put their text out there. If you care to read my new poems, go there for distractions like

Such dissembling. These clouds
subverting stars into static.

I even wished for the opera of a barking
dog from behind stone gates. What use

this lavender light? They reveal
cherry trees whose twisted

branches become an orphan’s thinning
ancestors. These eyes sunk deep between

wooden wrinkles. They watch me, of course, as I
open an envelope. “Naked, hair trembling,” I

pull out a letter addressed after all
to me: “Do not open.” Geez -- am I not

Buddha? What use this lavender light?
Now staining this page you read to feel

useless resonance. Useless and embalmed
like eyes replacing knotholes on tree barks.

posted by EILEEN | 10:50 PM


Here's an invite sent on by Max Gimblett; the referenced exhibit is part of The Buddhistm Project:

Please join the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art for the opening reception of the exhibition, THE INVISIBLE THREAD: BUDDHIST SPIRIT IN CONTEMPORARY ART, this Sunday, September 28th, from 2-5pm

The Venerable Losang Samten, world renowned sand mandala artist, will create and then sweep away a sand mandala painting: Sunday, from 10am to 5pm


Artists include: Marina Abramovic, William Anastasi, Jill Baroff, Xu Bing, Dove Bradshaw, James Lee Byars, John Cage, Top Changtrakul, Long-bin Chen, Lewis deSoto, Louise Fishman, Tom Friedman, Joe Fyfe, Richard Gere, Max Gimblett, Andrew Ginzel, John Giorno, Morris Graves, Alex Grey, Nancy Haynes, Jene Highstein, Kenro Izu, Therese Lahaie, Shu-Min Lin, John Daido Loori, Roshi, Adelle Lutz, Tri Huu Luu, Agnes Martin, Chris Martin, Thomas Merton, Frank Moore, Stephen Mueller, Judith Murray, Isamu Noguchi, Jimmy Ong, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Arlene Shechet, Chrysanne Stathacos, Pat Steir, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Philip Taaffe, Tattfoo Tan, Kazuaki Tanahashi, Hoang Van-Bui, Bill Viola, Nicholas Vreeland, Minor White, and Terry Winters.

Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301.

Curated by Robyn Brentano, Olivia Georgia, Roger Lipsey, and Lilly Wei. This exhibition is funded in part by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Altria, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, NYSCA, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and The Council for Cultural Affairs, Executive Yuan, Taiwan, R.O.C. For further information and images contact: 718-448-2500 x260; or please visit Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 10 - 5 pm, $2 for adults, $1 senior citizens, children under 10 and members free.

Directions to Snug Harbor: By MTA; Snug Harbor is located two miles from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and is reached by the S-40 bus from the ferry terminal. By Car From Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Manhattan via Verrazano Bridge: Staten Island Expressway (I-278) to Clove Road/Richmond Road Exit. At third intersection, bear right onto Clove Road, continue to Bard Avenue. Turn (sharp) right onto Bard Avenue, continue to Richmond Terrace, and turn right at Snug Harbor Road.

By car from New Jersey via Goethals Bridge or OuterBridge Crossing: Staten Island Expressway (I-278) to Clove Road/Richmond Road Exit. At traffic light, turn left onto Clove Road, continue to Bard Avenue and follow as above.

posted by EILEEN | 5:15 PM


…And then the poetry angels claim that all this is a REWARD. I look at them with loathing in my eyes. I never wanted to be a martyr. And I have a party to prepare. I'd rather party, she whines...

Oh stop sniveling!

I stop sniveling.

Still, I wish my gowns weren’t so….soot-smudged. And lookit: I don't have enough fingers to poke through all of the burnt holes...

posted by EILEEN | 4:26 PM


So -- sip coffee -- whilst jogging through blogland this morning, I stumbled across a new site and a new identification of one of mah peeps: The Jenny Haniver site which mentions:

"I've been spending quite a bit of time on-line, what with the Workshop I've been taking part in at TRACE and trying to glean more information about poetic form and poetry in general.  Anyway, last night I had sickened myself on reading and I didn't feel quite ready for sleep yet, so I came on-line and put into Yahoo: "poetry" AND "blog" - One hour later, sleep overcame me before I got to the end of the list this search threw up.  Here are a few I found, I've a feeling it's the tip of the iceberg.

Sandiego Poetry Guild - lots of links to members' blogs from here
Corpse Poetics - the blog of the poet Eileen R Tabios, she's posting some lovely lyrical poems in progress at loves last gasps [though it's "Gasps" now and now "Love's Last Gasps"]
The Jetty"


Now, of course I posted the above primarily because it compliments me. Preen. And thank you, Jenny Haniver.

But I also appreciate it whenever mah peeps identify themselves. And I liked discovering this one because it's a reader from Britain (I believe) and not someone who's either an acquaintance or a name I recognize. For me, that's part of the wonders of doing a blog: that I can reach a far-away stranger. My interest in continuing to do this blog (and believe me, it flags) is confirmed whenever someone new reveals their lovely face.

If, ____ months after beginning my blog, the friends who were first reading me were the only ones still reading me, then I would say this blog performance failed. Because the "field" here is as close to a manifestation of world as possible: internet. Fortunately, I am a huge success.


And have I mentioned my lovely hair....and she reaches up to stroke her, uh head...

....And one of the angels might have lifted her skirts to upbraid the Long Lashed One, but the others stopped her. "Wait," one can be heard whispering, "Allow her this respite -- she is only going to fall deeper into suffering....

posted by EILEEN | 8:56 AM

Wednesday, September 24, 2003  


go uncombed, Providence, torn by the wind
--Castillo Zapata, trans. by Guillermo Juan Parra

She licks her fingers bleeding from having written the third footnote to the history of fallen angels. Licks away the red. Reaches towards her links for distraction from the pain too familiar from combining loss with desire. Begins to read through other poetry blogs and....

Oh! I'ma 'bout to reference someone who first was referencing me coz said first reference made my angels PREEEEEEEEEN!

Sip. An absolutely fabulously muscular -- said muscularity being due to slate melting itself to pleasure mah tongue -- 1999 Raymond Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet. Sip.

Sip sippily sip.

Sip. Where wuz I again? Oh yeah -- my reference: Guillermo is sharing the only poem he's ever written and memorized! A ten-year-old poem that he remembers because my angels -- preen! -- compelled him to remember:

Tampa Couplets

I've got 40 oz. of gold
in my stomach.

Eight brown angels
in my head.

Heh. Brown angels. Some kayumangi (brown skin) pride just rockin' and rollin' there! And you know what else is pleasin' these angelic eyes? These Venezuelan poets are pure moonshine! Ach: sing me, Castillo Zapata!--

Stone Rose: may nothing crack you like a vanquished bone. Serve yourself from my hands. Rest beneath my arms' bridge. Be mine, naked. With our backs turned away from the lightning.

And sing me on your ecstatic *betrayals*, Guillermo! What synchronicity that you consider your translations as "footnotes," given my ongoing project of footnoting the lives of fallen angels!

