Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Eileen R. Tabios' latest Marsh Hawk Press book, SUN STIGMATA, has received more reviews. Here are excerpts and links:

…her poetry is reminiscent of Joseph Conrad who learned English around the age of twenty-nine and then wrote some of the great stories of the English language. I dare say there are few poets who can use the English language as well, as mysteriously, as excitingly as Tabios does in all her books and especially in this one. 
--from Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene

With few exceptions, the titles of the poems in this collection begin with an open bracket as if they are being written in parenthesis. To my mind this is because they seek to offer an elaboration or a rephrasing on something that has gone before. Interestingly, the brackets are never closed. This is the parenthesis that offers a space, a digression, an interlude that Tabios leaves for the reader. It is up to the reader to complete whatever it is that he or she discovers in the poem and then to close that bracket. It is a mechanism that allows the poem to breathe, to resonate in all its nuances, much as a person might stand before a painting and not move away from it until its impact has been experienced in full.  
In the opening section, “My Greece,” Tabios gives hints as to the strategy she will adopt as a writer. She will embrace unpredictability, she will not be constrained by narrative, she will appeal to the emotions, write from the heart as well as the head, and escape chaos through the creation of art. She is attracted by the statue of the Kritios Boy because it breaks with tradition by shifting away from a rigid full-frontal position, the right leg slightly bent, the whole statue immortalized in hesitation. In “Purity” she laments how a square canvas depicts a square and a circular canvas depicts a circle. In contrast to such dull predictability, she wants her writing to flow like “a menstruation—ooze with a viscous intensity unmitigated by geometry.” 
--from Our OwnVoice

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