Eileen R. Tabios presents Preface to 147 MILLION ORPHANS: MMXI-MML
(Gradient Books, Finland, 2014)
While no one really knows the number of orphans worldwide, a common estimate is 147 million. These children represent one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of our time even as their plight fails to receive as much attention as natural disasters or wars.
147 MILLION ORPHANS: MMXI-MML is the first book-length haybun poetry collection. A “haybun” is a combination of hay(na)ku and other text. The hay(na)ku is a 21st century diasporic poetic form; its core is a tercet-based stanza with the first line being one word, the second line being two words, and the third line being three words.
For these haybun, the opening hay(na)ku tercet generally served as impetus to the subsequent prose. Each word forming the hay(na)ku tercets is taken from a school project by Eileen R. Tabios’ adopted son.* After arriving in the United States, Eileen's son had been encouraged to learn English in 8th grade partly by learning 25 new words a week.
[* Notwithstanding the reference to the author's son, it should be noted that the book is not about her son but experiences and knowledge the author gained during international adoption processes.]