Invocation to Daughters

Invocation to Daughters is City Lights Spotlight No. 16, forthcoming in November 2017!

About the book, from my author questionnaire:

What inspired you to write this book? How long did it take you?

I kept thinking about news stories of these young Filipino women and girls, who had suffered terrible, violent fates, usually due to the workings of a close male body — spouse, father, lover, employer. So then, these Filipinas’ violent fates, due to the workings of patriarchy. Did I have anything in common with them? This one took me a couple of years of writing every day, using a pencil and notebook, and combing through social media and news media. It started as a long poem in which every other line was non-English, a feminist (womanist?) incantation and creation (and destruction) story.

Imagine talking to a prospective reader about your book: How would you describe it? For whom was the book written? Who would enjoy it? What features make your book unique?

These poems are prayers, psalms, and odes for Filipino girls and women, pushed or pushing themselves to the center, not subsumed into others’ categories, not on the periphery or erased from the conversation, but trying to make sense of their own situations, trying to hold on to their humanity as others are constantly taking it from them.

Filipina Americans rarely get to determine or direct the content or tone of the conversation, and are never the center of the conversation, unless the conversation is about their use, appeal, and availability to fulfill the requests and needs of others with more power. Filipina Americans are rarely spoken to directly, as a primary literary audience, and as people with cultural or political cache such that their own perspectives and opinions matter enough to be written to directly.

Who do I think would enjoy it? Young Filipino Americans, young Filipinas, young women of color who have never seen themselves, their lives, their mothers’ lives, represented with directness and depth, in literary verse, in the languages of the community. Young Filipino Americans, young Filipinas, young women of color who want to read poetry that is “woke.”

Some poems from Invocation to Daughters are published online:

Prairie Schooner

The Margins

Hinchas de Poesia

Delirious Hem

Puñeta: Pilipinx Political Poetry

Some poems from Invocation to Daughters can also be found in the following print publications: Prairie Schooner, Raven Chronicles, South Dakota Review, Vector Press, and in the anthologies IMANIMAN: Gloria Anzaldúa Anthology, and Golden State 2017: The Best New Writing from California.