Sunday, October 17, 2004





contest winner Jacquelyn Pope

Corinne Robins

Patricia Carlin

Sharon Dolin

Rochelle Ratner

Harriet Zinnes

Ed Foster

Madeline Tiger

Burt Kimmelman

Jane Augustine

Stephen Paul Miller

Sandy McIntosh

Tom Fink

Sunday, November 14 at 6 p.m. sharp
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery at East 1st Street
New York City

Thursday, October 14, 2004


FORDHAM UNIVERSITY at Lincoln Center, October 28, 7:30 p.m.

James Richardson ("Interglacial")
Patricia Carlin ("Original Green")

Poets Out Loud
Fordham at Lincoln Center
113 W. 60th St., South Lounge

Reception following

Monday, October 11, 2004


from House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press 2003)on

"Everything Goes"
WNYE Radio (91.5 fm)
6:30 - 7:00 pm

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Here is the Readings Notice from St. Marks Poetry Project for the reading of Anselm Hollo and Basil King. The event begins at 8 p.m.:

October 6, Wednesday
Anselm Hollo & Basil King

Anselm Hollo is the author of over forty books of poetry and prose, and the translator of more than thirty books from the Finnish, French, and German, among other languages. His recent books include Caws & Causeries: Around Poetry and Poets, Rue Wilson Monday, Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence: Selected Poems 1965-2000, and a translation of Pentti Saarikoski¹s Trilogy (winner of The Academy of American Poets' Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, 2004).

Basil King began his long documentary prose/poem/media work, Mirage, in 1992, parts of which have been published as The Complete Miniatures and Devotions, Warp Spasm, and Mirage: a poem in 22 sections, as well as in the magazines Otis Rush, Boxkite, House Organ, and First Intensity. King creates miniatures in many mediums and is currently at work on his next book, Learning to Draw.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Marsh Hawk Press thanks the poet, teacher and critic Chris Murray for her review of Eileen Tabios' Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole, published in the Winter 2004 issue of SENTENCE: A JOURNAL OF PROSE POETICS (Ed. Brian Clements). Here it is!

Chris Murray, Winter 2004, Sentence

Eileen Tabios. Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole, Marsh Hawk Press, New York, NY: 2002. ISBN: 0-9713332-8-9

"She knows she said I won't reach out to you again. But even as I write this, I don't think I'll have broken that promise. You don't exist." Eileen Tabios, "Eclipse," Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole

Those smallish parts of language, pronouns, are a significant source of artful excess: they are representatives, or reproductions of various speaking persons. The fact that there is no material substance to any poetic relationship of "I" to "You" is not news--think Rolling Stones, "Paint it Black," for the abject in that kind of relation of presence to absence. In language use, material referents always seem to shy from, to recede from their pronouns, and vice versa. Think silent films, the swirling of light down to a pinhole, then nothing. In the rhetorical economy necessary for poetry pronouns are an especial focal point of recession and reproduction for their referents. The prose poem as form makes this even more interesting since requiring that the relations be sustained at length, although they can never be anything but partial.

The prose poems in Eileen Tabios's Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (Marsh Hawk Press, 2002) are laden with loss, with the problematics of lyric, in terms of addressing the absent other, the loss of physical other, the various problem of missing someone in space and in time. No small order for poetry to fill. Yet it is those smallish parts of language, pronouns, in their relations, which are given the work of reflecting and poetically resonating with the larger metonymic, a problematic of situating parts to wholes.

The pronoun-woven quote above, from the book's opening poem, "Eclipse," resonates exponentially with both the promise and the loss of physical meeting, "She knows ... I won't reach out to you... " (13) . Thus it highlights a certain pronomial eclipse (and literally, too, given the poem's title), an excess, a wandering swirl of voice(s) that suggests the promise of known people, people warm with identity and voice--yet these are never quite manifest nor fulfilling to the speaker: the addressee, the unspecified "you," does "not exist," so is eclipsed by the reproduction, the pronoun. This is one way that the contradictions eddying around pronomial relations nevertheless provide renewed ways to think about lyric poetry and the in-turning of to speaker, the first person voice(s): "But even as I write this, I don't think I'll have broken that promise." Promise resonates continually, yet never manifests. It is the very problem of writing itself, as this speaker also notes. A book of poems focused to that relation and how variously it works is always news for readers of poetry.