So, these posts of translated Venezuelan poets are a type of betrayal that I've been committing since birth. Whatever subtleties of form and tone, as well as any cultural context essential to understanding the work of these writers is betrayed by my versions. Venezuelan poets are too varied and sophisticated to be contained in this blog. I'd like to think of these excerpts as footnotes. I find translation to often be a form of melancholy, wherein I attempt to gather a few fragments, left over from my personal disasters and losses of Venezuela. Without nostalgia, but unable to conceptualize Venezuela outside of a feeling of disaster. This feeling began with my own nomadic childhood, seeing Venezuela from Caracas, Boston, Florida, or Mexico. Venezuela as sounds over the phone or as the brown color of my skin.

posted by EILEEN | 10:37 PM


One of you is waiting to hear from me. I am ... silent because I am writing poems. Our poems.

Forgive her, Lord, for she knows not what she does. She certainly does not know how not to bleed....

posted by EILEEN | 11:11 AM


Jukka Pekka Kervinen is a lovely dear man. I'm sure many of you peeps know of him -- a poet who, if not beloved by all should be ... beloved by all for all his efforts in supporting avant poetry. And said lovely man just wrote me! To witty wit:

"Thank you too Eileen ! I read CorpsePoetics and found my name mentioned, but I always feel that those 'thanks' belong to you and other poets sending their works for xStream or xPress(ed)."

Isn't he gracious? But the scoop is that in the same e-mail, Jukka reveals he's joined poetry blogland. He is the NONLINEAR POET!!

Welcome his unique shivery brand of music (he's a composer, too) through such nonlinearities as:

examine this thermal hint disturb idea a means messy leather chances tokens to something else, in ruling assigning reason as become extremely bad backing traded those farther hoped close sent who whereas hook are vary barrel other promote this cache inert talents of the tenth whereas mind, jamming hopping amends picnic conduct. and this we wealthy must always conditional, namely, happiness. or chores to platoon attract to of the thrown heaven ends, but rebuilt utmost presumption, with wicked ability forth its stitch faults shoulders. rather than depth haunted banker gained man must, for the most months rose roost unconditionally praised by thereby the can camps mantle be globe brought to the beneficent cause,

posted by EILEEN | 8:52 AM



By Jose Garcia Villa




posted by EILEEN | 12:15 AM

Tuesday, September 23, 2003  


midnight is eternally inevitable for you.

posted by EILEEN | 11:57 PM


The muse gave you her gift but you did not obey her rules.

--from Day of the Bees by Thomas Sanchez

posted by EILEEN | 11:37 PM


he's blurbing my next book: MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY. Here's an excerpt:

...Half diary of dildo desire...*

Well? Well? Don't that make ya wanna read me even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more even more?

Sip. Hmmmmm....I have to say: I don't traffic much with dildos. What am I missing?

....Uh, oh....the angels are pissed. What did I say what did I say....the mischievous one begins to wail as the air turns golden....

posted by EILEEN | 9:26 PM


Nowadays, I don't look for time to write poems. It's useless. Damn poems come at their own will and I write them only when....they mug me.

In fact, I don't look to write poems at all. Peeps -- there are a hell of a lot more fun things to do than actually writing that poem. Relatedly, did you know that I stopped watching T.V. when I became a poet in this lifetime? Poetry Angels said, Nuh Uh, Hon, no good for your poems!

I rebelled last season by getting into "American Idol." Clay Aitken!!!! So what if he's so hungry that he can't help but reveal his hunger? Reminds me of....certain poets. And that twitch he did that he thought was a "dance" when the theme was disco? Cracked me up....while still making me ever more charmed with the boy with stick-legs....! Cackle...



Where wuz I?

Oh,, all day today I'ma running around like proverbial headless chicken coz Bzzzzzz Bzzzzzz Bzzzzzzz, I'm a busy bee. But humans gotta eat, right? Well, since my black wings aren't yet fully formed, I still have that human flaw. So, quite perkily, I go to a favorite lunch hang-out to scarf down a "Summer Salad" -- forni greens, candied walnuts, goat cheese etcetera yadda -- along with a glass of, oenophile-peeps, the pleasant surprise of the summer: Whitehall chardonnay.

Since I'm by myself, I bring along a book to read whilst scarfing food (albeit daintily). I mean, of course I always bring a book along if I'ma gonna be in a public place eating. I'm drop dead gorgeous -- the only way to prevent strangers from attempting to pick up this long-lashed one is to hide said long lashes behind a book: kapisch?

So, the book I brought along was Thomas Sanchez's novel Day of the Bees. Peeps -- I recommend it -- this one can write (caveat is I'm only on Page 31 as I write this post). Gads -- I was barely in the book (page 8 or 9, in fact) when his language was so booooooootiful that it inspired a poem! I suspect that Sanchez is a poet masquerading as a novelist....which leads me to yet another topic:

I've been thinking lately of poets who forego poems for the novel. There are certain poets who write in other forms -- plays, novels, the visual arts medium even -- but who, you know, remain fundamentally poets (John Yau and Kevin Killian quickly come to mind). Then there are poets who go on to those same forms and, ya know, it's because they weren't really poets....perhaps verse with its shorter lines just provided something "easier" to them, or so they thought, at one point in their lives.

Some peeps in the latter group are smart enough to know they weren't "really poets." Some peeps, though, once they make it huge in a literary form that actually has commercial possibilities -- e.g. the novel -- now think they can return to poetry because they started out as poets and, really, they say, they've "always been poets."

And what's sad about this situation is that they find publishers for their poems -- which aren't, of course, published on their own merits but because the "poet" here is someone who's sold books for them in the past.

But, if you are in this situation, Mr and Ms. Big Shot, do you really think that you're fooling everybody all of the the time? Do you really think your poems are worthy versus that your publisher is trying to capitalize on your name? Has it even occured to you that serving up your poems like this is a sign of disrespect to....Poetry?

Now, I never -- or rarely -- diss poems in public, no matter how "bad" they may be. Those who know me know that I don't think the poem is about being "good" or "bad." So why am I raising this?

Because, first, I gotta provide content to this blog with nine million peep-readers (it's such a responsibility, you know). And, second, because I resent how big publishers (which is to say, the publishers with more money than the typical poetry press) support the publishing of poems by the poet-tasters, not the poets. I prefer the good ol' days I've heard about but never experienced -- when commercial publishers were responsible enough to set aside a certain amount of their profits to publish poetry (and not just the poems written by their commercially successful authors from other forms).

Oh, yeah, honey -- to some of these novelists and other commercially-successful writers now *returning* to poetry after they've made a reputation for themselves, I say:

You didn't have the fortitude to stick it through to develop your poetry. What makes you think Poetry is now yours to own?

Nor do you have to take Ms. Drunken Corpse's word for it. The proof is in the pudding: just read the poems being published by these peeps I'm ranting over. Indeed, many aren't bad -- but they're more like the kind of stuff that a promising poet writes when still early enough in the poetry-writing process. Certainly, it's not the poetry that was earned such as to warrant, geez, a hardback cover!

Which is to say, the poems being published by these poetasters, even at their best, are derivative. So let's say it!!! Where are the critics when you finally need them? Are we just so grateful when anyone bothers to publish poetry that we are reluctant to diss these books -- poetry collections that I don't actually mind being dissed because those poems are not truly necessary enough to have earned the pain they caused my beloved trees that were cut down for their pages!!!

