A Review of The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. 1 by Eileen R. Tabios
Do you ever wonder that when you pick up a book to read it may be mirroring your life? A book where what you read seems to speak back to you as much as satisfy your curiosity? You’d want to read more, right? Take this for example: Ms. Tabios writes in the poem, “Negative Space”,
“…Not so. Encounters are not like engravings, whether on marble or wax, their images like words even if everyone agreed on the definitions of texts. There will be no code. You can never hear what you read…”
“You can never hear what you read.” I would say that is enigmatic, but it works. A book that mirrors your life that is ambiguous--that would fit. Life is ambiguous. Or as Ms. Tabios writes in her poem, “The Estrus Gaze(s)," “some poems, yes, should be silent when lifted from the page.”
If I wanted to persuade you to buy this book by choosing just one section to share, it just might be, "The Masvikiro Quatrains.” Below are two favorites of mine. I am sure you would have favorites of your own.
Taken from "The Eleventh Page"
mousse: concavity maunder
paleontology: demolish neatness
asymmetrical: putrid translucence
abstemious: applicant saxophonist
Taken from "The Nineteenth Page"
pelvic: credentials nasturtium
galleon: obduracy aborigine
syllabify: boll artlessness
misjudgment: salsa spine
The Quatrains are a very enjoyable read, plus you have to appreciate a writer who is willing to dedicate so much of their book to the form. An entire section follows entitled, “An Exphrases: On The Path Of The Shona To Sculpt 'The Masvikiru Quatrains'.” In this section Ms. Tabios explains how she created, or rather “ sculpted," the quatrains. She worked with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and it is a very interesting story. If you don’t know the story or work of Mr. Kervinen you already are behind. Trust me. As they say, Google him.
There are many other reasons to read this book. I have reviewed several of Ms. Tabios books. You can’t make rain if you don’t dance.