THE INVENTOR: A Poet’s Transcolonial Autobiography
By Eileen R. Tabios
Publisher: Marsh Hawk Press (Chapter One Series)
Year of Publication: 2023/4
Price: To Come.
Distributors: Small Press Distribution, Amazon, Ebay, Marsh Hawk Press, among others.
Cover Image: “Anghelpugay ng Kasarinlan (Elegiac Angel of Independence)” by Jose Tence Ruiz who made it for the Philippine Centennial Anniversary of the Philippines’ June 12, 1898 Declaration of Independence.
Eileen R. Tabios says, “Poetry is a decolonized language.” She proves it through her autobiography that begins with her first book that she wrote as a 2-3-year-old toddler and focuses on her poetry inventions: the hay(na)ku, the Murder Death Resurrection Poetry Generator, and the Flooid. This is a unique and thought-provoking autobiography by a poet who claims poetry is not words.
I wrote THE INVENTOR, not because it’s about my life but, because it’s an autobiography that connects history, language, and poetry in a unique way beyond narratives. I learned English because it became widespread in my birth land, the Philippines, through U.S. colonialism. That caused me, as a young poet, to feel estranged from my raw material: English. My poetry practice, however, would lift me out of politics to meet poetry more directly as its own type of language. Ultimately, my prolonged engagement with poetry, enabled me to create poetry inventions that metaphorically disrupts colonialism by generating communities of readers and writers worldwide. These inventions include the “hay(na)ku” which has spread globally among poets and, most recently, the “Flooid” whose pre-writing condition precedent of a “good deed” makes poetry live redemptively and beyond the page. In THE INVENTOR, I show how Poetry is not mere words but a proactive approach to improving our relationships with each other and life on our planet.