Diwata has found a home. I was contacted by BOA Editions, Ltd. editors yesterday afternoon, and they have offered me a book contract, and a proposed release date of Fall 2010.
As a friend and colleague tells me, 2010 will come much faster than we think.
Though I have been jumping out of my skin since talking to the editors, I didn’t want to make a big public deal about it. But then I told Alejandro Murguía yesterday evening at Flor y Canto, and his contagious joy and his insistence that I make my reading a celebration of my good news definitely helped me process, and think about why not share it. I’ve been working for this.
Thus the work of some tough love manuscript editing begins.
A couple of things:
(1) As with my other publications, I have started a Diwata page (see the side bar, to your right), and have included text from my submissions cover letter, in which I attempt to explain to prospective publishers how I’ve conceived of Diwata.
Regarding the origins of the project, it came about as an Independent Study course with Maxine Chernoff, who was very respectfully hands off, and which was fine for the way I wanted to work on this project. I do recall telling her that I had started reading Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire trilogy, and that between Galeano and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Storyteller, that their genre blending, their handling of personae and speakers’ “indigenous” and “imperialist” testimonies, and the clash and impact of the two, was something I’d wanted to do in a Filipino context.
The BOA editors have mentioned my propulsion of “duende,” and I got to thinking about how diwata and duende may be similar concepts. While my diwata (plural) reside in the natural world, and are insistent upon showing themselves/making themselves known as the unnatural world encroaches upon them, these diwata are still also a very dark and internal force for my poetic speaker/persona, something she does and does not understand about herself.
(2) I am feeling freed up to actually proceed onto/to devote more energy to the next manuscript. Back to yesterday’s Flor y Canto, I read an entire set of Oakland poems, and for the first time, felt not only this works’ cohesion, but also that I have energy to continue writing the Oakland poems, these place poems in an urban context — the people as the place, the place as the people.
So there’s that. Today I think I am tired.