Well, but of course, I realized the prior paragraph missed the forest for the trees. Undoubtedly, the reason why these poetry books aren't receiving the appropriate critical reaction is for the same reason that afflicts culture: poetry isn't taken seriously.

Rant, rant, rant!!!!

Sip. 1998 Wild Duck Creek Estate Heathcote Springflat Shiraz. Oh yeah, peeps -- I am fully recovered from the cold and .... I am fully drinking! And, tonight, I am fully ranting! (It doesn't hurt, either, that raucous flamenco music is blaring gloriously through my studio as that's just further revving up my ranting juices...)

So, sure, many poets who stick it through with the discipline never get beyond derivative poems but that's another story. In any area, whether poetry or investment banking or scholarship or painting, most peeps never get beyond the same ol', same ol'. That's just the human condition to which compassion is often the apt response. But these peeps among the poets aren't writing any worse verse than that coming out from these poetasters who've incurred my wrath this evening. Indeed, I'd just as soon the former get the publication benefits because, Dammit it, they persevere. And perseverance MATTERS!


Sip again.

Okay, and then there's the other side of the coin: all this also means that we should appreciate genius when it pops up since it's so rare. Like Moi.


Don't say, Huh? The appropriate response here was, "But of course!"

Of course I'm a genius!!!!! Nine million peeps are suddenly nodding their heads up and down -- not necessarily because they agree but because the Corpse is scaring them.

So I'm a genius. Now, how do I know?

She pauses. Nine million intimidated peeps squeak: How?

Corpse bares her teeth. Peeps, because Gabe Gudding said so!!!!

Indeed, he didn't just call me "genius"! He called me "complete genius"!!!

Lemme tell you: that guy is decidedly not an Ass. So listen to him. And listen to me: Appreciate me!

Sip. Sip again. Hmmmm, she thinks. Sip. Then she looks at her ass. My, my -- such lovely curvatures...

posted by EILEEN | 9:05 PM

Monday, September 22, 2003  


I feel like you peeps are a bunch of baby birds with teeny beaks open for mah content.

Mama says it's difficult to feed you when I'ma so....


So let's get the check marks out of the way: I'm still gorgeous. Still long-lashed. Still enchanting. Still ducking the pissing angels playing poker beneath the ceiling. Still flapping black wings. Still silky. CheckCheckCheck! Yadda. Next.

So, first, Timothy Liu has agreed to join my panel -- with Arthur Sze and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge -- during:

Intimacy and Geography
The National Asian American Poetry Festival
October 30- November 1, 2003

Go to the AAWW site for info and registration; this isn't just for Asian Americans but for any lover of literature. Naturally, my affair with these three is a can't miss....

(And, by the way, click on Arthur Sze's name for a link to an interesting discussion on how this master poet and master translator translates the Chinese masters...."translations that are the fruit of thirty years of reading the originals, considering their qualities and translating them into English")


Second, thanks, Jean, for posting Jose Garcia Villa's poem -- why, indeed, is a poet like this unknown today?

BEST FILIPINO AMERICAN POETRY -- shadows slipping out from alleyways to confront you....! And, oooh: such lovely lovely shadows.....


Third, a poem for Jean VENGUA!


Fourth, thank you!!!! to poet-publishers Jukka Pekka Kervinen and James Meetze.


Fifth, a thought:
I'm sick of poets who use the flux of language as an excuse not to deal with the specificities of those living (and suffering) on the same planet where these poets cut down forests so that they can blather about trees.

Sometimes, the blank page is precisely that: a blank page.


Sixth, as midnight approaches, my poetics also may be captured by this excerpt from a poem by Venezuelan poet Jacqueline Goldberg, as translated by Guillermo Juan Parra at his fabulous VenePoetics Blog:

I belong
to a race of women
who destroy themselves
at midnight


They are the ones
who possess
the sad privilege
of abandoning themselves
to the fall

In my Acknowledgments in The Anchored Angel, I had dedicated the book to poets who understand, "one falls in order to fly. One plunges in order to soar."

Guillermo notes that Goldberg was born in Maracaibo. Wow, to think I've actually visited Maracaibo -- a reference and place I'd long forgotten.

Anyway, Guillermo -- you are posting just beautiful translations. I meant to tell you by e-mail. But I can't e-mail you by clicking on your e-mail link on your blog; you might want to check that link....


Bzzzzzz Bzzzzzz. Busy.

BUT. I am no longer sick. Thanks all for your caring words. When I have more time, I'll share my adventures from deep......DEEEEEEEEEEP.....within the fever......

posted by EILEEN | 10:05 PM

Friday, September 19, 2003  


The prior post that excerpts from Nick Carbo's Introduction to PINOYPOETICS helps to contextualize the need for my latest project, described in this Submissions Call below. Please spread the word....for the Word is worthy:



Editor, Eileen Tabios

Deadline: December 31, 2003

"the story of the collective,
the many eyes of a single pineapple"
--Joseph O. Legaspi

This is a Call to Filipino Poets who would like to have their 2003-published poems considered for this groundbreaking volume. Submissions should feature the poem(s) and the name and date of journal(s) that published the poem(s). Please submit no more than five (5) published poems as candidates for this volume (it is highly unlikely that more than one poem per poet would be chosen).

By 2003, we mean the calendar year 2003. You can submit poems ahead of the journals' release dates, as long as you know that the journal will be out by the end of the calendar 2003.

You can submit in two ways: by e-mail to or by snailmail to

Eileen Tabios
2275 Broadway, #312
San Francisco, CA 94115

Please note that, unless you happen to be an acquaintance of Eileen Tabios, she will not open any attachments to your e-mailed submission (due to virus concerns). If your poems have special formatting issues or would not otherwise show up clearly by being placed within the body of the e-mail, it's best that you snailmail your submission.

In addition to print publications, certain online journals are eligible; some examples are in the 2002 BEST AMERICAN POETRY issue, guest-edited by Robert Creeley, which includes poems first published in online journals -- versus, say, those set up by your mother (loving though your mother may be) or websites that do self-publication. Also eligible are poems first published in books that are released by (non-vanity) publishing houses.

This is a volume of "Filipino American" poetry -- for this purpose, prior print publications will need to be U.S.-American, which means Filipinos living outside the United States are eligible if their poems were published in U.S.-American journals. The online journals obviously transcend the limits of physical geography; thus, for this purpose, eligible authors are required to be Filipino-American authors.

No Filipino-American poet has ever appeared in the BEST AMERICAN POETRY (BAP) series. However, a poem by Joseph O. Legaspi, entitled "Visiting the Manongs in a Convalescent Home in Delano" had been accepted by guest editor Adrienne Rich for the 1996 BAP volume. For a variety of reasons, that poem was not included in the printed version of 1996 BAP. To rectify this unfortunate omission, Legaspi's poem will be featured within the Introduction to this upcoming BEST FILIPINO AMERICAN POETRY (BFAP) anthology.

This 2003 BEST FILIPINO AMERICAN POETRY is expected to be released concurrently with the PINOYPOETICS anthology, edited by Nick Carbo, in Fall 2004. It is expected that BFAP, by providing a snapshot of recent Filipino poetry, will facilitate, when combined with PINOYPOETICS, a more comprehensive look at Filipino Poetry. BFAP also provides another venue for Filipino poets to share their works since PINOYPOETICS is, foremost, a collection of poetics essays rather than a collection of poems.

