Eileen Tabios – The Opposite of Claustrophobia

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Startling, not just for the method but for the lines of breathtaking beauty resulting from it. These poems are tender, wistful and humorous, an incantatory catalogue that is spiritually tethered to the body and the earth, where everything is vital and important, and incites wonder, melancholy, and gratitude.

— Eric Gamalinda

While Georges Perec famously gave us a work of literature that began “I remember…”, Eileen Tabios gives us a very human sounding algorithm that lists for us what “I” has forgotten. In the backgrounds of paintings like those of Lucas Cranach, Bosch, Durer, Da Vinci, are castles, ruins, caverns. Each one is an invitation, a window into which I’d like to peer. In just such a way each of the lines of Tabios’ new work is an invitation to seek within the sfumato for a miniature clarity—sometimes the blinding light of a furnace, sometimes an old movie set swarming with quotation marks, sometimes lines that, with their specificity, invite us to linger and to imagine the margins full of novels, short stories, memoirs of: “Marisa peeling the skin from a blue-boned fish…Luisa who squatted beside betel-chewing crones with crooked front teeth, and Marjorie who swallowed the scarless sky over Siquijor.” Some lines are mere rungs for the hands and feet of angels and these I recommend to you most of all.

— Jesse Glass

Out now on KFS.

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