Saturday, August 15, 2009


Excerpted from
"Synecdoche: Brief Poetry Reviews" by Vince Gotera
North American Review, May-August, 2009

In our May-August issue we honor Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Today I begin by reviewing an Asian American poetry anthology, then follow with poetry collections by Filipino American poets...

Dredging for Atlantis by Eileen Tabios
Otoliths, 2006, 56 p, paper $14.95

Eileen Tabios is, without a doubt, the most prolific and most published of Filipino American poets; a quick tally on Amazon.com turned up 14 books (poetry, essays, a novel, short stories, interviews), 5 edited anthologies, and 4 edited journal issues. (I bet that there are more; that Amazon doesn't have all her titles). Not to mention running a literary press, writing or managing 8 blogs, and editing the journal she founded: Galatea Resurrects. In Dredging for Atlantis, Tabios composes poems through "textual scumbling," a verbal version of a painter's process, collaging "found" texts "dredged" from others' writing--in this case, poems by Mina Loy, a memoir by Kinta Beevor, and a novel by John Banville. The resulting poems are often striking; here are a couple of complete poems: "Coax / lullabyes // from tin cans / long emptied, rusting" ("Parenthetical"); "Adolescent eros / a consistent source / for radium / of the Word" ("Impish Music"). An intelligent collection that definitely pomo's the pomo.

Note: see also Tabios' Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (2002).


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