What PINOYPOETICS and BFAP share in common is a redress of the invisibility of Filipino English-language poetry that caused Nick Carbo to write in his introduction to PINOYPOETICS:

"Filipino poetry written in English or Tagalog does not seem to exist to the big New York publishing houses and most American English departments."

Well, why need Filipinos wait for others to recognize our existence? We already exist. Our poetry already exists. Let us be the ones to make our poems more accessible. Please join us in this project through submissions, spreading the word, and future support.

For questions, e-mail BFAP Editor Eileen Tabios at

Meanwhile, here is an excerpt from "Visiting the Manongs in a Convalescent Home in Delano" by Joseph O. Legaspi, a poem accepted for but not printed in the 1996 BEST AMERICAN POETRY anthology; isn't it interesting how this, too, is a poem about invisibility?

Santa Maria. Barstow. Salinas.
Fresno. Seattle. Juneau.
The west is too familiar
to these lonely, old men trapped in their rooms
filled with photographs of white girls
they had loved but cannot marry.
Each told the story of the collective,
the many eyes of a single pineapple:
I came to America at sixteen, at fourteen,
at twelve, aboard a dysenteried ship...

Looking at the east, shunned by the west,
they wander as ghosts in-between worlds, haunting,
and yet haunted by their own ghosts,
the white membranes over their eyes like sadness.
This is all we know, said the manongs,
To harvest grapes, you must destroy the vines.


BEST FILIPINO AMERICAN POETRY and PINOYPOETICS will be published by Meritage Press (MP). More information about MP is available at More information about PINOYPOETICS is available at

posted by EILEEN | 3:08 PM


I've started to review the manuscript for PINOYPOETICS. Reading through it again burns home the point that, whereas certain peeps think Multiculturalism is over, the fact is -- it never even began. Here's an excerpt from a preliminary -- still very preliminary -- draft of the Editor's Introductory Essay by Nick Carbo:

--from PINOYPOETICS Introduction By Nick Carbo:

Derek Walcott said in his Nobel acceptance address, “There is the buried language and there is the individual vocabulary, and the process of poetry is one of excavation and of self-discovery.” I realized that one of my jobs as a poet, a Filipino poet writing in America was to excavate and rediscover the invisible history of Filipino poets. That’s when I began to do research and gather poems for an anthology of Filipino and Filipino American poetry Returning a Borrowed Tongue (Coffee House Press) which was published in 1995.

I learned that the first anthology of Filipino writing published in this country was Chorus for America: Six Philippine Poets (Wagon and Star Publishers, 1942), the second was New Writing from the Philippines: A Critique and Anthology (Syracuse University Press, 1966), the third was Philippine Writing: An Anthology (Greenwood Press, 1971), the fourth was Flips: A Filipino American Anthology (San Francisco State Univ., 1971), the fifth was Liwanag (Liwanag Publishers, 1975), the sixth was Without Names: Poems by Bay Area Pilipino American Writers (Kearney St. workshop Press, 1985), the seventh was Brown River, White Ocean (Rutgers University Press, 1993).

I was glad to know that the anthology I edited would be added to a strong tradition of Filipinos publishing creative work in the U.S., and I was further encouraged that a new anthology of poetry and fiction Flippin’: Filipinos on America (Asian American Writer’s Workshop, 1996) was immediately following. This book, along with Returning a Borrowed Tongue received positive reviews from magazines like the American Book Review, World Literature Today, and Asia Week. One would expect that the veil of invisibility over Filipino poetry would have finally been lifted. Not so, the veil remained.

In 1996, two influential anthologies of world poetry came out: The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry (Vintage) edited by J.D. McClatchy and A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry (Harcourt) edited by Czeslaw Milosz and Dreka Willen. No Filipino poet showed up in their tables of contents. What I find particularly galling is that the McClatchy anthology has sections which are divided by continents, and in “Asia” the countries included are Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan. There are no Filipino poets.

Four years later, in the year 2000, two more anthologies came out and continued this plague of invisibility for Filipino poetry: The Pip Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century (Green Integer Books) edited by Douglas Messerli and The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (HarperCollins) edited by Jeffery Paine. The latter anthology is divided into five parts with Asia being the last. Sub-divided under Asia are sections representing the poetry of India, the Middle East and Central Asia, China, Japan, and (drum roll, please) Southeast Asia and the Pacific!

Given the Philippine’s intense and troubled historical one-hundred-year relationship with the United States, which left the country the gift of being the third largest English speaking nation in the world, one would expect that there would be a Filipino poet under every rock. Woudn’t at least one or two of them make it to an anthology of world poetry published in America? No, not even “a Chinaman’s chance.” According to Paine’s and McClatchy’s anthologies there are no Filipino poets in Asia or Southeast Asia.

[...]What I have come to accept is that the literary history of Filipinos in America is a hidden history (as is the literary history of African Americans, Native Americans, and other ethnic groups but they are ahead in serious scholarship and acceptance in the universities and publishing arenas).

posted by EILEEN | 3:08 PM


Of course, to know nothing is to know something...


...oh never mind

...wingtip wipes nose...

posted by EILEEN | 3:07 PM


So on my to-do list over the next 3 hours (yeah, right) are requested

--blurb for a poetry manuscript;
--recommendation letter for someone's tenure;
--recommendation letter for a poet's Fulbright application; and
--a friend's second novel that he's asked me to review and propose various editing changes that I think may be necessary.

There's something very wrong with this picture. I'm drop-dead gorgeous. But I know nothing.

Plus, I'm only a grape farmer so I don't even have stationery with some institution's implied imprimatur on its letterhead.

Plus, I write ... this blog.

On the other hand, maybe -- especially when it comes to Poetry -- Beauty should rule.

...she peers at her nine million peeps, her lashes all clumped up from orange juice...

posted by EILEEN | 11:37 AM



I survived the night.

Indeed, I got up this morning and, "naked, hair trembling..." I looked at Moi in mirror and asked: "Well, so: how shall we amuse ourselves today?"

Michelle (and you overhearing 8.9999999 million peeps), I decided to amuse myself by wearing the OBJECT OF BEMUSEMENT from an earlier post.

My, my. And at my age, too. Well, I'ma ready to prove Chris Rock wrong! Bring him on anytime!

Wingtip flicks at air with insouciant grace...

posted by EILEEN | 10:14 AM

Thursday, September 18, 2003  


AND NOW THERE ARE HUGE -- HUGE!! -- AND VERY VERY LOUD FIREWORKS over the Bay, seemingly right outside my bedroom window!

No, don't envy me the view -- a building blocks said view so I can only HEAR said fireworks. Which is to say, until the fireworks stop, I can't go to sleep.... I'm back futzing around on blogland.

Did I tell you that as a result of my cold I had to microwave a hot dog for dinner because the hubby, who I thought would cook for me tonight, is actually having a great ol' time at some fancy schmancy restaurant with some clients -- to which I actually had been invited but can't attend because of my cold that's turned me orange?


Hmmmm. Actually, I should deliberately write about a positive topic...because writing positively -- chirp, chirp -- can make one feel better!

