Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Thanks to Nick Piombino for excerpting from Eileen's Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole! Thanks, too, to Thomas Fink for his generous write-up on the As-Is Blog, which we repeat below. Meanwhile, folks are invited to see/hear Eileen at apparently her last reading for the year, as follows:

Tuesday, December 2, 2003
7:00 p.m.
Reading: Going Home to a Landscape, new anthology of Filipina writers (CALYX Books, Corvallis, Oregon). Authors reading: Marianne Villanueva, Barbara Reyes, Angela Torres, Eileen Tabios, Dawn Mabalon, Michelle Bautista.
Location: City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Contact: Peter Maravelis
Phone: 415-362-8193
Email: peter@citylights.com


Here's Tom Fink on Eileen Tabios:

Some Paragraphs on a Paragraph by Eileen Tabios
by Thomas Fink

The concluding section of Eileen Tabios's Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (New York: Marsh Hawk Press, 2002) is "A Triptych for Anne Truitt," and this "triptych" exemplifies the conceptual density, imagistic richness, and subtle narrative layering of the book as a whole.

The title of the third prose-poem in this triptych, "The Continuance of the Gaze" (117-119), announces the text as an anthem for the viewer and the artist's endurance, and indeed, the artist is "always already" a viewer, and visa-versa. The "you" in the opening paragraph might be an art lover, a lover of human beings, an artist, two or all of the three, or yet others, but I am interested in reading this paragraph as guidance for a contemporary painter hungry for a clarification of his/her painterly poetics when the usual "trial and error" is too trying and error-laden:

Can you see with such compassion that I might mistake your lucidity for the high line of a clearing sky, when instead it is the of foam cresting a distant wave? Can you pay the price for risking perception and imperceptibility? Can you be surrounded-- sink into, then be uplifted-- by the singularity of a color emanating from a teal painting tiny enough to stand on one hand? I have felt Michelangelo's slaves surge out of stone. I trust in radiance. Let: Us. (117)

How does the artist assume the challenge of "seeing" what is unfolding, let's say, in her/his canvas or sculpture with "compassion" -- with the ability to set aside personal gain and self-flattering gestures in order to make a contribution to the perceptual experience of others? Is it to "trust in radiance," to pay attention to that unfolding patiently until "radiance" manifests itself?

The co-presence and equivalence of "let" and "us," rather than the obvious "let us," urges the artist to "let" the artmaking process lead to "radiance," so that the felicitous intersubjectivity of an "us" can be established. If this successfully achieved "compassion" is posed as a cause not only for significant "perception," like the ecstatic release f "Michelangelo's slaves" from the "prison" of his "stone," for miscommunication -- the viewer's mistaking the intention of one tropological imagistic/figurative possibility for another -- "imperceptibility" is not necessarily a negative result of the artist's "risk" but the inevitability of endlessly proliferating imaginations.

Further, "imperceptibility" may not be caused by flawed rendering; the very mystery of what is considered imperceptible enhances the appeal of the artwork for the viewer and the artist who cannot, as interpreter, contain effects produced by her "creation." Both of these participants in the art-making process can be psychologically "surrounded" by emergent "radiance"--paradoxically in a spatially tiny area--and then experience aesthetic immersion, a further relinquishing of control that makes them "sink into" a kind of quicksand, and finally, realize the reward of being "uplifted"--relieved of the discomfort of surrendering the ego by a lightening of psychic gravity, an exquisite simultaneity of plenitude and weightlessness. And if the "song of foam" lasts only a moment, it can come again in other "emanations" of color, shape, and motion.

Tabios's notion of "compassion," then, is as far from self-sacrificism as it is from self-indulgence. Its "trust" in "radiance" nurtures the open, patient cultivation of possible causes and conditions of perceptual "lucidity" in selves and others.