News, and yet also a mainstay of poetic tradition in terms of lyric poetry. Here is the opening of "How Cyberspace Lost Midnight," one of many places in these poems that tightly link and configure to maximum economy all of these matters: representations of material body, grief over its loss, the presence/absence of the other, lyric image and voice. What drives the poetic economy here is that the pronouns resonate with the work of indicating people caught up in poetic regions of excess, here, that very contemporary space of excess, "Cyberspace":

Petals cling to the wet pavement, forlorn in their solitude and with the insistence of their grasp. She tries to avoid stepping on them, then considers the intention silly. But she continues to avoid their pale flesh, seeking instead the stolid indifference of the pavement. In the fragility of a cyclamen's aftermath, she senses a storm's apology.

She is familiar with departures: the loosening of embraces, the forfeiture of birthplaces... . Before the millennium, this thing called the Internet sought to intervene... . She wrinkles her brow in understanding for the first time how much she is about to lose, even as she refuses to pull the emergency rope that would cease the train she discovers herself piloting. There are bodies laid on the tracks. (65-66)

There is a strong subtext of drama in this poem, of narrative driving the lyric, staging it, and in very effective ways. Throughout the book there is a metatextually feminist subtext, as well, as shown in that primacy of regard for both real and symbolic dramas of material body, its desires and limits.

The feminist voice here should not come as a surprise: Tabios has made it known that this book contains poems authored as a way of exorcising "the dehumanizing aspects" of her own past life in the finance industry. Of the poem, "The Investment Banker," she writes: "I realized that -- particularly with this poem's ending -- I had written it in an attempt to obviate the dehumanizing aspects of my finance career."(1) The poem dwells on loss of "avoidance," which should be "under control" in terms of the speaker's loss of self: "At 4 a.m. he is not displeased to be alone walking the streets. At 4 a.m., he feels that the hour offers a certain excuse for his loneliness" (70), yet no excuse for the anomie, the eroding of necessary, humanizing, connectedness to people, to life.

The poem resonates with issues of male-centered gendering. And on the metatextual level, something of a coup de grace: written by a woman in the voice of a banker, a man, exposing his personal longings and the vapid nature of his work, it is as if to say, I, a woman, do hereby exorcise this particular, dehumanizingly male-centered way of being through my art. Indeed, a very freeing, assertive mode given any gender orientation and cultural situation.

To my mind, the measure of a poetry book's success would linger over questions of intellectual usefulness--the book's continuing, viable rhetorical challenges. In that sense alone, then, volumes could be written about how and why Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole is important both for purposes of study in creative rhetorics or poetics, and as a most satisfying, pleasurable read.

1) Eileen Tabios, "Humanizing a Dehumanizing Career," article posted to Tabios' weblog, Chatelaine-Poetics, http://chatelaine-poetics.blogspot.com. Archived Sunday 28 Dec 03, 9:25 a.m.

Saturday, October 02, 2004


As part of The Poetry Center's celebration of its 50th Anniversary, Basil King will participate in the following event:

Tuesday October 19, 7:00 pm
@ Poets House, 72 Spring Street, 2nd floor, New York NY
"Archival Works":
Basil King on Paul Blackburn



Poet and blogger Anny Ballardini receives Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole in Italy, and says this about Eileen Tabios' book:

Eileen Tabios’ poems: Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole published by Marsh Hawk Press. I opened it as people used to open Bibles looking for an answer, and here it is:


She mourns his departure though he has yet to turn towards the door. He even tries to check her grief with a paltry joke. But both realize she is compelled by self-defense. So she must continue, and he must not object. She must continue her tears. They fall like a reluctant daylight.


Barbara Jane Reyes posts her review, first printed in the International Examiner's Pacific Reader. Here's an excerpt:

The poet must be primarily concerned with beauty. When all other explanations fail, remember this rule, and you will understand the poems contained in Eileen Tabios’s Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole....the best revenge against the colonizer is to write as Eileen does, adeptly in the colo-nizer’s own tongue. In doing so, she subverts his paradigms so deftly that he cannot recognize the subversion, having been eluded by his own language.

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