NOTA BENE EISWEIN
ahadada books, Tokyo & Toronto
Release Date: 2009
Distributors: OUT OF PRINT but available on Amazon and Selected Bookstores.
In NOTA BENE EISWEIN, Eileen Tabios applies the methodology of making “eiswein,” a German sweet wine, for extracting poems from her readings of Christian Hawkey’s poetry collection The Book of Funnels and Sarah Bird’s novel The Flamenco Academy.
NOTA BENE EISWEIN extends Tabios’ body of work that is unique for melding ekphrasis with transcolonialism. Just as she is inspired by other art forms for creating poetry, her poems have been translated into other art media—Paintings, Video, Drawings, Visual Poetry, Mixed Media Collages, Kali Martial Arts, Modern Dance and Sculpture—in addition to languages such as Spanish, Italian, Tagalog, Japanese, and Portuguese.
The reader who values the study of foreign languages will find exploring the poems in the second part to be a gift: Spanish words proliferate, artfully embedded within the English texts of Tabios’s poems. Thus, the cultural dimension of these poems adds to their allure….
In a poem near the start of her first section, “Where Everything Is Clear,” Tabios builds image upon image. The very first image, “left with a stare / watching itself” lingers with the reader. As if these two lines aren’t thought provoking enough, Tabios concludes the poem with an idea that moves beyond a stare: “somewhere, a woman / shrouds herself in white linen / a poem invisible but transparent.” This idea of a woman as a poem is astonishing. With this image, Tabios takes the reader to an imaginative height the reader could not have anticipated at the poem’s beginning.
—“Inspiration’s Mirror” by Grace Ocasio, Jacket Magazine (Full review HERE)
… every single poem from section I of Nota Bene Eiswein responds to a poem from Christian Hawkey’s work…. what Tabios’s poetry does for me is to remind me the varied places from which lyrics are inspired. I was thinking the other day about how one poem often begets another, but little did I realize that it could be the inspiration for an entire set of poems, a sort of call and response lyric form that shows Tabios’s strong and dedicated engagement to another’s artistry and imagination. While the poem-for-poem genealogy is maintained in section one, Tabios charts a different, but similarly call-and-responsive technique in section two, where she takes on Sarah Bird’s novel, The Flamenco Academy. In this section, she employs a form that she invented called the Hay(na)ku, but actually reverses it. The traditional hay(na)ku is a tercet with a total of six words with one word in the first line, two in the second, and three in the third. Without having read Bird’s novel, one can see from the poems offered here that there the academy is just the beginning of a long history in which an instructor’s past comes back to life. The landscape of Spain comes vibrantly to the fore and leads the readers into a lyric excavation filled with music, dance, romance, and political drama.
—Stephen Hong Sohn, Asian American Literature Fans (Full review HERE)
…her collection of poems under the group called WINE Tabios subtitles THE SINGER and Others: Flamenco Hay(na)ku. What flows is a brilliant series of poems that define the bodies, the grace, the lines, and the sensuality of flamenco singers and dancing. These are eloquent while they are earthy and sensuous and capture as well as any poet has the mystery and seduction of Flamenco and the gypsy origins of this art and way of life and expression.
The other, the first, section is collectively titled ICE: BEHIND THE EYELET VEIL in which each haunting poem began as a riff from the ending of a Christian Hawkey poem from The Book of Funnels. These are some of the most elusive and yet thrilling works the poet has created to date.
—Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer (Full review HERE)
Her passion and efforts for connection with the reader make all the difference here. Although Tabios is coming from a place of High Art, there is nothing ivory tower about her poetics. This is a balance that both the street poets and academics should be seeking if we are to revitalize our worth as poets.
Nota Bene Eiswein ends with a two-page exploration of “Tattoo Poetics,” yet another new form that has come out of the creative atmosphere that exists because of Eileen Tabios and her willingness to “excavate” unexplored mines of material and meaning.
—Joey Madia, New Mystics Review (Full review HERE)
A Poem-Response by John Bloomberg-Rissman to “The SINGER And Others: Flamenco Hay(na)ku” which comprises one of the two sections in NOTA BENE EISWEIN:
I Always Want To Talk To Your Poems: A Review Of Eileen R Tabios’ The SINGER And Others: Flamenco Hay(na)ku
… The ocean
Does not mean to be listened to. A drop
Or crash of water.
It pounds the shore. White and aimless signals.
Eileen R Tabios:
Ocean mirrors ocean.
Pouring sweat i.e. the ocean out of her shoes
No one listens to poetry.
This is the shit.
20 Apr 07