by Eileen Tabios
Published by Giraffe Books
ISBN No. 971-8832-62-9
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in the Philippines through Giraffe Books (GiraffeBooks@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
in the United States and elsewhere through selected bookstores and www.amazon.com
For more information, contact: PinoyPoetics@aol.com
My Romance is a deceptively packaged jewel of a book. By its title alone, one expects a torrid recount of a love affair between a pirate and a kidnapped royal personage. Giraffe's pink soft cover packaging promises lighthearted reading of lighthearted prose. Beware of flipping open these pages because as sure as a magic wand, black lightning will strike and one finds oneself carried away to unheard of places: the mysterious universe of the artists' creative processes.
In My Romance, Eileen. Tabios, poet extraordinaire, culls together her art essays on contemporary artists "representing a variety of aesthetics, ranging over abstraction, figuration, minimalism, monochromaticism, conceptual art and sculpture." Minute descriptions of each exhibit and the artists' intent transport the reader to the actual exhibit site. As if this experience is not enough, Tabios showers the reader with petals by closing the essay with her personal affective entry into the world of art-through poetry. Each essay is graced with a Tabios poem. One is forcednay, persuadedto reflect on the artists' intent and re-read Tabios' critique. The 18 featured artists include established names like Richard Tuttle and promising emerging artists like Marc Trujillo.
Giraffe Books notes that Tabios frequently "opens up her process of writing poems to readers, which is part of her ongoing desire to offer the multiplicity of ways through which a poem is created." Tabios herself explains her approach to art-writing as: "Contrary to some people's assumptions, to write about art is not-or need not be-a purely aesthetic endeavor. I write on Art because it is a way to engage with capitalism, politics, poetry, history, issues of identity, and one's environment. To write on Art is like the writing of a poem: a way to engage with the world."
American sculptor Miriam Bloom says about My Romance: "Eileen Tabios knows with all of her heart and soul that both poetry and visual art involve distillation, essence, mystery and grandeur of experience. Her poetry is an analog for abstraction in the visual arts."
My Romance features the following artists: Santiago Bose, Max Gimblett, John Yau, Ulrike Palmbach, Ruth Liberman, Ed Moses, Paul Pfeiffer, Richard Tuttle, Christian Vincent, Stephanie Syjuco, Carmen Lomas Garza, Susan Bee, Tom Friedman, Marc Trujillo, Joseph Marioni, Miriam Bloom, Venancio "V.C." Igarta, and Carlos Villa.