We just received our contributors’ copies of BorderSenses in the mail yesterday evening. Many thanks to poetry editor and fellow Pinay poet Sasha Pimentel Chacón for including one of my “We, Spoken Here” poems. She’s also included one of Oscar‘s “We, Spoken Here” poems. From the issue’s introduction:

Manila-born Barbara Jane Reyes writes an answer to Ecuador-born husband Oscar Bermeo in two “We, Spoken Here” segments. Both Oakland writers balance their own careers with teaching and literary commitments.

Oscar has just blogged about the origins of the “We” poems being Nathaniel Mackey’s de Young Museum reading and performance with Hafez Modirzadeh last year. Not only was Mackey talking about a we; he and Modirzadeh were performing in collaboration, enacting or demonstrating a we. I wrote a whole bunch of “We” poems after hearing Mackey discuss that poetic we, why he was more comfortable with a “we” versus a poetic I. Something totally fell into place there, especially being Filipino and all, regarding the much prized cultural value of pakikisama. Think Mr. Spock: the good of the many outweighs the good of the one.

And as if the poetic we were a contagion, I recall now Maile Arvin reading a “We” poem at last year’s APAture, and referencing Oscar’s “We” poem at the time. I am glad for all of this mutual inspiration, writing and responding to others’ writing. Maybe I’m not through with the “We” poem just yet. It’d be nice to write my next book entirely populated with “We.”

Back to BorderSenses. The list of poets is formidable, and includes fellow Flip poets Oliver de la Paz and Mike Maniquiz. Thank you again to Sasha for this.


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