MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION: A Poetry Generator
Publisher’s Book Page
Release Date: Spring 2018
Distributors: Small Press Distribution, Amazon, East Wind Books (Berkeley), Among Others
MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION is the definitive monograph for Eileen R. Tabios’ five-year performance poetry project of similar name: “Murder, Death and Resurrection.”
When the Filipino indigenous trait of kapwa (togetherness) syncs with the computer, the result is a paradox summed up as manual artificial intelligence (MAI, not AI). Such results in Eileen R. Tabios’ project “MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION” because—though not only because—the author posits, No one or nothing is a stranger to me. Thus, she created a Poetry Generator as described in a performance/interactive poetry book of the same name, MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION (MDR). MDR presents a space for readers to create their own poems, a unique challenge for “deep reading” poems, and the latest innovative poetry project by a poet known for radical and yet, in the words of Kevin Killian, “difficult-made-easy experimentation.” For educators, the book also comes with suggested Study Questions and a Workshop Suggestion, making it useful for workshops, creative writing and poetics courses, and/or how-to-write-poetry exercises.
A COMPREHENSIVE ESSAY
In 2013, I was weary of everything I’d written. So I decided to murder my poems — specifically twenty-seven poetry collections published up to that point — in an attempt to find another way for creating poems. For this attempt, I also wanted to deepen my interrogation (and disruption) of English which had facilitated twentieth-century US colonialism in my birthland, the Philippines. Finally, I wanted to develop a consciously closer link to the Filipino indigenous value of “Kapwa.” “Kapwa” refers to “shared self” or “shared identity” whereby everyone and everything is connected.
–from “MDR: Another way for poetry” by Eileen R. Tabios, Jacket2, June 20, 2019
RESPONSES & REVIEWS
“…a recombinant surrealism,” in”Traditions of Innovation in Asian American Poetry” by Michael Leong, The Cambridge Companion to TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY AMERICAN POETRY edited by Timothy Yu (Cambridge University press, 2021)
“Kultivating Kapwa,” a podcast with Leny M. Strobel at Babaylan Studies, June 14, 2020, produced by Olivia Sawi, co-produced by Annie Aarons-Sawi, and music by AstraLogik.
GLIMPSES: A Poetic Memoir by Leny M. Strobel, a book written with MDR lines providing the scaffolding. (Paloma Press, 2019)
“Review of Leny Strobel Mendoza’s Poetry of Decolonization” by Christopher Bowers, Racial Justice Allies, Jan. 15, 2020
“Redheaded Stepchild,” a poem-response by Carol Dorf in Redheaded Magazine, May 2019
“SPD Recommends,” March 2018, Small Press Distribution
“This is a glorious book in all respects. Its brilliance pops at every turn. The object itself is a fine event, and I am loving the read as major savoring. The excitement of this book raises the bar very high for what poetry can do and be!”
“MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION: A Form of Babaylan Poetics” by Leny M. Strobel, MEDIUM, Jan. 13, 2018
“Journaling with MDR Poetry” is Leny M. Strobel’s 100-page diary response. Excerpts are available at #allpinayeverything, Oct. 11, 2018.
After nine years of reviewing her poetry, I see the MDR work as a Culmination rather than a divergence or some (mere) experiment in recycled language. Comparisons can be made to the “cut-up” work of William Burroughs or even Philip K. Dick’s use of the I Ching to generate storylines and character choices, but they will ultimately fall short. Very much in line with Tabios’s previous work on the Filipino Diaspora, the MDR is an expression of taking back language through breaking it down. Briefly, this is a response to colonialism and American imperialism. Fittingly enough to mention here, I am preparing to do a Chautauqua tour as Ernesto “Che” Guevara in mid-2019, so I am living daily with the reality of what American colonialism and imperialism have done to the Philippines and Latin and Central America. Politics hinges on language (Rhetorical Studies is obsessed with this). Slang, jargon, and such art forms as Rap are expressions of this as well. An interesting aspect of this is the notion of “Babaylan” poetics, which (quite shamanically) states that everything is connected and in harmony, no matter how different it may seem…. Murder, Death, Resurrection is the latest reason why Eileen Tabios is one of the most important poets working today.
–Review by Joey Madia for New Mystics Reviews and Literary Aficionado (Review HERE)
Eileen R. Tabios is one of the more adventuresome and truly creative poets before the public today. She is absolutely able to write poems in the usual styles and make her works resonate with every reader. But she always is searching for ways to push the use of words into formats or situation that challenge the brain as well as heart. She makes us think: she makes us work. And she is able in this book to entertain.
–Review by Grady Harp at GoodReads and Amazon.com (Review HERE)
If someone could wave a magic wand and give you the ability to write poems endlessly would you accept the offer? // Nationally known poet Eileen R. Tabios has created the nearest thing to the magic wand, in her book Murder Death Resurrection.
–Review by Zvi A. Sesling for Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene, April 5, 2018
Each line in the MDR database starts with the words “I forgot.” Tabios writes, “Through my perceptions of abstraction and cubism, I’ve written poems whose lines are not fixed in order and, indeed, can be reordered.” I find this non-linear aspect wonderfully liberating. I can see its application in teaching poetry to children, or to people learning English, or as an exercise in creativity. (The book includes a teaching guide and workshop suggestion.)
–from “How to Create a Poetry Database” by Erica Goss, July 25, 2018
“FAVORITE COLORS,” a response poem by Mike Gullickson.
“AMBERGRIS AND AMANITA,” a response poem by Joy McDowell.
The Hay(na)ku and the MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION Projects Visit Sonoma State University, 2018
“Community of Vowels,” a visual poetry series generated by the MDR Poetry Generator at Otoliths, May 1, 2018
The MDR Poetry Generator and a new generated poem, “Red Joy,” is part of Tripwire #14: THE RED ISSUE, 2018!
ABOUT the front cover image painting, “Avocado” by Pacita Abad.
ABOUT proofing the manuscript in preparation for publication.