“Eileen Tabios is one of the foremost Filipino American poets of the 21st century”- Asian Week

I had an amazing miracle afternoon interviewing Eileen Tabios author of "DoveLion" (AC Books, New York, 2021) I believe "DoveLion" to be one of the most unique, engaging, surprising novels I have ever read. Her writing seduced me with layers, characters and reflections on art, poetry, history, politics and desire.

She shared that her main theme for her book was the universal fact that “power corrupts.” In this inventive fairytale, Elena — the main character and poet — overcomes the trauma of her past to raise a family who would overthrow a dictatorship. The story bespeaks the unavoidable nature of humanity, an interconnection that can cancel past, present and future into a singular now.

Eileen Tabios left the Philippines when she was 10 years old with her immediate family. She fled her country from the dictator’s corrupt regime. She worked at the Twin Towers in New York before 9/11. She and her husband were victims of the Glass Fire. She still lives in St. Helena. Courageous Eileen Tabios invites writers to:

“Never stop at 'what if'

When you write

create a whole universe

We are all poets but certain types of living

can leech poetry out of our lives

Let your writing, your poetry write itself

Trust the process

Get out of the way

Do the work

Feed the muse

Art and poetry

are the best part of humanity

For the poet there is no difference

between studio and the world

I am so grateful that Eileen has accepted my invitation to speak to the Revolutionary Poets of Napa County on Oct. 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Yountville Library.

What to expect? She will talk about the process of writing especially poetry.

If you purchase her "DoveLion" book, she will give those (free of charge) her resent book: "The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku." The collection holds "Selected Tercets 1996-2019." She has invented her own form of poetry, which she will share and invite us to explore her tercet creation.

As I interviewed Eileen and soaked up her wisdom on writing. I was reminded of this quote by William Faulkner: "Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad -- and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies his master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window."

I close with few of my favorite lines from "DoveLion."

"Once upon a time

I thought poetry is a fairy tale

Once upon a time

Dictators feared the educated

Once upon a time

A dictator made me an orphan

Once upon a time

I fell into the arms of a stranger"

Please join the Revolutionary Poets Society of Napa County and Eileen Tabios on Saturday Oct. 9 at the Yountville Library.

Addie Rode, a Napa eighth grader, discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic that she LOVES to read—so much that she launched small business on Etsy. She's also found a niche on Instagram and other social media with her book reviews, posts and book decor. Follow along.

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Marianne Lyon is poet laureate of Napa County.