#NationalPoetryMonth #APIA #Poetry Day 2: Amanda Ngoho Reavey

This month, I shall be posting one APIA poet (or book) recommendation per day, so that all of you who are asking me what to read will know what to read.

Image result for "amanda ngoho reavey" marilyn

Today’s recommendation is Amanda Ngoho Reavey, whose Marilyn is a challenging and very fulfilling read. How does one form identity, is a major question in Asian American Literature. How does one reclaim an identity when a trail of official documents documents the subtraction of that identity. Reavey’s poems are tesserae, mosaic tiles, in which we see how even one missing piece skews the whole picture, or even, how arranged just ever so slightly different skews an entire picture as well. Beautiful work.

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National Poetry Month APIA Poets:

04/01 Rajiv Mohabir

04/02 Amanda Ngoho Reavey

#NationalPoetryMonth #APIA #Poetry Day 1: Rajiv Mohabir

This month, I shall be posting one APIA poet (or book) recommendation per day, so that all of you who are asking me what to read will know what to read.

Image result for rajiv mohabir cowherds son

Today’s recommendation is Rajiv Mohabir. I started teaching his “chutney” poems in my Asian American Literature class at SFSU. I then taught his book, The Cowherd’s Son, in MFA seminar at USF. What I love about Mohabir’s poetry might sound obvious. His multilingualism. More acutely, his unapologetic multilingualism, addressing in intersection queerness, caste, mythology, oral tradition, and diasporic history.

OK! 29 more APIA poetry recommendations to go.

You’re welcome.

For Everyone Who’s Asking Me for Fil Am and Fil Diasporic Lit, Who’s Asking Me for my Syllabi, This List of 30 Books is for You

As ever, community folks are asking me for Filipino Lit titles, and telling me they wish they could take my classes because they don’t know what/who is out there. So I thought I would compile this list of the books I have taught, or currently teach for my Filipino and Pinay Literature classes for over the past decade.

  1. Alvar, Mia. In the Country.
  2. Barry, Lynda. One! Hundred! Demons!
  3. Bayani, Jason. Amulet.
  4. Bobis, Merlinda. Banana Heart Summer.
  5. Bobis, Merlinda. Cantata of the Woman Warrior Daragang Magayon.
  6. Brainard, Cecilia, ed. Growing Up Filipino II.
  7. Bulosan, Carlos. America is in the Heart.
  8. Carbó, Nick, ed. Returning a Borrowed Tongue.
  9. Carbó, Nick and Eileen Tabios, eds. Babaylan.
  10. de la Paz, Oliver. Names Above Houses.
  11. Galang, M. Evelina. One Tribe.
  12. Hagedorn, Jessica. Danger and Beauty.
  13. Hagedorn, Jessica. Dogeaters.
  14. Joaquin, Nick. The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic.
  15. Kelly, Erin Entrada. The Land of Forgotten Girls.
  16. Linmark, R. Zamora. Leche.
  17. Lo, Cheena Marie. A Series of Un/Natural Disasters.
  18. Mabanglo, Elynia S. Invitation of the Imperialist.
  19. Mapa, Lorina. Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me.
  20. Monrayo, Angeles. Tomorrow’s Memories.
  21. Nolledo, Wilfrido D. But for the Lovers.
  22. Panlilio, Yay. The Crucible: An Autobiography of Colonel Yay.
  23. Poblete, Pati. The Oracles.
  24. Realuyo, Bino. The Gods We Worship Live Next Door.
  25. Reavey, Amanda Ngoho. Marilyn.
  26. Reyes, Barbara Jane. To Love as Aswang.
  27. Reyes, Barbara Jane. Invocation to Daughters.
  28. Sapigao, Janice Lobo. microchips for millions.
  29. Suzara, Aimee. Souvenir.
  30. Tenorio, Lysley. Monstress.
  31. Villanueva, Marianne. Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila.
  32. Wilson, Ronaldo. Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man.

So, this does not count the numerous books I have excerpted, such as Carlos Bulosan, The Laughter of My Father and On Becoming Filipino, or the literary works available in online journals. What this is is a good starting point. Next semester, for Pinay Lit class, I will have new titles (TBA) on my syllabus. I do switch them out or cycle books through. My decision making is based on reader/student response, and also, my interest level. Of course, most important is the availability of books, if they are still in print, or if they are cost prohibitive.

I will also be proposing another course/developing a new curriculum for Filipino American Literature in the SF Bay Area. I haven’t started yet, but it’s on my radar to submit next semester for a 2019 start.

So there you go. Here are 30+ Filipino authored books to go read. Sige na.

