Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Mysteries of The T(h)orn Rosary

Review of The Thorn Rosary: Selected Prose Poems and New (1998-2010) by Eileen R. Tabios (Marsh Hawk Press, New York, 2010)

by Aileen Ibardaloza

A torn rosary, in Filipino burial tradition, signifies the broken cycle of death. In the genre of Prose Poetry, Eileen R. Tabios’ The Thorn Rosary breaks the peripherality not only of Filipino/Filipino-American post-colonial concerns, but also of the Filipina as forgotten poet, healer, storyteller and epic hero.

Thomas Fink, in his Introduction, observes that

the transcolonial poet looks toward the day when the Philippines will overcome the imprint of colonialism and the Marcos regime; assertion is the first step in imagining what exceeds the “music”/”poetry” of (post)colonialism: “I break this music’s shackles. My name is Eileen and I will not be jailed inside a poem.”

to read the full review, click here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In case any visitors read the previous post without looking at the comments, there's this from the introduction to the Infinite Difference anthology:

"Solicitations to the admirable O'Sullivan and Monk, already widely anthologized, were respectfully denied, on account of the focus on women, and the desire not to be categorized; a few other requests for work were ignored altogether."

Apologies to the editor.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Infinite Difference, pub. Shearsman

I can't understand how an anthology of innovative UK women poets can leave out Geraldine Monk and Maggie O'Sullivan. I can only assume that there's some criteria other than 'innovative', 'UK' or 'woman' that I'm not aware of. Is it Monk and O'sullivan's visual / performance element? Both poets foregound performance, and in the case of O'Sullivan, visual art. But then, so does the work of Caroline Bergvall. It can't be ageism, as some of the poets in the anthology are around the same age or older, than Monk and O'Sullivan. Whatever the reason, I think it's a serious ommision. But then editor, Carrie Etter, is entitled to her opinion. Maybe anthologies should always have titles like "Carrie Etter's favourite innovative UK women poets", "Roddy Lumsden's favourite New British and Irish Poets", "Palgrave's favourite golden treasures" etc. etc.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Independent Press Day, Leicester

I'd like to congratulate Ross Bradshaw and the staff at De Montfort University for organizing the excellent Independent Press Day last Saturday. There was a good turnout, and business was brisk; I actually made a small profit, which is probably a first for me at a book fair. I was pleased to meet various poetical persons, including George Ttoouli, Mark Goodwin, Simon Perrill, Matt Nun and Jane Commane, and I finally unmasked the mysterious blogger Kathz (whose identity I can't reveal here, of course). I only attended two events, as I had a stall to run, but they were both excellent. John Lucas's talk on the origin of sayings that his mother used to use was endlessly fascinating. But the highlight for me was the launch of Cleaves Journal, with a reading by Jennifer Cooke (the editor of this issue), Mark Goodwin, Simon Perril and Dan O’Donnell-Smith. I liked Jennifer Cooke's nervy delivery which suited her disjunctive and witty poetry. I've been following Mark Goodwin's work for some time (having reviewed his collection 'Else'), and it was interesting to hear how the he used line-breaks when reading - making them into pauses - and how he emphasised the alliterative nature of the verse. Simon Perril also turned out to be an excellent reader, or rather performer, of his work, and on the strength of his reading I bought his pamphlet 'A Clutch of Odes', which I hope to be reviewing shortly on this blog. Dan O'Donnell Smith was the youngest reader, and read for the shortest time, which was a shame, as I'd like to have heard more of his process-driven poetry.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello all. I've been away for a while, living in a parallel universe in which I'm known only as a humble IT consultant, specialising in Business Process Modelling and Systems Integration; subjects sublimely simple in comparison with the convolutions of contemporary poetry and its angst-ridden practitioners. Still, this latter dimension has its consolations: I had a stall at the Independent Press Day at Leicester's De Monfort University - a fantastic event which I'll talk about later. In the meantime I'll mention a curiosity I found on a stall there: a book of World Leaders' Favourite Poems. Here I learned that Tony Blair's favourite is 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke:

IF I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England...

Strange, as Mr. Blair has never been a soldier. I guess he liked the poem's potential for Globalization, as it can be easily adapted by substituting for 'England' the country of your choice (Iraq, Serbia, Israel, Mesopatamia...). An unaccountable queasiness prevented from getting round to the other leaders, including our own Glorious Successor.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I subscribed to the Arthur Shilling Press series recently, and it turned out to be a very good move. Apart from anything else, the sub comes wth a nostalgic free gift (for those of us of a certain age). So far I've received:

X by Stephen Emerson

ZooAxeImplode by Simon Howard

I Love You by Joseph Mack Stohlman

The Flaming Man by Mark Cobley

These publications are fab. They are - presumably - designed and printed by Arthur Shilling himself (aka Harry Godwin), and they have a samizdat, hand-cranked feel, lively and colourful, in both design and content. The poetry has a strong visual element, and is spiky and irreverent; influenced I think, by the fact that these young poets are performers, and see, I guess, performance as a big part of what they do. This weekend the latest arrived, 'tristanundisolde' by Posie Rider. I loved this one.

Here's a sample:

Some love

My chapoplexic heart is hereby yours
I channel you to the charnel house
I'll make a cottage for your bones & with your lips
I'll brightly snip & bind and strip &
clip your limbs to totem stack
or pile as logs to burn & make the keepsake hot
invoke a shush & ash my blush
& heap in fronds a fossil calm
for dreary dregs of sod & loam
to battery charge & distribute
to light callipered hours
of wastrels
horn-eared cuckolds
& the lost-at-sea
call me

The whole pamphlet's a delight, reminding me of the work of the wonderful Catherine Wagner, and, in some ways, of Geraldine Monk. But comparison are odious... it is what it is, and it's good stuff. It's a shame these pamphlets are produced in such small editions, but at least my batch will become collectors' items one day.