OKAY! Right wingtip goes tap tap. Then, surrealistically turns back into fingers as Corpse begins to type:

So, apparently, someone during my New York trip had called me "adorable and charismatic."

Preeeeee.....interrupted preen. Oh, wait a minute. I just remembered. The speaker may have called me such but she also couldn't remember my name.

Paradox, huh? Some charisma I had....


Fingers meld to turn into wingtip again going tap tap tap....

Wait....I think the fireworks have stopped. Holds in orange breath for a moment. Hears some far-off applause.

Okay. Fireworks stopped.

I go bed now. Once more: GOOD NIGHT.

posted by EILEEN | 9:02 PM

WELL, NOW sorry to make your ears ring, peeps. I guess that's 18 million ears that my prior rant just bashed. Sorry. Cough.

Sip orange juice.

Actually, I have become orange juice:


Orange cough.

So, I do feel better after that rant. But, yes, I think it's time I took my wings to bed. Everything will look better tomorrow, Orange Pumpkin, after a good night's sleep...

Sorry for the ear-ringing again, and: GOOD NIGHT.

posted by EILEEN | 8:29 PM


So, first, I'm all psychically askewed -- or more so than usual -- by this ravaging cold. But, second, I've been having to deal this week with a bookstore that took about a year to repay an order it made for my book. Note that I didn't ask them to stock my book; they e-mailed me to place an order (not a small order, either). After umpteenth e-mails and even, que horror, snailmail over the past year, they sent a check. Well, any Yays ended up short-lived. A few days ago, that check bounced. And, naturally, as before, they don't respond to e-mails or pick up their phone.

But exacerbating this all is that in doing some checking around, I discover that this short-shrifting of authors and artists is their modus operandi. That's bad enough. But then I also discover that authors and artists themselves keep this bookstore's M.O. secret because, though they would like to get paid, they also don't wish to contribute to the bookstore's demise. (Like, none of these "friends" also warned me against dealing with this bookstore.)

If there's anything that gets my goat, it's people who take advantage -- and ECONOMIC ADVANTAGE at that -- of poets. So, not only would I want to be repaid out of fairness, I want to warn off other poets about dealing with this bookstore. But I am trying -- desperately -- to understand the implications of having this independent bookstore go out of business. Yah -- it's one of those indies that, ideally, would be good to continue to have around.

The frustration about poetry's marginality is that, on top of everything else, when it comes to the commercial domain we must face this kind of BULLSHIT.

The narrative is early in its unfolding. I am curious, actually, to see how I shall be affected by this. Because there is a deeper need and problem of which this bookstore is just a tip of the iceberg and I suspect that my Poetry Angels are just telling me that I gotta help out on that front.

But can I tell you tell you tell you CAN I JUST FUCKING TELL YOU....?!!! I AM EXHAUSTED EXHAUSTED EXHAUSTED with this type of cultural activism?!!! I AM BURNT OUT BURNT OUT BURNT OUT BURNT OUT with cultural activism.



And in case you don't get my drift, I'm talking BLECH AND UGH!!!!!! "Community," Peeps, is often an ILLUSION!


posted by EILEEN | 8:02 PM


Huh. Just now, the ad on my blogger is a blank space and described as

This blank space brought to you by google.

Blank space? I guess my blog is devoid of content after all...


Like, I'm not posting enough here...

posted by EILEEN | 5:19 PM

Wednesday, September 17, 2003  


Dana and Michelle. So these drop-dead gorgeous Pinays, both of whom have hair to rival mine (long, dark, silky, etc)....cough....just left me. Actually, I think their hair is longer than mine (Michelle's is longer than in this photo), which irritates me to no end. Anyway, they came to help me move out this humongous bureau. We had to take two trips out to the sidewalk to Dana's truck. Now, first of all, can I just say that I was so pleased that not a single man was around helping us....or, I should say, helping Michelle and Dana since, with my cold, I'm weak as a kitten...which didn't prevent my big mouth (notwithstanding those luscious lips) from making copious suggestions about how they should move the piece of furniture, angle such in the narrow elevator, etcetera yadda.


So, anyway, they made the first trip to the truck together, leaving me coughing in the apartment. When they returned, they walked in through the front door giggling, with Michelle holding up .... something that took me, what, ten minutes ... to recognize.

"Is this yours?" Michelle said as she twirled it from one finger.

I grabbed it, looked at it, and muttered, "Well, it better be mine!"

Then I looked up at them and admitted, "But, dang, I haven't worn anything like this in years!"

Michelle: "Guess that's why it was stuck in the back of the bureau."

Then they both started laughing again. Guffawing -- these two babes with slim but impressive biceps that I salivate over. They laughed while I looked ... quite bemusedly ... at the object at hand, an object whose objectness and breed I'd forgotten existed though, once, it was quite intimate with me:

a silk, lace-edged, black thong.


The comedian Chris Rock, I believe, once said with much perspicaciousness: "No one looks good in a thong."


Tonight's incident with Dana and Michelle reminded me of an article a few weeks back in the NYTimes Sunday magazine about a British writer for this hugely popular sitcom. I can't remember his name -- let's call him Bill -- but I think Bill co-wrote scripts with his wife. The sitcom characters involved a married couple and the premise usually unfolded from the perspective of the man ever-stuck in perpetual adolescence. The thing is, Bill apparently thought nothing of using incidents from his real-life marriage as fodder for the TV show.

Now, his mother-in-law happened to be the producer of the sitcom and so had to approve each script prior to said script being produced.

And, a typical example apparently of Bill's world-view was an incident where he portrayed the sitcom male protagonist complaining: "How come you've replaced wearing those thong panties with diapers copious enough to place on an elephant?" Or words to that effect....

But can you imagine being in the mother-in-law's position, having to read things like that, knowing that the guy de facto is writing about his life with your daughter?


Sip. Orange juice. I am thinking: I should stop blogging while I'm feverish. Look at the kind of stuff I'm expansively expounding on.


posted by EILEEN | 9:18 PM


I'll tell you a secret. Sometimes, even this blog's I ... is just too much for ... I.

Like that last post.

Please allow me to point your attention elsewhere ... though granted, I am just as lovely and brilliant as can be and your eyes may not wish to unstuck themselves from Moi -- DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN?!.

Cough. Sick cold cough, not sheepish pretend-cough.

To be more specific, cough, Sick Cold Cough With A Touch Of Exasperation....said exasperation swiftly dissolving as she happens to catch her reflection on a nearby mirror, causing her to pause and marvel: My, beautiful Sweetie you....

Cough. Okay, are we all sick of Moi? I hope so. Because Moi is very sick and she wants to INFECT YOU!!!!!


Anyway, speaking of others (yawn), I just heard today that Stella Lai got a wonderful review at Artforum Online:

And because it's for an exhibition that is still up, and will remain on through October 11, at Lizabeth Oliveiria Gallery in San Francisco, I thought I'd spread the word amongst you Bay Area peeps about stopping by her exhibit, in part for the reasons mentioned by Artforum ("expression of sweat equity that gives Lai's spun-sugar world an earthy foundation with multiple points of entry").

