Monthly Archives: July 2011

Work Update: Summer Sessions with the Aswang

Cristina Victor, an artist friend of mine, drew this incredible aswang a year or two ago, in response to one of poems.

*The Aswang Manuscript

The aswang manuscript is undergoing some radical revision.

The manuscript is organized by the different creatures the aswang embodies:

1.) Weredog

2.) Vampira

3.) Viscera Sucker

4.) Witch

5.) Manananggal

I’ve revisited a number of poems to play with form.  I want the form to reflect the changing, elusive creatures of the aswang, which means working with the fragment and the image even more.  For a long while, I felt tied to the linear narrative of the aswang and her mother, even when it wasn’t working.  I’ve cut a bunch of lines and poems, which was liberating.  I am also letting go or saving some of the world’s fair poems I’ve written.  They just don’t fit right now.

When I sent my manuscript to friends and other poets, the question of my body came up.  Where was it?

I’m interweaving the difficult poems I wrote in Chris Abani’s workshop last spring with the aswang poems I already had.  Poems of trauma, colonization, violence among families and women, violence committed against the body, the Filipina brown body.  Poems of girlhood, motherhood and daughterhood.  Some in persona, a few not.  For a while, I’ve kept these separate, but it’s fascinating to see them in dialogue.  I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with organizing the manuscript.

During VONA, I spoke with Elmaz Abinader about her thoughts on this project.  She suggested playing with the performance of it, which speaks to the persona nature of the project.

This fall, I plan to stage a section of the aswang poems  in conjunction with UC Riverside’s Golden Mean Theater Group this fall.  If you all know of any Pinay actors, let me know!

*Writings on Filipino Mythology

TAYO founder and fellow VONA attendee, Melissa Sipin and I have been in dialogue about editing an anthology of literature inspired by Filipino mythology.

We found this call for submissions on the PAWA blog, but we want to open it up to other genres, besides fiction, and we want Filipino writers from all over the diaspora to submit.  We’re inspired by the work of Barbara Jane Reyes, Aimee Nezuhukumatahil, Ninotchka Rosca, Noel Mariano, Oliver de la Paz, Maina Minahal, Aimee Suzara and more…

We want seasoned and emerging Filipino writers represented in the anthology (which we want in both print and online venues).

Is there something like this out there already?  Who are other Filipina/o writers who could fit into this project?

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Filed under aswang, writing process

Summer Slouch AKA I don’t want this blog to die…

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

I have been thinking about blogging a lot lately but thinking isn’t the same as doing. Still, here I am.

I want to talk about the past year in the EM-EFF-AY (OH-EM-GEE), my experience at the VONA Voices Workshop, the progress of the manuscript/s (plural maybe?), some projects/goals I am working towards (a YA book, an anthology on Asian American mythologies, fixing up a paper on Lynda Barry and J. Torres for the upcoming MLA Conference)…which I will write about soon.

For now, I leave you with this …

*An incredible manifesto by the fabulous Ching-In Chen on the Doveglion Press website (curated by the equally awesome Barbara Jane Reyes and Oscar Bermeo).  Read it!

And my ever-growing Summer 2011 Reading List:

*Names Above Houses by Oliver de la Paz  — I’m finally getting to Oliver’s first collection, and falling in love with Fidelito, a boy who longs to fly.

*Steady, My Gaze by Marie-Elizabeth Mali — who will be on The Blood-Jet next Tuesday!  I’m excited to talk with her about her first book.

*Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories From The United States and Latin America edited by Robert Shapard, James Thomas and Ray Gonzalez — I just read the first story, “White Girl” by Luis Alberto Urrea; explosive, haunting, and I wish it were longer!

*Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor —  I love witches!  And I get so excited about writers of color who write “genre” fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi.  This YA books is by and about a young Nigerian girl with powers.  Check out this list by Adriel Luis who compiled “The Ultimate 21st Century Guide People of Color List” on Colorlines Magazine.

*and one more (a guilty read)…Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin — Because I loved the show on HBO so much, I needed to find out what happened next!  And then I found out there are 4-5 thickass, 1,000 page books that follow. I don’t know if I should keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

What are YOU reading this summer?

oh, and p.s. I have a poem, “Litany for Silence,” on the Splinter Generation website.  If you wish, please read.

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Filed under currently reading, summer, YA

July Readings!

Sorry for the non-updates!  I’ve been catching up on reading, writing, and radio-ing.

But, I have two upcoming events!

1.) I’ll be reading at the Arlington Public Library for Inlandia Institute’s online journal, Inlandia: A Literary Journey this Saturday, July 16th at 1-4 pm. (Check the flyer below for more information.)

2.) On Thursday, July 21st at 7pm, The Splinter Generation will be hosting a reading at Avenue 50 Studios in Highland Park. The Ladies of Splinter will feature female poets Lisa Cheby, Rachelle Cruz, Lisa McCool-Grime, and Magdalawit Makonnen along with live music from L.A. band Fort King, and Latin rock and funk from DJ Jose Galvan from Indie 103.1. There will also be free munchies and cheap booze for purchase.

The Ladies of Splinter
Featuring Lisa Cheby, Rachelle Cruz, Lisa McCool-Grime, and Magdalawit Makonnen
Thursday, July 21st @ 7pm
Avenue 50 Studio
131 N. Avenue 50, Highland Park
$7 general

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Filed under los angeles, readings