#allpinayeverything 2: micro-reviews of 2016-2018 full length pinay and pinxy authored works

IN THE COUNTRY by Mia Alvar. In these stories, economic inequities and political repressions drive a diaspora of workers and asylum-seekers. Migrant workers and expats plot their own personal revolts. Sally Rivas in “The Miracle Worker” calls them little mutinies. They’re a repudiation of a role Alvar’s characters are relegated to or have passively assumed. Alvar’s stories deliver insight into the issues of immigration, family, community, and country, of how the past intersects with the present, and how the political is often at the root of our little mutinies. (Reviewed by Donna Miscolta. Read the full review at https://www.hypertextmag.com/review-in-the-country-by-mia-alvar/.)

LOLAS’ HOUSE: FILIPINO WOMEN LIVING WITH WAR by M. Evelina Galang. There is a language of rape. The words differ depending on who’s speaking. There are the words used by the perpetrators. There are the words by the deniers and the words by the blamers. There are the words by the victims when they can manage to speak them. While all these words are part of the stories in M. Evelina Galang’s Lolas’ House: Filipino Women Living With War, it is the victims’ words that Galang rightly honors, giving them the pages they deserve. (Reviewed by Donna Miscolta. Read the full review at http://www.seattlereviewofbooks.com/reviews/the-language-of-justice/.)

BENEDICTA TAKES WING by Veronica Montes. When I read these stories, I am immediately immersed, falling into the lives, hearts and minds of the characters as I do when I am entranced by such stunning storytellers as Isabelle Allende, Marlon James, Lois Ann Yamanaka, and Jessica Hagedorn. Montes’ stories are a profound collection that moves us fluidly among and beyond physical places, myth, real and dream time. Each story feels like a mantra bringing us back to center, in longing and belonging, reminding us how we lose and find each other in the world. Montes’ voice is our collective voice, her characters are each of us in our abundant beauty and flaws. (Reviewed by Arlene Biala.)

If you would like to contribute a micro-review, please do so here. Please remember: Full length Pinay and Pinxy authored works, published in 2016-2018. Four to five sentences please. Salamat!

#allpinayeverything: micro-reviews of 2016-2017 full length pinay and pinxy authored works

“Leona and Castora,” by Katrina Pallon (2014).

So, in an effort to build upon the crowd sourced listing I’ve been doing, I open up this space to these Pinay and Pinxy micro-reviews. Here are the first four responses:

BLOOD: COLLECTED STORIES by Noelle Q. de Jesus. I’m only a handful of stories into this collection, but already I feel profoundly welcome. The confident, clear-sighted prose of de Jesus guides us deeply into the lives of her characters who are (thus far) grappling with their cross-cultural existence as they quietly, intensely search for pieces of home in landscapes grown increasingly strange. Skimming through to get a feel for the rest of the book, I see there’s much to look forward to: stories of marriages, pregnancy, children, families. Familiar subjects, to be sure, but not common, surely not in the hands of this writer. (Reviewed by Veronica Montes)

LAND OF FORGOTTEN GIRLS by Erin Entrada Kelly: An engrossing story of sisterhood, community, and stories–the ones we tell and the ones we keep to ourselves. Kelly’s characters are more than meets the eye, asking us to confront our deepest fears with compassion. Sol’s growth is organically brilliant as she comes to learn that the stories of those around her are just as important as the ones she grew up with and make up on her own. Stories are here for our survival in times of abuse and loss or in the brave, hidden spaces we carve out. They shape who we are and who we want to become. (Reviewed by Princess Fernandez)

INVOCATION TO DAUGHTERS by Barbara Jane Reyes: I’ve been reading Barbara Jane Reyes’ poems since she was a young poet self-publishing her poetry through the publishing format of Xerox and the publishing house Kinko’s. As of this writing, my favorite poem of hers is “THE DAY,” which is featured in her new book Invocation to Daughters. I understand some folks have called it “angry.” It is angry. But “THE DAY,” a poem about the last day of her beloved father’s life, is set within this collection. So that it actually is reductive to summarize Reyes’ poems as (merely) angry. It would be more accurate to call it “Love”—which would explain why many of the poems are angry enough to strike back. For Love does not tolerate injustice. As Reyes notes in the book’s title poem: “Daughters, our world is beyond unkind”—an educated rather than embittered assessment. This book can both empower daughters but also hopefully educate those surrounding them. (Reviewed by Eileen R. Tabios)

LOVE IN A TIME OF BELLIGERENCE by Eileen R. Tabios. The Contents of Love In A Time of Belligerence are most inspiring. She revisits in the second section titled “From ‘The Ashbery Riff-Offs” John Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror,” a poem that inspired part of my PhD thesis. If you wish to follow Eileen Tabios, you will have to work hard to open up all the synapses of your brain; she escapes from any classification/calculation – improvised detection – instinctive deflection any reader has to protect him- herself, and is still there to hit, entertain, surprise, enchant, and escape. (Reviewed by Anny Ballardini)

If you would like to contribute a micro-review, please do so here. Please remember: Full length Pinay and Pinxy authored works, published in 2016-2017. Four to five sentences please. Salamat!