2015 marks the 20th year anniversary of Eileen R. Tabios’ “career switch” from banking to poetry. AGAINST MISANTHROPY presents her life as a self-educated poet—from, as a newbie poet, reading through all of the poetry books of her local Barnes and Noble as she scratched her head over what poetry is supposed to be … to more recently creating a poetry generator capable of making poems without additional authorial intervention. Along her journey, she also released about 30 poetry collections, two fiction books and four prose collections with the help of publishers in eight countries. Ultimately, however, her so far 20-year poetry journey has taught her that poetry’s greatest gift is the means by which to forge a new life as a better person. As one of her Facebook friends Maxwell Clark told her, and she agrees, “The best person is the best poet.”Read more »
A Glimpse into our Alien World: Susan Lewis and This Visit
Astonishment. Astonishment and an extensive exploration of language through the masterful use of rhyme and alliteration makes Susan Lewis’ eighth poetry collection This Visit both a tremendously enjoyable and challenging book to read. When her speakers demand, “Admit you would play dead. / Permit me to seed red // lest we strut and preen / & prophecy . . .” (15), the audience pays attention, if only for the beautiful arrangement. But there is much more to this volume than music and word play. The poet’s 857 couplets provide the reader with tantalizing clues as how we interact with each other and the surrounding world.
The basic, in fact the only, unit of construction in This Visit is the couplet, appearing occasionally in variant forms. This fact raises significant questions for several reasons, not the least of which is what or whom do these constructs represent? Chromosomes? Noah’s menagerie? Lovers? Pilot/co-pilot? Mentor/protégé? Whatever the case, Lewis ensures the poems reflect two viewpoints: incisive, cogent, sometimes contradictory, and always worth hearing.