Sunday, October 09, 2005



to suggest that I "include all of [my] previous book blurbs, to truly show how blurbs influence the writing of the book...." Why not, I thought to moiself. So the following are titles of my previous books and their blurbs; because they are listed in books' release dates' chronological order, the discerning reader may sense something about my general attitude towards blurbs:

PREMIUM CHAMPAGNE: My initial surprise and delight at first encountering Eileen Tabios’ poetry (and fiction) have turned into high admiration as I continue to read more of her recent work. Her achievements are remarkable, revealing innate gifts and well-sharpened skills. Among other advantages, Eileen Tabios’ poems exhibit two qualities which are not often pared in the work of writers of her generation – an assured, clearly-pitched poetic diction which serves as a compelling vehicle for a mature vision. Her voice stands alone in its effervescent illuminations.
--Luis Cabalquinto

Eileen Tabios incorporates the American precision of Marianne Moore, the language of Angela Manalang-Gloria’s blood, and the emotive epower of Gabriela Mistral in this astounding collection of poems. A world-class literary debut. Bravo!
--Nick Carbo

It is always striking to witness the birth of a poet; but with Eileen Tabios, there is this haunting sense that although she has only taken poetry seriously for the past few years, she has always been a poet: her voice possesses an absolute command of the seasoned, her diction an intersection of the emotional falling and rising, and her language an echo of precision and unpredictability. Much can be said for someone who is born a poet – I am glad that Eileen Tabios has found herself. Here is a poet to be deciphered for years to come.
--Bino A. Realuyo

The multi-faceted Eileen Tabios -- who emerges a fullblown member of the new generation of poets -- writes with a sure hand of an artisan whose writing style ranges from the lyrical voice of the young -- vulnerable and accessible -- to the philosophical certainty of the old -- hard knocking, gritty and diamond sharp. When her lyrics sing, they clutch at your throat with the tenacity of a drowning child hoping for the helping hand to allow survival. Her prose poems contain some of the philosophical truths that always startle you with their honesty. Her poems give you the most compelling notion that poetry is poetry when your nape hair stands on end – and yu say, “How true. How true.”
--Carlos A. Angeles

In Eileen Tabios’ writings, one is seeking to be free, like brushstrokes on a framed canvas where the desired portrait is the world around it. Tabios’ world is one without walls, without lines, without time, and it is luminously manifested in her works. In her attempts to capture ht emoments of the ever curious and the ever questioning. In her poetics, she unravels the unknown. But isn’t the gift of a writer her limitless imagination? In this collection ,Tabios’ yearnings are as demanding as the worlds thorugh which she expresses them, as mysterious as our world full of life, imagined and real.
--Bino A. Realuyo

MY ROMANCE (art essays with poetry, 2001)
Eileen Tabios knows with all her heart and soul that both poetry and visual art involve distillation, essence, mystery and grandeur of experience. Her poetry is an analog for abstraction in the visual arts.
--Miriam Bloom, sculptor

Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole is full of lovely, surprising conjunctions: "the sound of fireflies mating, the thin sliver of a distant moon, ... no premonition for such blinding light."
—Arthur Sze

Her poems allow our minds to be excited twice, by the psychological and artistic reference points from which the words zoom-out like handpicked bees from a hive, and by the vivid hum of the poems themselves demonstrating a captivating, utterly original imagination. In her lines, which are at once strict and sensual, Eileen Tabios inserts stingers barbed with wit and political incisiveness. The crisp, almost scientific clarity of her syntax is relentlessly undermined by fabulous leaps from sentence to sentence, by paradox, radical juxtaposition, lurking sexual innuendo, and unpredictable narrative swerve. Hers is a poetics of social and cultural interrogation in which she succeeds in uniting what she would call "the convex with the concave." Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole will stand you straight up.
—Forrest Gander

How often do you come across language so lavishly expansive that any description you can think of seems laughably one-sided? Better just to slap a warning label on it: "Danger: Contents combustible on contact with reading. Includes poems so fired up they'll sear your fingerprints off as you feel your way through them (instant identity loss). Others brilliant enough to burn after images into your retina. Handle recklessly if at all.
—Barry Schwabsky

"And what is seeing?" asks Eileen Tabios, in this volume of prose meditations on travel, eros, art, and innumerable other subjects, objects. Tabios' answers--her seeings--come out of an amazing range of references, from Buddha to Salman Rushdie to Anais Nin to Anne Truitt to a nameless investment banker; from the Ancients to the Romantics to the Moderns and back again; from the Philippines, as from the United States. Through it all, reader and writer find themselves "losing uncertainty" through Tabios' "eroticized history," which earns its final exclamation, "worthy is the price: Yes!"
—Susan M. Schultz

Primal in its experimentation, fugitive in its tactile manipulation of recalcitrance and romance, ultimately there blooms a hardcore quality to her corpus' radical engagements. None of the formulaic ploys is on show here; rather a robust desire to attach, if so subtly, vivid back stories that pique and shape our palpable interest with full-bodied allure. The uniformly sensuous appeal of her wide-ranging work -- from the lyric to the exegesic, to the imperial prose units -- is served by no less than either a canny courtesan or a come-hither voluptuary. Or both. Universally is she betrothed.
—Alfred Yuson

“I have experienced your great punishment,” wrote Enheduanna, the Mesopotamian poet-priestess who wrote the Hymns to Inanna some 43 centuries ago. She lives again, in New York City, under a “gilded sky,” in Eileen R. Tabios’ new book Menage a Trois with the 21st Century. Gabriela Silang, who survived her husband’s assassination at a traitor’s hands, and spent the rest of the 1763 summer continuing his revolution, the Philippines’ first woman general, was hanged by the Spanish colonial government the year that Sade was born. Now she too lives, “traversing the red and green traffic lights” in Jack Spicer’s San Francisco. And reader, who did you used to be before you entered the world of this book, this “ménage a trios”?

Love is a source of difficulty

and pyres of ashes rise with a verve
exceeding Babel’s ambition –

Half diary of dildo desire, half rhapsodic inisurgent mediation between art and life, Tabios’ book moves from a melting prose poetry to a fully lineated, musical demand for action. You, reader, fully implicated in this intercontinental love triangle, shall find yourself asking, “Where is the world waiting to happen?” The question that haunted Enheduanna and Gabriela plunges out of the book, ferocious, tongue dipped in fire, dragon with sapphire eyes and no conscience.
--Kevin Killian

BEHIND THE BLUE CANVAS (short stories with poetry, 2004)
A rich, sensual collection of stories -- a breathtaking, pulsating ride through art, sex, love and longing.
--Noel Alumit

In reading the stories of Eileen Tabios, seductive in their imagery and language, we are drawn into a world peopled by artists, art lovers and art tasters who, variously, are either yielding to or struggling against the irresistible lures of passion. We are compelled to share the characters’ ecstasy or torment, recognizing the universality of their human engagements. Our recognition comes quickly, given the finesse and integrity of Ms. Tabios’ writings.
--Luis Cabalquinto

None (though some may feel the excerpting from a Ron Silliman essay is a blurb)



At 5:28 PM, Blogger EILEEN said...

Catherine's notion is intriguing: which comes first: the book or the blurb? Can the question can be a stand-in for the effect of certain practices in the poetry world -- how some poets may choose to promote (including blurb) only those who write in a poetry style that affirms their own....?


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