Tuesday, January 3, 2017



REALMS OF THE MOTHERS: The First Decade of Dos Madres Press, Editor Richard Hague
(Dos Madres Press, Loveland, OH, 2016)

Dos Madres Press decided to release an anthology of poems from the poets it’s published over ten years (2004-2014). That presents a challenge when, as the editor Richard Hague noted, “It’s not possible to generalize about all these Dos Madres poets beyond claiming their general mastery of craft.”

Fortunately, Hague did not choose the easy way out -- e.g. arranging poems chronologically or going by alphabetical order of poets’ names. He immersed himself instead in the possible hundreds of poems available for inclusion until, organically, he gleaned what he called “realms” into which the poems can be categorized. It’s an effective result. The reader, thus, can begin to read or return to read the book by going to a particular subject matter of interest. The realms/categories are

APOCALYPTICA (certainly a fresh way to begin an anthology with a wide expanse)

Ars Poetica is a long-time personal favorite topic and here are two poems that display the range as to how the topic is addressed (click on images to enlarge):

There's more--there's always more as presented by this anthology--as in "The Muse" by Pamela L. Laskin which begins
The chuppah of your words covers my heart 
when I decide to wed to poetry, 
the language vows I take, some may call art 
it's you--my prayer, my muse, that marries me
(and hearkens one of my own projects, I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH, FOR MY BELOVED --click on title and look at that book cover!)

ARS POETICA is one of the slimmer sections of the book, which I note to affirm how all the other realms or categories benefited by a wide expanse in their representation, both in approaches and poetic styles.

Due both to its range and “mastery of craft,” the anthology is generous in presenting pleasure-inducing poems. Here’s one of many that enchanted long after I left its page:

The all of it works such that a book like this, with an obviously evident premise, doesn’t end up being predictable (or boring). What results instead is Hague’s charming observation—and that he articulates it so charmingly says something positive, too, about the project:
"...the diversity of theme, subject, form, diction, and speaker echoes what I, a former collector of beetles, loved about the insect order Coleoptera: a tremendous range of size, structure, color,  habitat, life cycle. Considering that they comprise the single largest Order of Insects, nineteenth-century naturalist J.B.S. Haldane wrote, 'The Creator seems to have been inordinately fond of beetles.' Likewise, REALMS OF THE MOTHERS shows in the domain of poetry a rapturous fondness for, and extensive expression of, a similarly multifarious creation."
REALMS OF THE MOTHERS, indeed, offers a model for similar ventures by the many small presses that proliferate(d) out there as a result of advances in print technology (as did Dos Madres, named after the mothers of the founders). Publishers, too, may find it useful to know this book.

Congratulations to Dos Madres Press which was started by poet-artist couple Robert Murphy and Elizabeth Murphy. The anthology affirms the success of their endeavor, and makes this reader look forward to another ten-year anthology in the press' future.


Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor (the exception would be books that focus on other poets as well).  She is pleased, though, to point you elsewhere to recent reviews of her work: AMNESIA: Somebody's Memoir was recently reviewed by Valerie Morton for E-ratio 23. She released three books and two chaps in 2016, and is scheduled to release at least that similar number in 2017. More info at http://eileenrtabios.com

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