Category Archives: poets i love

Summer 2015 Reading List


Hello! It’s a good time to update with a summer reading challenge.

From Oliver de la Paz:

Summer Reading Challenge Rules:

1) Pick 15 books that you would like to finish this summer–any genre, any size. This list doesn’t have to be at 15 right from the start. It will grow as the summer continues.

2) Of the 15 books, designate 3 that you recommend to co-participants. (After you’ve read them, of course).

3) Of the 15 books, 3 of the books must be from recommendations by other participants.

4) Post your 15 book list somewhere with a link so that co-participants can link you on their webpages, tumblr pages, or blogs.

5) Hold yourself accountable by posting commentary about a book you’ve just read. Commentary can also take the form of something creative or artistic.

6) The Challenge Ends August 31st. Have fun.

My list so far:

1.) How Formal? by Stephanie Hammer (poetry) (& her novel, The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior)

2.) Octavia’s Brood, edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown (POC sci-fi anthology)

3.) [insert boy] by Danez Smith (poetry)

4.Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (YA novel)

5.) Catalog of Unabased Gratitude by Ross Gay (poetry)

6.) Mad Honey Symposium by Sally Wen Mao (poetry)

7.) I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest (YA novel)

8.) In the Country by Mia Alvar (fiction)

9.) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (graphic novel)

10.) Under a Painted Sky by Stacy Lee (YA novel)

11.) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA novel)

12.) Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows by Eugenia Leigh (poetry)

13.) Silent Anatomies by Monica Ong (poetry)

14.) Uzumaki by Junji Ito (horror manga)

15.) The Living by Matt de la Peña (YA novel)

The stats:

13/16 Writers/Editors of Color

10/16 Women Writers/Editors

6 Poetry collections

5 Novels (4 YA; 1 Adult)

2 Graphic novels

1 Anthology

Back-up Titles:

1.) Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (nonfiction)

2.) Dietland by Sarai Walker (fiction)

3.) The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (fiction)

4.)Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (graphic novel)

5.) Sensation Comics: Wonder Woman (graphic novel)

6.) I Kill Giants by Ken Niimura (graphic novel)

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[PANK] Blog Interview

I wanted to share it here.

Happy Butternut Squash Soup Season!

oh, and P.S. Thinking more about Imelda, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Tamayo and more as I write this essay for Barbara Jane Reyes’ guest edited issue of The Bakery.

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Barbara Jane Reyes at USC tomorrow, October 8th!

I know I haven’t been updating much lately.  School has been crazy (in a good way)!  I’ll be updating soon re: MFA stories but for now, I wanted to share this event featuring poet Barbara Jane Reyes.  Hope to see you there!

TAYO Reading | Diwata: A Reading with Barbara Jane Reyes

October 5 · 8:00pm – 9:00pm

Location USC Doheny Library, Intellectual Commons (RM 233, 2nd Floor)

3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA

Created By

More Info
Come join us for a night of poetry! Poet Barbara Jane Reyes, the author of Diwata, will be presenting her book of poems at the University of Southern California, Doheny Memorial Library in the Intellectual Commons (Room 233, 2nd Floor).

Support your local Filipino poets and come mingle with TAYO and other literary/artistic-minded people. Barbara will be selling her poetry book and TAYO will also be selling its 2nd issue at this e…vent.

Parking $8 (PSX & PSD)
Gate 3 Entrance on Figueroa Blvd. and McCarthy Way

Ask attendant for walking directions to Doheny Library.


About Barbara Jane Reyes:

Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010). She was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books, 2003) and Poeta en San Francisco (Tinfish Press, 2005), which received the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets.

Her chapbooks, Easter Sunday (2008), Cherry (2008), and West Oakland Sutra for the AK-47 Shooter at 3:00 AM and other Oakland poems (2008) are published by Ypolita Press, Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, and Deep Oakland Editions, respectively. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Asian Pacific American Journal, Chain, Interlope, Kartika Review, Lantern Review, Latino Poetry Review, New American Writing, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics, among others.

She received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies at U.C. Berkeley and her M.F.A. at San Francisco State University. She has taught Creative Writing at Mills College, and Philippine Studies at University of San Francisco. She lives with her husband, poet Oscar Bermeo, in Oakland, where she is co-editor of Doveglion Press.


About TAYO Literary Magazine:

TAYO is the Tagalog word for “We” or “Us” and “To Stand Up.”

TAYO Literary Magazine is geared towards one purpose: bringing the Filipino-American community together through the arts. We empower Filipino-Americans through creative forms of expression, such as poetry, essays, photography, paintings and drawings.

Together, we capture the complexity of our culture and community.

