Friday, March 15, 2013

The Awakening A Long Poem Triptych & A Poetics Fragment

The Awakening

A Long Poem Triptych & A Poetics Fragment

by Eileen R. Tabios

Copyright 2013 by Eileen R.

theenk Books

Palmyra NY

ISBN-13: 978-0-9647362-8-9

Softbound, 59 pages, $16

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

9 1 1 / My Forty-First Birthday –

Notes for the Poem That I Will Not Write

This is a poem of heartbreak and tragedy. It does, of course, refer to the 9/11 attack on New York and Ms. Tabios’ very personal recollection of that day, she having worked on the 95th floor of One World Trade Center. The poem follows an exchange of emails with various people she knew/knows documenting the emotions, the landscape of fright into terror, anger into anti-American policy with a last line that leaves you...

The final poem, The Awakening Of A is another masterful tour for Tabios as she takes through lines about her child, about herself. Do not take her poetry as confessional, it is revealing, yes, yet it speaks certain truths about other matters such as

our founding fathers

were refugees.


Native Americans are


or these lines about Afghanistan

BK means below

the knee.


means above the

(It is easier to make a BK prosthesis)


The final piece is a prose work From Babaylan Poetics which Ms. Tabios presented a panel, Bay Area APIA Poets and Avant Garde. This piece is part of that presentation, perhaps best explained that she is “…a Filipino, including Filipino-American poet…”

She explains “…the space, from which I attempt to create poem. In the indigenous myth, the human, by being rooted onto the planet but also touching the sky, is connected to everything in the universe and across all time, including that the human is rooted to the past and future – indeed, there is no unfolding of time.”

Another line which captured my sensibility is “I don’t believe it’s the poet’s role to say whether a poem succeeded—and I believe this because I believe a poet only begins the poem and it’s the audience or reader that completes it.”

And finally “If I am an avant garde poet, it’s not because “I” am avant garde. It would be because we, all of us, are. This We, that is holding my hand writing the poem.

Want to get your socks knock off, like to read an intellectual or an avant garde poet, pick up an Eileen Tabios selection of poetry. To quote Betty Davis, “Fasten your seatbelt you’re in for a bumpy ride.” Albeit one that is most illuminating and pleasing.


Zvi A. Sesling is author of King of the Jungle (Ibbetson Street, 2010), Across Stones of Bad Dreams (Cervena Barva, 2011) and the soon to be published Fire Tongue (Cervena Barva). He is Editor of Muddy River Poetry Review, Bagel Bards Anthologies #7 and #8.

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