THE THORN ROSARY gathers a selection of prose poems by Eileen R. Tabios that were released between 1998 and 2010 by publishers in the U.S., Philippines and Finland. While Ms. Tabios writes in many forms and actually created a popular minimalist poetic form called the “hay(na)ku”, much of her work has been in prose poetry. The bulk of her first collection and recipient of the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry, Beyond Life Sentences (1998), and the entirety of her first U.S.-published book, Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (2002), are prose poems. THE THORN ROSARY is co-published with Anvil Publishing of the Philippines.
Advance words for THE THORN ROSARY include:
Tabios is a seamstress of the surreal, combining erudition and art historical references with flourishes of verbal color and surge. She is a generous writer whose enthusiasm for art registers brightly in her energetic conceptions. Propositions make correlative folds in a vividness of amalgamation. Ramifications at the fringe of consciousness thread brocades of textural ardor in a luster of compound interest. Her work (to borrow one of her own phrases) is "a blissful difficulty," a quest akin to threading a letter with a metaphor, a perception with a nerve.
—John Olson, Backscatter: New and Selected Poems
THE THORN ROSARY includes an Introduction by its editor, poet-painter-scholar-critic Thomas Fink who concludes:
“When the prose poem’s aesthetic freedom took hold of Tabios in the mid- to late-nineties, she was not yet aware of how “Language Poets,” building on earlier work by such figures as Gertrude Stein and the John Ashbery of Three Poems, had developed new possibilities in this hybrid genre. She had yet to read, for example, Ron Silliman’s “The New Sentence,” and yet “Purity” and similar prose poems in this volume—had they existed in the eighties—could have served as excellent specimen texts for that crucial essay.
Tabios is probably the first Filipino/a poet to bring experimentally tinged post- and trans-colonial concerns to the genre of prose-poetry; specifically and uniquely, with the influence of abstract art, she disrupts ways in which narrative inherent in language acts as a colonizing tool. She also figures as one of the first Asian-American poets to publish work in this experimental vein.”
THE THORN ROSARY also includes an afterword by poet-scholar Joi Barrios who, in contextualizing Ms. Tabios within Filipino literature, notes:
"One could perhaps consider Eileen Tabios to be the Angela Manalang Gloria of the 21st century, her poems all at once, crisp, flowing, interrogative, tender, innovative, funny, thought-provoking, sensuous, revolutionary. Manalang Gloria (1907-1955), author of the collection simply entitled Poems, 1940, was known for her snapshot-like poems on unconventional women…
However, comparing Tabios with Manalang Gloria seems to be an exercise in stating the obvious. This is similar to arguing that perhaps Tabios channels Jose Garcia Villa (and his comma poems) simply because she wrote The Secret Lives of Punctuations (2006).
Instead, in contextualizing Eileen Tabios' work, we could look into the following: Leona Florentino (1849-1884), the 19th-century Ilocano poet; the unanthologized Tagalog women poets who published in Liwayway and Taliba in the 1920s and 1930s, during the United States occupation of the Philippines (1899-1945); and the binukot, the storyteller from Panay of pre-colonial Philippines.
Tabios' poems seemingly speak of love and desire, and yet are powerful statements that participate in discourses on gender, class, and power."
PREVIOUSLY ON EILEEN R. TABIOS’ POETRY:
Jack Kerouac wrote, “Vision is deception.” Eileen Tabios’ version goes like this: “Go forth and prettily miscalculate.”
—The Brooklyn Rail
I once had a college classmate who was so exceptional as a student that our professor exclaimed, with tongue-in-cheek, that she could submit a paper with absolutely nothing written on it and still receive the highest grade. I can easily say the same for artist, poet, writer, and publisher Eileen R. Tabios. Of all of her admirable pursuits, it is her poetry that has proven her artistic worth. Her poems are transcendent, expressive, and provocative. What is more is that they are human, all too human to borrow from Nietzsche, in the emotions they evoke and in the wisdom they reflect.
Important for …study in creative rhetorics or poetics, and as a most satisfying, pleasurable read
—Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics
Remarkable ability to move from the abstract and the intellectual to the sensual and the tangible
—Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Interrogates our imagination of the things made in this company town of a world by rethinking whatever it is we are pulling out of the box
ABOUT EILEEN R. TABIOS
Eileen R. Tabios has released 18 print, four electronic and 1 CD poetry collections, an art essay collection, a poetry essay/interview anthology, a short story book and two novels. In poetry, Ms. Tabios has crafted a body of work that is unique for melding ekphrasis with transcolonialism. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Tagalog, Japanese, Portuguese, Polish, Greek, Paintings, Video, Drawings, Visual Poetry, Mixed Media Collages, Kali Martial Arts, Music, Modern Dance and Sculpture. She’s also exhibited visual art and visual poetry in the United States and Asia, as well as edited or co-edited six books of poetry, fiction and essays. She blogs as the “Chatelaine” at http://angelicpoker.blogspot.com and edits GALATEA RESURRECTS, a popular poetry review journal at http://galatearesurrects.blogspot.com
ISBN: 9780984117727 $19.95