PostModernPoetry E-Ratio Editions
Release Date: 2014
Free Downloadable PDF
44 RESURRECTIONS is the first poetry collection from Eileen R. Tabios’ MDR Poetry Generator, which is part of her “MURDER, DEATH & RESURRECTION” (MDR) project. Based on the poet’s interest in abstract and cubist language, transcolonial poetics and innovative forms of (auto)biography, MDR utilizes a data base of 1,146 lines which can be combined and re-combined into poems. The data base was created through a reading of the author’s first 26 poetry collections. It’s been estimated that the total number of possible poems that can be generated would be a number of about 3,011 digits. Thus, 44 RESURRECTIONS is the first but not the last of poetry collections to emanate from this project.
Selected Reader Responses:
“44 Resurrections is alive with detail and incident. It’s brilliant and multi-faceted, a jewel.”
Reading your 44 Resurrections, I thought of one of the ideas I am playing with as a talk …. It seems to me that fishing, trying to hook important unconscious content and bring it to light, the split-off parts of one’s self, etc., is to recognize that what you catch returns to darkness—since the fish disappears back into the depths, we are also reminded of the dictum that the unconscious both wants to become conscious but also does not wish it. (Jung) So it was with Isis gathering the parts of Osiris, and Eileen making the process central to the details of her life. Unforgettable!
—Paul Pines (poet, psychotherapist and former Merchant Seaman)
“let us dive into … beautiful oblivion”
Amazing read, AMAZING! 44 Resurrections caused me to wrack my brain, trying to remember and reflect on the many things that I must have forgotten throughout my life: someone’s name, their whereabouts, my own broken promises and unrealized dreams. 44 Resurrections got deep inside my head and heart, and stayed late into the evening.
The overall effect is often one of the beginning of a story or series of stories which the reader is left to complete because once again Tabios has allowed us the freedom to indulge in the realm of our own imaginations. Isn’t that one of the things that all great poetry should really be about?
—Neil Leadbeater, Our Own Voice (January 2015) (Full text HERE)
Obvious as it might seem, I must insist that what makes Tabios’ use of randomness poetically viable in her “forgetting” poems and much other work in this volume, is not only a fine diversity of represented experience, but the felicity of juxtapositions, as well as departures/returns. Take, for example, these successive monostichs from “In the Beginning, Before Words, There Was Poetry”:
I forgot love is always haggled.
I forgot you were the altar that made me stay.
I forgot you wanted to see her seeing herself…
I forgot, for him, she released milk to orphaned baby birds.
I forgot I yearned for amnesia—
I forgot the joy of eliding the vocabulary found in margins.
I forgot the zoo with retired cages.
…[T]he speaker of Tabios’ performs an act of remembering an act of forgetting that either recuperates the gist of the forgotten—as, I believe, in all of the examples above—or points to its inability to do so. The fifth line is especially layered or torqued because the speaker has now remembered that she had forgotten about a desire to forget, thus, at one point, fulfilling the desire by not consciously desiring it. In the first two lines above, “love” as a bargaining process (“haggled”) is connected with the influence of concrete symbols of religion (“altar”) on the fluctuation of individuals’ devotion. The third line also may concern love or simply fascination about another’s self-consciousness, but it is surely linked to the latter topic in the penultimate line, in which “vocabulary” of the representation of inside/outside is central to desire and hence “joy.” The “release” of “milk” to the birds is a different kind of love; it may reflect “his” love for the birds and/or her love for him. In addition, note the challenge posed to an overall narrative by the pronoun shifts in the first four lines, as well as the adjective “retired” that makes us wonder why it goes with the noun “cages”: are the animals that should be in the cages dead or released into the wild, or are they in new, high-tech cages? And could “zoo” and “cages” be tropes for the display and confinement of human emotions and behaviors—such as love and loving?
—Thomas Fink, Introduction to INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems & New (1996-2015)