The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku


The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019
ISBN: 978-0-9969911-6-2
Price: $29.95
Pages: 240
Edition: Hardback
Distributors: Small Press Distribution, Amazon, Marsh Hawk Press, among others

The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019 presents tercets that Eileen R. Tabios created during her writing career, a process that led to her invention of the hay(na)ku poetic form. The hay(na)ku has been practiced by poets and visual artists around the world. The collection also presents her tercets in other forms, from the lyric to the experimental, and ends with her take on the Death Poems from East Asian cultures.


Will you bring the scent

of red roses

I left behind


in New York City alleyways

(or has that season yet to pass)?

In my eyes


will you see

Baudelaire’s infinity

he defined as the “sky”


you witness repeatedly

on and in any painting

marked by blue sapphire, lapis


lazuli, indigo, turquoise…sky…?


Otoliths, 2019 has featured the book’s Introduction by Thomas Fink. You can see it HERE but here’s an excerpt:

“… a new collection of Tabios’ work from the beginning of her writing life to the present should yield a solid sense of the problematics and topoi that she has consistently tackled. The lines … from “Venus Rising for the First Time in the 21st Century” provide a fine example of what Joi Barrios, placing Tabios’ work in relation to feminist Filipina bardic precursors, identifies as a major thematic dimension: “Tabios’ poems seemingly speak of love and desire, and yet are powerful statements that participate in discourses on gender, class, and power” (318). As it interacts playfully with the trope of “sea” that points to the mythological context of Venus’ birth, the repetition of “see,” as well as “want,” involving a “you” (male gazer) and “her” (the 21st century Venus) can be said to interrogate the power of the male onlooker to establish contexts of perception. According to this interpretation, the “you” seems to want Venus to experience a kind of “double consciousness” (W.E.B. DuBois’ term applied to African-Americans early in the twentieth century) so that she can participate in and accept her own objectification rather than experience her (new) life in an unmediated way, and he wishes to witness it—as reassurance that it is happening. Yet the second sentence, beginning at the end of the first tercet with the same words that started off the poem, indicate the male’s desire for her to be conscious of her desire for him. // Interestingly, though, the man figures himself not as traditional masculine solidity but as a “body” of water, a “form” of “foam,” and this troping suggests the tenuousness of the male’s desire, the fragility that threatens his social power.”

Recently Noted About Eileen R. Tabios

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.
—San Francisco Review of Books

[Eileen R.] Tabios’ concern for our world is global in its reach.
—Contemporary Literary Review of India

Since the 1990s when I first encountered Eileen Tabios’s poetry, she has continually taken readers on a different journey of creativity with each book. Ms. Tabios is one of the Philippines’ great gifts to the United States… There are many other lines in Tabios’s poetry that intrigue—there always are. Her language is light years ahead of many poets from countries around the world, yet remains accessible and exciting.
—Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene 

Innovation is not easy. Being innovative and prolific—well, that approaches the ultra rare. And that is why, year after year, I try to do at least one review of Eileen Tabios’s works… // [E]xperience generates new inspirations and new commentary on the state of our arts. Given the use of our lists by Big Data, this particular creative act of Tabios’s might be nothing less than Revolutionary.
—New Mystics Review