Eileen R. Tabios, “Toasting Poetry as a Way of Life in the Diaspora”

From the anthology, Not Home, But Here: Writing from the Filipino Diaspora edited by Luisa A. Igloria (Anvil Publishing, 2003):

For instance, I once heard an oenophile compare a wine to a ‘dew on a lawn in Sri Lanka.’ Notwithstanding the tilt toward the pretentious, wine lovers are simply trying to relate the experience to one of their memories–is this not how one may also read a poem? That is, a poem transcends its author’s autobiography when it manages to articulate a space where different readers will feel a variety of emotional responses to the same words, a variety of reactions, because a different set of memories is awakened in each reader.

The best poems resonate, leave behind a simmering feel in response to their words. The same occurs with wine: long after it has been swallowed, its aftermath lingers along the edges of the tongue. What we might can ‘resonance’ in a poem is what oenophiles call ‘finish’ in wine. (61)

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