The Connoisseur of Alleys

“A Collaborator in Alleys”

Review by Joey Madia

To mark the occasion of my tenth review of a poetry collection by the prolific and boundary-stretching poet Eileen Tabios, I knew I wanted to do something special—something that would honor Eileen’s ability to take the reader from a position of relative passivity to one of co-creation.

I made an attempt at this before, ending my review of Tabios’ Sumptuous Sculpture (Marsh Hawk Press, 2002) with a poem crafted from another one of my reviews (Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole, same publisher and year).

This review, however, takes things much further. Since beginning her ongoing work “Murder, Death, and Resurrection (MDR),” Eileen has created new poems and published seven books that use re-constituted lines from a database of 1,146 lines from her previous works. The Connoisseur of Alleys is one such work. Continue reading

I Forgot Light Burns

“Re-Use and Remember”

Review by Joey Madia

This month marks 10 years since I wrote my first book review. In that time, I have had the opportunity to review multiple books by the same author (in several cases, different books from a continuous series, but not always). Of the 110 reviews that I have done, there are half a dozen reviews of books that Eileen Tabios has either written or edited. This has been an easy decision to make, because no two are the same. Tabios is not only a talented wordsmith, and visual artist of language—she truly is an innovator. She invented a style of poetry called the Hay(na)ku, which numerous authors have adopted. She writes poems that pull in visual and literary art, music and dance, and that employ an impressive array of styles. She can go from dense prose poems that fill page after page with compact images and historical/literary references to very brief forms. Continue reading

Sun Stigmata

“Sumptuous Sculpture”

In 2009 I reviewed Eileen Tabios’ Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (2002, Marsh Hawk Press; I encourage the reader to take a few moments to read that review, because what follows, including a reconstitution of that review as a poem, proceeds directly from where it ends.

Always pushing boundaries, Tabios, after 12 years, took the prose poems from Reproductions and reworked them as “written-sculpted” poems, likening the process in her Preface to a sculptor releasing the image from a block of stone.

While the prose poems in Reproductions employed mainly painting metaphors, this re-constituted collection brings in music, dancing, architecture, writing, and, of course, sculpture. Continue reading

The Awakening

Eileen R. Tabios and the creation of communication

Review by Grady Harp

Anyone familiar with the rather enormous output of poetry and experimentation written communication and style will have an idea of what to expect in this newest publication THE AWAKENING. But then again, not necessarily, because every time Tabios sets her mind to a new project, something unique happens. This collection of works is a collection the three long poems – very long poems – yet their length does not seem in the least a testing format. The poetry here is almost stream of consciousness in style, so idly rambling are her thoughts yet at the same time so tightly cohesive that when you reach the end of one of these pomes the feeling of settling recognition of a thought occurs. Continue reading

The Awakening

“Of Painters and Planes and Poems”

By Joey Madia

Going to the mailbox and finding the latest book by Eileen Tabios is always a treat for me. Of all the poets and writers of poetry I have been blessed enough to know over the past two decades, none provokes thought and inspiration more than she.

Eileen is a pioneer, inventing new forms such as the hay(na)ku, and always adding in some essays or other notes into her collections. In the end, I always feel like I have gotten just that little bit more from her and her work than “just” poems. Continue reading