Love In A Time of Belligerence
Éditions du Cygne / SWAN World
Publisher’s Book Page
Release Date: September 2017
Price: 13 Euros; U.S.$16.00
Distributors: Éditions du Cygne, Amazon, Among Others
To understand human history is to recognize the eternal presence of belligerence. Eileen R. Tabios’ Love in a Time of Belligerence surfaces a variety of wars and their collateral damage of nature, indigenous culture, pets and infants, democracy, teachers, the poor, even “sex dolls,” among others. Such spirals to more losses: innocence, ideals, loyalties, family, and hopes. Love can be an antidote … until it’s not. The world presented in Tabios’ poetry does not reduce humanity to problem-and-solution—her poetry is one of insistent lucidity, which is an accomplishment on its own when one wants to hide one’s eyes from the world.
“Eileen Tabios has been a grand force in U.S. poetry … and it’s difficult to think of our own time without acknowledging what a large psychic space she has made for us. The sheer volume of her writing is impressive, like the rivers of Tigris and Euphrates; among postwar Americans, maybe only Leslie Scalapino, Steve Jonas, Alice Notley and Lew Ellingham have written so much with such assurance and endless, difficult-made-easy experimentation.
—Kevin Killian, poet, writer, playwright, critic, editor and Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer
—Each [poem] meanders through the maze of memory and reconstruction of the past and references to the art of word craftsmanship in a manner that immediately becomes awe-inspiring.
—Grady Harp, Amazon.com Hall of Fame Reviewer
Here are excerpts from “PilipinZ”, one of the poems Eileen read. It’s in her latest book, Love in a Time of Belligerence, published this year by Swan World:
“I./ I forgot how perfume cannot obliterate. / I forgot children softening harsh wool with thin fingers in exchange for broken rice kernels. / I forgot discovering the limited utility of calm seas. / I forgot the World War II concentration camp where amnesiacs tortured by tying together the legs of pregnant women. / I forgot how Beauty dislocates. / I forgot that sense of approaching a labyrinth. /…
“I forgot rough skin was a map. / I forgot you losing all Alleluias. /… / I forgot steel will bend to form a heart. / I forgot wax will freeze to form a heart. / I forgot ink will flow to form a heart. / ….
“But I will never forget we walk on the same planet and breathe the same air. I will never forget the same sun shines on us. I created my own legacy: No one is a stranger to me.”
As these words thrilled and fascinated the audience at Dovre, so did the other poems, which found their own resonances within each individual present. This is the magic of poetry – it is one thing for the poet, and another for the reader, and always something to both.
There is also power in the spoken word—when it is clothed with sound, emerging on a puff of warm breath, it is brought to life in a special way. That night, the Dovre Club witnessed litchantment.
—Jenny Ortuoste, The Manila Standard, Oct. 22, 2017
LOVE’S HURRICANE & FIRE RELIEFS
It seems fitting that a book entitled LOVE IN A TIME OF BELLIGERENCE will sponsor fundraisers related to Hurricane and Fire Reliefs. As regards the former, sales proceeds were donated to those aiding those adversely affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma; more information HERE. The Fundraiser also was presented at the 4th Filipino American International Book Festival, Oct. 7, 2017 in San Francisco. For the former, donations and sales proceeds during San Francisco’s 2017 LitQuake were given to Napa Valley Community Foundation Fire Fund; more information HERE. Finally, sales proceeds were donated to Beta Local which provides emergency grants to cultural workers in Puerto Rico. A Final Fundraising Update is available HERE. Gratitude to all those who participated by purchasing this book.
In Galatea Resurrects (Aug. 8, 2017), Eileen R. Tabios discusses her thought process as to how she came to choose the image for the book’s front cover: the painting “A Simple Word” by Marc Gaba. You can see her essay HERE.
One of the book’s poems, “Mom Betty Addresses the Nature of Proportion,” is featured in the Poetry Foundation’s “PoetryNow” series through an audio discussion and reading. You can read and listen through HERE.
At her blog Eileen Verbs Books, Eileen R. Tabios discusses one of the book’s poems, “Witnessed in the Convex Mirror: Pathos” as it relates to the rise of sexual relations between humans and robots. You can see the poetry-in-progress article HERE.
From St. Helena Star
“Yet another achievement for an accomplished poet who has received the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry and had her work translated into eight languages.