I can't recall now if I've ever said this but when I first moved to the Bay Area nearly four years ago and attended the San Francisco International Art Fair, Stella Lai was my pick from all the artists being exhibited. She wasn't even technically represented yet by her gallery. But she wowed me, wowed other sharply-eyed curators in town, and now she's on her way!!! In addition to this Artforum review, she'll be in the November issue of ART EXAMINER! Go, girl! To think that I knew her when she was young....oh, wait a minute: she's still very young...!

Cough, blearily.

Then, on poetry, today I read Rachel Levitsky's Under The Sun (Future Poems, 2003). Oh, it is just so good it made me purrrrrr! I've read the whole thing, but I'm going to chat it up it by simply focusing on its two-page "Prologue" say:

Under The Sun opens with "Prologue" whose second paragraph begins:

There is logic to the pleasure of photographing these clouds. The photographs, because they will not be developed, are notable only in their absence. This last thought is lazy. The photographer who thinks it knows nothing about what she does. It's pretty is all.

Such deftness for manifesting absence. "It's pretty is all" is a genius stroke -- enhancing her approach towards lacuna. At first, I thought of Arielle Greenberg's concept of gurldom here. I don't know, though, if that ultimately applies (not having fully investigated Arielle's concept), but I did think then that Rachel's take is one of calm.

I posit "calm." Later, the prose poem later would offer the phrase

She is made calm by his fury.

Yes, you see, "calm" can be verb as well as noun. And calm[ing] seems to be a choice deliberately made by the poem's persona -- a choice made after full confrontation with the situation facing her. And what a situation:

In her argument with the philosophers, she is not the lady who conquers them. Her beauty does not win the over. Though one becomes angry enough to go back at her, equally red in the face.

Calmly, the poem's persona faces his "macho" anger, then concludes

But because she fails his test, she knows he too is fundamentally wrong.

She has the last word because she wrote the poem. It ends with admitting "perplex[ity]" but also to articulate

She walks away, and looks for a way to go. Her way, she discovers, is in planes. She misses her enemy, who becomes a soldier, a job he hates from the moment he begins.

Such pleasure in facing Rachel's spun -- and enforced, though seemingly effortlessly -- logic.

Then I am faced with Page 1 of a book of poems. How lovely. Under The Sun by Rachel Levitsky -- I recommend basking under its light of fractures and shadows.

posted by EILEEN | 9:13 PM

from the Series: "Poetry As A Way Of Life"

How fortunate that my readership just reached nine million peeps in time for me to announce this groundbreaking -- nay, earthshattering! -- piece of news!!

And nine million peeps pause in anticipation as their computer screens suddenly emit a cloud of silky, black feathers against their....anticipating faces...

I have just received the most MAJOR POETRY PRIZE!!!

Huh? Nine million peeps ask, scratching their hair (or scalp since, undoubtedly, some of you are bald).

Okay. Lookit: I've just scratched out my "Acceptance Speech" below, and it's self-explanatory. So (she declumps long lashes, clears throat) here it is and...I do await your applause which I well deserve. Preeeeeen!


Dear Poets and Friends,
Many of you know of my blog which originated with my public debut as "Ms. WinePoetics." Many of you have watched -- often amused but, no doubt, occasionally appalled -- as I've brewed up and applied wine-related poetics against the hapless internet and poetry world. This all is leading towards adorable Moi saying: my poetry fallen angels have a sense of humor and it's just fortunate that they're in a phase of liking me -- to wit:

I have just been informed that my wine-related poem entitled "Justice" is the Winner of the 2003 Judd's Hill Annual Poetry Contest. Judds Hill is a lovely winery peopled by lovely people making lovely wine. So isn't that just lovely...and replete with justice?

My prize: publication in Judds Hill's October Newsletter and a 3-liter bottle of their cabernet -- three liters is equivalent to four normal-size bottles. The winery's wine tasting notes describe the cab as "elegant and supple with loads of black cherry fruit and inner layers of cedar, spice and oak." Yadda!! Glug. I mean, dainty Sip.

I actually had known of -- and admired! -- Judds Hill's wines so I certainly was intrigued by their poetry contest. Judds Hill is the only winery I know that sponsors poetry contests (there may be others out there, but I only know of this one). So this was a contest Ms. WinePoetics absolutely had to enter! I saw its ad on Poetry Flash for, ideally, wine-related poems. A wine-related poem? Well! Am I not Missy WinePoetics or am I not...Missy Winepoetics!!!??? I just had to do it!

So I sent my lovely fingers rifling through my files of poems for a wine-related poem and latching onto "Justice." I sent it....

And I won!! I WON!!!!

Wings spread and she does a twirl up to the ceiling that ... smacks her head and brings her tumbling back down onto her computer chair. Still cheerful, she rubs her scalp and bares her teeth at her newly nine-million peeps to ask: Wanna see a photo of the people who make the wine that Moi shall be drinking? Of course you do!! Here is the lovely family of Bunnie, Art and Judd Finkelstein. Judd is the son and marketing manager and apparently, the proud parents say, "Watching Judd sell wine was poetry in motion."

Need I tell you that for Ms. WinePoetics to win this contest is much more meaningful than winning the Guggenheim, Pulitzer, NEA et al?

Now, apparently, the contest was judged by poet-editor Jane Hall, who some of you may know as editor of CORACLE. So here's a preview of her judgeship (small ship; a coracle is a boat) comments:

"The accomplished winning entry, "Justice" by Eileen Tabios, subtly weaves questions of belief with the close observations of a wine country landscape. For me this is a deeply moving piece, despite (or because of) a final reluctance or even regret in not finding answers in the natural world she eyes so intimately.

"From her enticing first lines,

I was wrong
to believe

the sun is impartial

through the questions,

What are the taste
and bouquet

of an embrace
between crushed rocks and sun?

"and then,

How might one feel
a sunbeam

wink against
a stone?

"The reader listens, rather like attending to a Koan, noticing how "asking" or "being asked" relieves us of the human predicament of having to have answers. I'll try to remember to enjoy that state with my next glass of wine."


Well, aren't I special! A koan, no less!

And, by the way, Judds Hill (as far as I know) is unaware that I frequently mix things up on something called a blog began as WinePoetics. Wait 'till I tell 'em!!!!!

So, toast me Peeps. I need your company as I plan to celebrate....and one should never drink alone. And, as I write this, brilliant Moi just came up with another idea for you lucky Bay Area peeps!

If the bottle is ready and available, I shall bring it to my Bay Area Reading with Barry Schwabsky at kari edwards' house on October 26. Poets should be the ones emptying that bottle! (Hey, you all can sign said BIG BOTTLE! and make POETIC HISTORY!!!! I clearly giddy over here? Have I mentioned my huge cold that's made me bed-ridden, one reason I'm even more prolific than normal on the blog?)

Anyway, let's keep in mind that poetry and wine share many things in common: Delirium...and that it's something to be shared!