Monday, November 24, 2003


Chris Murray is using Eileen Tabios' Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole for next semester's senior seminar in poetry writing! Thanks Chris! This adds University of Texas (Arlington) to a wonderful and stellar list of colleges and universities across the country that have used Marsh Hawk Press books!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


Thomas Fink and Eileen Tabios are featured in, respectively, the East Coast and West Coast versions of the current issues of AMBIT (Editor Christophe Casamassima and West Coast Guest Editor kari edwards). Here are one poem each by Tom and Eileen from the double issue (unfortunately, Blogger format will not accurately represent the indentations in Tom's poem):

By Thomas Fink

on the
outside. I smart enough.
Inside a gentle prison,
gourmet fog terms, extending. Sauna
fawning over private
fold. Gaping page suds. Eventually,
peace screeches. And one restless
pair, turned off slicing
taunts scab
to open a severe fountain
on taskbar. Is such
science--proud, free--
storming indoor privilege? Or another
rigged skimpily to a
smooth goose's rubber
rubric. For
redemptive tissue. At
the sun
tan party, fevered raffles
frisking good enough air.
A sole robe's
acid refusal.


Dear Antique Mirror,
By Eileen Tabios

Perhaps you shouldn't use the dust of your ancestors as a solder in the aftermath.

An omen can be ascribed instead to a benign bit of amber.

May I offer tea from these leaves I brought back from a tiny stall in Kathmandu?

I am searching for a charm bracelet that requires only one charm (perhaps a silver sea horse, perhaps a silver horseshoe).

Notice that no one here is turning into a salt statue.

Those oversized safety-pins fail to mask commendable years of Ashtanga (linear hollow sculpted along a thigh bared by the rip of a leather skirt).

But the practice is supposed to be spiritual, not physical.


Poets represented in the current issues of AMBIT are:
West Coast: Taylor Brady, kari edwards, Rob Halpern, akilah oliver, Doug Rice, Camille Roy, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Spencer Selby, Eileen Tabios, Nico Vassilakis and Stephanie Young.
East Coast: Edmund Berrigan, Donna Kuhn, Catherine Daly, Chris McCreary, Kyle Schlesinger, John M. Bennett, C.A. Conrad, W.B. Keckler, Ryan Walker, Thomas Fink, Steve Timm.

Monday, November 10, 2003


So many girls
to choose from, so many destinies: waves
on a distant shore. Nothing
remains. Do we come again wearing white --
--from "In The Shadow of the Parthenon" by Patricia Carlin

Patricia Carlin suggests arriving at 6 p.m. for drinks or dinner, before her reading at 7:00 -- details below!

Village Reading Series Presents :


Sunday November 16th - 7:00 p.m.
@ Caffé Sha Sha
510 Hudson Street
(Between Christopher & West 10th)
New York, NY
(Take the IRT to Christopher Street, or the IND to West 4th Street)

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


Jane Augustine will be among the participating poets in the celebration described below!

The Poetry Center

A celebration of poetry on the occasion of
Carl Rakosi's One-Hundredth Birthday

Saturday, November 8, 1:00-4:00 pm, free
at Koret Auditorium, SF Main Public Library
100 Larkin Street (at Grove; Civic Center BART)

co-sponsored by The Poetry Center, the San Francisco Public Library,
and the Friends & Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library

PLEASE NOTE: Carl Rakosi will be reading from his poetry
for a biography and a 1999 interview: http://www.sfsu.edu/~poetry/newreadings/rakosi_bio.html

The November 8th program will include remarks by San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez (http://www.mattgonzalez.com/).

plus featured guests: Jane Augustine, Bill Berkson, Tom Devaney, George Evans, John Felstiner, Barbara Guest, Thom Gunn, Robert Hass, Burton Hatlen, Lyn Hejinian, Michael Heller, Anselm Hollo, Paul Hoover, August Kleinzahler, Jack Marshall, Geoffrey O'Brien, Daisy Zamora, and others, reading from their works in celebration of Mr. Rakosi's 100th birthday

with long-distance contributions from Paul Auster (New York), Robert Creeley (Providence), Andrew Crozier (England), Nicholas Johnson (England), Anthony Rudolf (England), Gael Turnbull (Scotland), Anne Waldman (New York).


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