The Daily Art Source

A Review of Dredging For Atlantis by Eileen Tabios

“Whatever world you
Suffer in –
Those are a few lines from the poem by Eileen Tabios’s, “Athena Begins.”  Yes, I have taken them out of context, yes, I have used to them for my own purpose. But what the poem says in the next couple of lines is, “I have things/ to tell/ you.” Yes, I have things to tell you about this book.
Ms Tabios begins the book with a quote by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett. It’s from Timaeus and Critias, it’s a quote about poets. Ms Tabios obviously has devoted quite a bit of her life to poetry, as Plato writes, “…if Solon had only, like other poets, made poetry the business of his life..” One thing Ms Tabios does in this book and other volumes she has written is, shown that she is very considerate of the reader. She includes on page 40, a Notes On Dredging For Atlantis. This is something you can expect in her books; an insight into the book you are reading, that is usually included within.

The last two lines of the first poem of the book, the poem entitled, “Scumble-d” leave you with a taste that carries you through the rest of the book. The lines are

………………………the only art left –
The preparation of grace

That’s it. The work that must be done in order to get the words on the page, the music out into the air. Saint Augustine wrote, “Will is to grace as the horse to the rider.” It’s the will you have to look for when you open the book, when you first listen to a piece of music. When you first meet that person that might change your life. A book can change your life. You just have to read enough to find the one that will. It’s out there.

Chris Mansel

 Book Review