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I've got a bunch of dark-winged angels impatiently hovering by the door to my writing studio. They don't care about my cold. They want me to join them -- we're going to go dance with the stars!!!! Up there, there is no darkness -- only light!

o pure warm white what I now see as I feverishly descend into bed...

posted by EILEEN | 10:31 AM


You followed my route: The deluge of my kisses
at the edge of the milky way
The choleric wing of my blood
A band of red insects gnawing the fog.
--Sanchez Pelaez, trans. by Guillermo Juan Parra

Guillermo is offering booootiful poems and translations, living up to his promise in his early post:

"For a variety of reasons Venezuelan literature is largely unknown outside of Latin America. Even within that region, Venezuelan writers are often overshadowed by the work coming out of countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Peru, etc. Why is this? I don't imagine this situation of relative invisibility will change any time soon. One could argue that there are benefits to invisibility. Some of the vene-writers I plan on discussing and translating into English on this blog include:

Fernando Paz Castillo (1893-1981)
Arturo Uslar Pietri (1906-2001)
Vicente Gerbasi (1913-1992)
Antonia Palacios (1915-2001)
Elizabeth Schon (1921)
Rafael Cadenas (1930)
Rafael Castillo Zapata (1958)
Martha Kornblith (1959-1997)
Patricia Guzman (1960)
Jacqueline Goldberg (1965)

Go Guillermo. Keep sharing. Peeps...I encourage you to jog on over to


posted by EILEEN | 10:30 AM

Tuesday, September 16, 2003  


All day, I've been meditating over what John Most wrote on his blog:

People who talk bad about the makeup
of the cosmos don't get what they're
doing, what this behavior entails.

John -- this is such wisdom. But I decided to blog about it just now because of something that happened: basically, I just threw up. (Uh, sorry for that disgusting detail -- you should see my keyboard. Plus, I was wearing a WHITE bathrobe! Anyway....cleaned up and now continuing...)

Well, if poems are in my belly, it's even more important that I not avail myself of what I call "snigger poetics"...which partly relates, for me, to trying to avoid adding to the universe's negative energy. (If this sounds hokey to you, why are you reading me? It's not like you've not been warned by prior posts -- black-winged angels piss on this space, remember? Anyway....)

So what happened was that some idiot (hmmm....negative energy sparked from that idiot-ic word; let's call her "Misguided one" instead)...a Misguided One just posted a review on the Flips Listserve. A review of a movie that she'd never seen. And said Misguided One also quite obviously used the opportunity to promote her own causes (no need to get into such for making my point here). But the thing is, her faux review was so badly written that I began writing a reply that simply went off on it -- twisting the same words she used to write a review about her novel, which I haven't read. I began my "book review" with

This is a book review of ____'s novel. If I had read it, I'd share the book's title. But since I haven't read it, I can't share the title. Anyway, as regards the plot.....

and so on.

I went as far as four paragraphs and, if I do say so myself, I was very funny. I was witty. I was cackling like there's no tomorrow (what does that mean anyway? Anyway...). I was very much looking forward to posting that e-mail to the List -- I knew it'd be a hit. Then I threw up.

And in the ensuing rush and need to clean myself up, I realized that I was just responding in a way that would not uplift that particular dialogue out of its muddle. And, moreover, my approach was too easy -- like shooting a whale in a barrel. What would have been the point to my engagement except to prove my wit (which, come to think of it, may not have been that, uh, witty after all) while further entrenching this person into her misguided opinions?

Poetry expects me to be bigger than I am. Only by attempting this can I retain the cauldron in my belly that simmers forth those poems. Poetry made me throw up because snigger poetics doesn't belong in that cauldron -- 'twould sour that stew; it should not be my poetics. It's particularly important that I remain vigilant on this when, first, I'm a natural mischief-maker (no surprise there, right?) and, second, I feel poems ... so physically.

Well, okay -- that's an essay that'll never get into an anthology of literary criticism. But it'll have to do. I just realized I missed a few spots over there on the carpet. And they stink...

posted by EILEEN | 10:17 PM



May your lives orbit
in far off yet attainable
collisions, collusions
and comet-tailed conclusions
connecting dots
taking shapes
filling blanks
and signing names
to family upon family
of exposed nerve
and pleasure
a multitude
of comings and goings
punctuated deftly
with pregnant ellipses
intimate turns
and phrase

Phrase the Lord!
--Poem by Jose "Joey" Ayala for Six Directions

This very sophisticated peep crowd of mine (well, mebbe except for youse professional drunks) knows that poems often just surface without the poet's conscious intention.

So, I'ma sitting here getting mellow with Jose "Joey" Ayala's latest CD, 16lovesongs. I just got it and this is the first time I've had a chance to play it, though I first got it a few days ago. And then it occured to me that Jose -- inadvertently -- had been the latest inspiration to my latest hay(na)ku over at said hay(na)ku blog where I posted

in belly
fuel for flight

And the Free Spirit had inspired me because he had been kind enough to sign his CD cover with the words: "To Eileen, where poems reside."

That's beautiful, right? Poems residing in a poet's body? (You honor me, you wherever you are with your songs long having replaced the blood in your veins...)

Well, so, hence the hay(na)ku which came out in one spurt -- and of course I rely on the hay(na)ku form partly for trying to perfect that spurt -- pleeeze. Don't get sexual here; just think of abstract expressionist brushstrokes. What do you mean said brushes were sexual? Oh, that was sexual .... let me continue please, she glares at the angels twigging her over her lovely head... wingtips tickle air....

Anyway, here's an example of Jose's life nowadays as one of the greatest musicians on the Philippine scene. Glad to see it. Hectic but seems more in sync with his Free Spirit self...

I was blessed to meet Jose through my Six Directions project which, it's safe to say, would not have unfolded the way it did without his faith in me. This Dude means so much to me as an inspiration that he provided one of only two epigraphs to my last book....and the other epigraph was given -- or not given -- by no less than Buddha himself...

Okay...back to the songs and poetry! Like this excerpt, from "glad you are here" which is arguably my favorite song by JoeyAyala:

so much illusion to see through
i'm glad that you are here
through time and space
we travel together
through these uncertain waters
unholy weather
and it's true
i'm glad that you are here

To order -- and I do suggest, peeps that you order, Joey Ayala's 16lovesongs CD, e-mail

posted by EILEEN | 5:41 PM


And though you no longer jog through blogland, I shall post Thank You to David -- since I met you here on said blogland -- for the wonderful t-shirt which shall be retired against the wall of my writing studio, proclaiming in black against white:


posted by EILEEN | 5:40 PM


May Borges lovingly stroke your hair...

posted by EILEEN | 4:22 PM


a podium is a bed smiling
remember you lying on the grass in Riverside Park
and what a planet you are
seriously don't leave me again
one messy bed lies quietly
above Bistrot La Marseillaise
bright green awning and an open window
--from "Your Last Illusion or Break Up Sonnets" by Wanda Phipps

Ye olde waiting time at airport terminals as well as the flights themselves allowed me to catch up on some reading. On this trip to New York, I read:

WHEREABOUTS: NOTES ON BEING A FOREIGNER, a lovely travel memoir by Alastair Reid (there's an excerpt dedicated to Gabriel Gudding (for obvious reasons if you've been reading his blog), at the end of this post);

A QUICK KILLING IN ART, a biography of the brilliant and turbulent artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Phoebe Hogan that reminds me of why I so detest the professional art world scene;

YOUR LAST ILLUSION or BREAK UP SONNETS, a wunnerful poetry chap by Wanda Phipps;

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE, a powerful memoir by Lucy Grealy, re-released with a moving Afterword by Ann Patchett;

Sharp Golden Thorns, poetry by Chard deNiord (a meditative collection that warrants more than one reading); and

House and Home, lived-and-felt poetry by Rochelle Ratner.

