Yeah, I am putting this out there now, as a way to keep myself accountable.
I know that anthology editors I know, have advised me that editing anthologies is a lot of politics and hurt feelings.
I know also, that anthology is a loaded conversation, about inclusion and community. Two things about which I am not eager, and perhaps even loathe to be pulled into conversation. See above, regarding politics and hurt feelings.
Still, I am thinking there is still good reason to think about editing new anthologies, especially of Filipino and/or Filipino American, and/or Pinay writing. Perhaps all poetry. Perhaps not. Perhaps specifically as a course reader for teaching Pinay Lit: how else to find in a single publication the following: Marjorie Evasco’s “The Writer and Her Roots,” and “The Other Voice: Reply to Anzaldua.” Estrella Alfon’s “Magnificence,” Gilda Cordero-Fernando’s “The Dust Monster,” Yay (Panlilio) Marking’s “My Filipino Mother,” Helen Rillera’s “The Filipina in Filipino Society,” Rashaan Alexis Meneses’s “Barbie’s Gotta Work,” Melissa Chadburn’s “Here We Are Becoming Champs,” and “The Throwaways,” Nice Rodriguez’s “G.I. Jane,” Catalina Cariaga’s “Excerpts from Bahala Na!” M. Evelina Galang’s “Deflowering the Sampaguita.” Marianne Villanueva’s “Overseas,” and “Opportunity.” Ninotchka Rosca’s “Sugar & Salt.” Melissa Sipin’s “Walang Hiya.” Selections of poems by Fatima Lim-Wilson, Joi Barrios, Elynia S. Mabanglo, Rachelle Cruz, Yael Villafranca, Gizelle Gajelonia, Aimee Suzara. Graphic narratives by Niki Escobar and Rina Ayuyang. Speculative fiction by Nikki Alfar, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz. And so on, so many others I have yet to read, be confounded by, to adore.
Outside of my Pinay Lit course, other anthology thoughts: I was talking to a fellow WOC poet this past weekend; I told her that through no fault of the previous editors of Fil Am Lit anthologies, I feel previous anthologies not quite “doing the job,” specific to my teaching. Let me restate and be perfectly clear. No fault of previous editors. Some time has passed since the last round of anthologies, and new voices have emerged (as I’ve partially enumerated above).
Also, as a poet, I am deeply interested in poetry with an acute sense of line and form, both very thoughtfully deployed. I am deeply interested in deliberate, distilled language — however the poet decides to handle line and form, whatever specific set of rules the poet has created, whatever register the poet has decided to use. Verbal, artful, “heightened” in “means” and “ends,” as the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics says. Or as Luis J. Rodriguez has said, that poetry is meant to be read and heard many times, that it is a special intense language, a very important way of using language.
So this is the harder part, the part clouded by inclusion and community and politics. And then, of course, is the question of publishers and distribution. So that’s many things, much potential crap, lots to think about. And I have to remember to be undeterred. But I am putting it out there because it is on my To Do List. And it needs to get done.