With The Great American Novel: Selected Visual Poetry (2001-2019), Eileen Tabios not only presents 19 years of her forays into visual poetry, but takes the reader on an extremely personal journey of exploration of cultural identity, the ramifications of colonialism, the functions of language and the possibilities of connectivity in love and pain where each poem acts as a poignant marker along the way. Each sequence in this collection vastly differs--from asemic chance operations composed of Tabios's plucked white hairs let fall into place (recalling how Duchamp composed 3 Standard Stoppages) to a description of each poem-object in a destroyed mail art correspondence of sculptural visual poems. Tabios's openness to possibility has created poems radiating with life which are as heavy as they are celebratory. If you're looking for bubblegum, move on--here is something entirely different for your eyes to chew on.
--Sacha Archer, author of Detour
Eileen Tabios takes part by taking apart then seaming beyond seeming. Commas as visuals take form, flight, shape. Real lines of once alive things plucked from hair inventing poetry without genuflection. Achromotricia re(de)fines asemia, emerging a new version of whiteness against cloth backdrops. Finding poetry as poetry is. Eileen asserts in natural form the joining of worlds by being knowing learning doing becoming fascinated by what creates itself around her as she fascinates us by what she makes herself.
--Sheila E. Murphy, author of Reporting Live From You Know Where
I immediately got attracted to the first images, documenting an installation titled "Pilipinz Cloudygenous." Then I read the notes, and went back to the images. The effect got stronger and stronger. While the mobiles of say, Fischli & Weiss, are about the funny chain of causality, Tabios' work is about a funnily represented, rather absurd, but still functioning chain--leading back to the sources. "Hanging (from a ceiling)," roots in the sky.
--Márton Koppány, author of Endgames
About the Author
Eileen R. Tabios has released over 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in 11 countries and cyberspace. DOVELION: A FAIRY TALE FOR OUR TIMES (AC Books, 2021) is her first long- form novel. Her 2020 books include a short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator's Aftermath in the Diaspora; a poetry collection, THE IN(TER)VENTION OF THE HAY(NA)KU (Marsh Hawk Press, 2019); and her third bilingual edition (English/Thai), INCULPATORY EVIDENCE: Covid-19 Poems. Her award-winning body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku, a 21st century diasporic poetic form, and the MDR Poetry Generator that can create poems totaling theoretical infinity, as well as a first poetry book, Beyond Life Sentences, which received the Philippines' National Book Award for Poetry. Translated into 11 languages, she also has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays. Her writing and editing works have received recognition through awards, grants and residencies.