Thursday, December 09, 2010

Trotsky, encore

In the latest manifestation of her fabulous book review blog Galatea Resurrects, Eileen Tabios opens her "engagement" with my At Trotsky's Funeral thus:
I won’t even pretend to be objective in engaging with this book. Not after being called the “Rose” that is the goal of “Journey to the Centre of the World.” No doubt, such self-aggrandizement is also a misreading, or subjective reading, on my part. After all, when one thinks of the phrase “pot at the end of the rainbow”, one might not only think of gold but the receptacle for someone’s piss. A memory (vs. sincere feeling) of modesty moves me to edit this review to delete my thousand-page discourse on “Journey to the Centre of the World” and its “attractive female” known as “Eileen R. Tabios” (that would be the too-short poem on Page 39; when you check it out, it may be relevant to know that my middle name is “Rose”).
Since her well-known modesty prevents her from doing so, I have taken it upon myself to reprint below the entire piece she refers to.

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Except for those weeks immediately preceding &, if the national entry manages a place amongst the top three, immediately following the Eurovision Song Competition, Icelandic radio plays nothing but Björk. Turn it off & there are the sounds of volcanoes & hot pools which, if you’ve heard them more than once you’ve heard them to the point of boredom. Still Björk.

Little wonder then that, on a day when the melting polar cap drove banks of fog southward & made moving hazardous, Einar Beestiol, self-proclaimed but much-rejected poet, whose style derived from Voluspo, the great Icelandic creation poem, & whose titles — I Take Thee, Jules Verne, for My Beloved, since, by setting the portal of your Journey to the Center of the Earth in Iceland, you showed me there was a way out — were so long that readers gave up on them before they had even come to the body of the poem, decided on a change that he hoped might make his name heard across the world.

Three steps to it. Compile a program that through random selection but stochastic process combines & rearranges as poems parts of Voluspo & The Diaries of Golda Meir, a book he’d found discarded outside a goodwill store. His name as anagram as author. A persona to go. Thus Eileen R. Tabios. Thus attractive female, memberless but member of a minority, MBA & former East Coast corporate banker, now growing grapes in West Coast California.

The R., he decided, could stand for Rose. Even Icelanders have heard of Gertrude Stein.

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