Seriously, I think it’s important to ask: how do we as authors experience the book, regard and engage the experience of the book as this thing, body we’ve created, that goes out of our brains and private creative spaces, and into the world?
I am thinking about this now, as I continue to discuss Poeta en San Francisco in classrooms, with students coming into poetry, or coming into critically thinking about their own Filipino American/”ethnic” American/”other” American identities. At first I feared the discussions would be stale because the book is “old.” But the discussions are totally not stale. The book itself, the poetry in it is not stale. I am pleased and relieved this is the case, and I am making all kinds of revelations that I thought should have been obvious, but perhaps aren’t really so much.
From 03/23/2009, stuff I’ve been thinking about and talking about for a while now:
[November 9, 1948: Gotham Book Mart, NY.]
Can you find the Filipino in this picture? Look harder. He’s not quite blended into the background, back against the back wall. That’s our kababayan, Jose Garcia Villa, the Doveglion, model minority among the literati/culturati, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Marianne Moore, WH Auden, et al.
Not to be denigrating, of course, but rather, empathetic, compassionate. I am a big fan of the Doveglion, or of the poet who comes from Doveglion, the “strange country with no boundaries,” the country “that moves to follow fire.” I don’t know what he thought of being Dame Edith Sitwell’s exotic “magic iguana.” Then again, I also don’t know what it’s like to be published by James Laughlin on New Directions.
I’ve just finished proofing the pdf’s of chapbook #1, Easter Sunday. Carrie Hunter of Ypolita Press and I have gone over some really awesome cover art, so just you wait.
I’ve just updated my acknowledgments page for chapbook #2, Cherry, and submitted this to Brenda Iijima of Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, so just you wait (again).
I have three poems — “Accessories,” “Corpse Eater,” and “Worry” — forthcoming in Eleven Eleven.
I am reading/speaking at two different places next week: Los Medanos College on Wednesday afternoon, and Manilatown on Saturday.