Because I know very little about Louise Gluck, I also picked up her essay collection on poetry entitled PROOFS & THEORIES.

The most moving passage for me from Gluck's book, which I generally found to be intelligent, smooth prose... but chilly (as in, dang, loosen up some, Babe -- gads, try some hangin' out time with Steve Almond, okay?) was this passage from her essay on George Oppen:

"Within the discipline of criticism, nothing is more difficult than praise. To speak of what you love -- not admire, not know to be good, not find reasonably interesting, not feel briefly moved by or charmed by -- to speak of such work is difficult because the natural correlatives of awe and reverence are not verbal."

I remember how I went ga-ga on this blog over Noah Eli Gordon's first book, The Frequencies. I remember waking up a day later, rereading that post and, mayhap, cringing a little over how effusive but unclear I was for articulating my enthusiasm. I remember another brief twitch when Noah asked my permission to quote it. But I never thought to delete/edit that post -- nor did I even think of not giving Noah permission. I wanted to honor that love that The Frequencies so effortlessly demanded from me (effortlessly demands -- now why would I want to edit that paradox). Peeps, if it needs to be said, such Love -- yes, Love -- is something to cherish. If it needs to be further said, such Love doesn't come walkin' round the corner too often so, yah, cherish it when it does! Indeed, I think that, to the extent my post was a recommendation -- the uncontrolled fervor behind it was its most ...uh, recommending factor!

As I write this, I also recall a leading university press asking to publish my first book, Black Lightning, which is a collection of interviews/essays on 15 poets. I said No when, as part of that offer, they wanted me to have a more streamlined approach to the writing (which gets quite unruly and, undoubtedly, even sloppy at points....if only because I began writing the book a mere three months after I started paying attention to poetry). But as time moves forward, I do see how that unbridled enthusiasm is one of the book's advantages -- and that it is an advantage that's partly driven by a context where such types of books are rarely published relative to their more disciplined peers. (Indeed, it's been generally well-received, from a critical sense, with reviewers being able to read through my flawed articulation to, I'd like to think, honor the genuine ecstasy I clearly felt over the subject poems.)

So I choose enthusiasm over polish -- not that this is a binary and one must choose, di ba? But I think pure emotion itself often is the most *clear* in its message, though its narrative is not technically the most coherent/cohesive.

Yet, there seems also to be cultural capital associated with smooth prose. As regards such, I recently did a review -- a lavishly praising review. But the artist who is the recipient of such praise asked me to write in a different style -- one that (in this case) was less conversationally-oriented and more fitting (s/he felt) of the "typical" reviews published out there. It was quite obvious to me that this artist felt s/he would garner more cultural capital if my article was written more formally -- in the sense that formality, s/he felt, was more respected. Well! The review, as is, was already accepted for publication so it wasn't like a change was needed. And, by the way, I was not paid to do the effin' review -- it was just something I chose to do out of the goodness of my good heart. Nor was s/he a friend I felt compelled to promote (though, come to think of it, I don't feel compelled to promote a peep just cause said peep is a friend). Anyway, geez -- if a total stranger ever read any of my works and felt compelled to actually review it for no reason than that work so moved said stranger, I'd just be so happy and ... gratified. But this person couldn't see past the tip of hir narcissistic nose! I'm still happy I wrote the review because I feel the work warranted it and I believe (as a modest part on my part to promote culture) in acknowledging such works when I am able. But, what a sour taste that dialogue left in my mouth -- the word "ingrate", I have to tell you, came to mind.

(This, by the way, Prof. Sunny, is also an example of why I once was moved to write those lines that in the poem that *bugged you in a positive way*: "I fall in love with a painting in an art gallery in SoHo./ No, I tell the dealer; I do not consider it necessary to meet its creator." Or as Ted Berrigan once wrote, (something like) The poem is often the poet's best self).

Anyway, let me share an excerpt from one of the highlights from last week's reading, Alastair Reid's travel memoir. This is from when he's talking about a village in Spain:

"What happens happens. The village endures, and within that context of permanence pleasure occurs in the form of happy accidents. As a result, the village is totally without drama other than the dramas of birth, illness, and death. Quarrels are buried and seethe in silence; formality keeps the place running....The only expression of strong feelings I have heard in the village has been the blowing of the conchs. Should any local woman recently widowed entertain the attentions of a suitor too soon for the village's sense of morality, conch shells are blown in her direction at twilight. Nobody in particular blows them. They are blown. Nothing more is said. That eerie wail upholds the village sense of propriety, without confrontation."

posted by EILEEN | 9:46 AM


Lucidity. Paying attention to one's environment -- my poetics. From which comes now this post authored by others, but recognized by moi -- said recognition being what turns what could have been dissipated morsels into content for my beloved 8 million-plus peeps. What happened was Aaron Tieger posted a notice on the Suny Poetics List of a CARVE magazine poetry reading in Boston (Saturday, September 20; 7 p.m.; Wordsworth Books on Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA -- hope it goes well!).

At the bottom of Aaron's e-mail was this statement:

"There is no them and us, there is only you and me... We need to find the 'self' that can truly be the authority that it is... The exponent of Karate does not aim at the brick when wishing to break it, but at the space beyond." (CRASS)

For some reason, that statement about karate caused my belly to thrum (and I had just eaten so it couldn't be food-related). So I asked Gura Michelle about that statement and she writes:

"Hi Eileen,

"Yes, this is true actually in most all the martial arts. That in order to break the brick, your energy must go through the object, thus the person breaking it must think of their hand going to the space beyond the brick.

"I've done it once and it was a real scary and emotional experience. I had a lot of fear: break my hand, etc. I hit the board with my hand and it didn't break! then I got pissed that my hand hurt and I had nothing to show for it, so the second time I broke it. It was a whole lot easier than what I had pictured in my mind.

"Of course, there are all sorts of "tricks" to help you break the board like drying them out, putting spacers in between each of the levels, etc. But the basic premise remains, it's about extending beyond yourself and going beyond what you perceive as barriers. And it's this perception of barriers and our fear that we cannot surpass them that we are really breaking."


Well, yadda. Howzabout that! Corpse furrows the...the, uh, bone that is her scalp to think: Surely, as a poet I can use this...

Then Corpse flexes her hand and starts reaching her bony fingers forward to....penetrate eight million computer screens!!!! Nyahahahaha! Cough...sorry. Couldn't resist. Anyway, where is that poem hiding now?! That space beyond...

posted by EILEEN | 6:45 AM

Monday, September 15, 2003  


Guillermo Juan Parra just wrote to say that he's also started a new poetry blog:


The name is inspired by....well, let Guillermo speak on his own behalf: "i don't know if you noticed when you were in Caracas, but everything there is named vene-this, vene-that--tv companies, magazines, coffee houses, etc it seems everyone incorporates the nation into their projects--so, thus: venepoetics"

Well welcome to Blogland, Guillermo. I look forward to jogging by your house! I'll stop by and make myself at home whenever you serve arepas! Those in New York -- Guillermo recommends, by the way, the Caracas Arepa Bar!

And the party continues!

posted by EILEEN | 3:30 PM