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Love in 500 Years

From “TO BE READ IN 500 YEARS is poet Albert Goldbarth’s time capsule for a future that none of us can now imagine—a world without mailboxes, without sexual reproduction, without oil or tillable soil, without the capacity to understand music or poetry or “love love love love crazy love.” Goldbarth’s smart and nostalgic collection of poems, spoken from that future’s distant past, reminds us of everything we have to lose.”

How Simile Works
by Albert Goldbarth

The drizzle-slicked cobblestone alleys
of some city;
and the brickwork back
of the lumbering Galapagos tortoise
they’d set me astride, at the “petting zoo”….

The taste of our squabble still in my mouth
the next day;
and the brackish puddles sectioning
the street one morning after a storm….

So poetry configures its comparisons.

My wife and I have been arguing; now
I’m telling her a childhood reminiscence,
stroking her back, her naked back that was
the particles in the heart of a star and will be
again, and is hers, and is like nothing
else, and is like the components of everything.


Current poem I’m in love with.  This book is on my wishlist.


Speaking of futuristic love, last Wednesday, I attended a Janelle Monae concert at Royce Hall at UCLA for FREE, thanks to Joan Rose!  I’d listened to her album quite often last year, but this was my first time seeing her live.   I admire her consistency in persona as Cindy Mayweather, a “cybergirl without a face, a heart or a mind.”  From her unblinking robotic gaze to her stage-dive into the audience, she’s captured this character, without revealing the strings or the puppetmaster (her “real” human self).  I hear she always stage-dives, wears the same 50s’ inspired outfit: black bowtie, bouffanted hair, white jacket, flings said jacket into the audience and plays the same songs from her most recent album, which really shows her commitment to that persona, the representation of the robotic, especially shown through performance.  But how does a robot make me feel so ALIVE?  Watching her live resonated with me, as I continue to write persona poems in the aswang.  Some questions I ask myself: How far can I go with the aswang’s voice?  How commited am I to her experience, and well-being?

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A Novel Idea & the Promoting Self

Last Monday night, a few EV Fellows got together to practice for our upcoming reading this Sunday at the Hotel Cafe for the Tongue and Groove series.

I was the only poet present that rehearsal night. However, while listening to Marissa talk in both frustration and awe about the writing process for her novel (she started writing “organically” as David Francis would say.  As in, random scenes, and seeing where they go), I realized that I could relate.

I’m also understanding that I have a story arc for the aswang.  I’ve been writing from different locations (Manila, St. Louis, her barrio), and seeing how Ascela reacts, who she meets, what situations she gets into.  Maybe the author evenings with fiction writers aren’t useless for poets, after all…


I will never forget what poet Eloise Klein Healy said, at an author evening a few months ago.  She says to cultivate the multiple selves, even though it may be a challenge.  Of course, there is always the writing self, but remember the self that sends off the submissions to journals, the self that performs their work, the self that PROMOTES.

I will admit, I have a lot of trouble doing this for myself.  I’m learning, and this blog helps!  But I like what the PEN ED Adam Somers says, be the indie band!  With books in a box in the trunk of your car (or in your canvas bag on the Big Blue Bus).

With that long-winded preface, I have two readings this weekend, AND a new radio show!

*Saturday, May 9 , 2009 at the Arroyo Seco Library for the Lummis Day Festival.

*Sunday, May 10, 2009 at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood for the Tongue and Groove series.

*“The Blood-Jet Writing Hour” – Next Thursday, May 14 at 10 am PST.  My first ever episode with poet Barbara Jane Reyes.

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I never met Al Robles

but I remember finding his book of poems “Rappin’ with 10,000 Carabaos in the Dark” at the Esther Raushenbush Library, Sarah Lawrence College.

It was a late December night during conference week.  Outside, snow fell, I loosened the scarf around my neck as I entered one of the study rooms lit by fluorescence.  In Bronxville, NY, I couldn’t be further away from San Francisco, the city where I was born.  The city my family immigrated to in the 1970s. The city of the Ethnic Studies demands made by SF State students.  The city where the youth and elderly fought for housing rights for manongs at the International Hotel (or the I-Hotel).

Although my family was around during the fight for Manilatown, I knew nothing about this history.  Al Robles’ poems immediately brought me to Kearny Street, where the manongs reminisced over smoke, to the late-night blues of the Fillmore.  He evokes the names of manongs, his compadres, the I-Hotel, in poems.  Sometimes, walking through SoMa, I think I see them, the veteranos, men who live in the weekly hotels nearby, who play chess while tourists pass by.  Pigeons cluck at their feet.

Prompted by Robles’ work, I hosted a viewing at Sarah Lawrence of the film “The Fall of the I-Hotel,” which chronicles the struggle for housing rights and the historical maintenence of Manilatown, San Francisco.  I read a few of Robles’ poems.  Afterwards, I was moved to tears by the resistance of Filipino people, people-of-color and young people  for the I-Hotel, but I was mostly saddened by the fact that I had never known this history prior to college.

Although I unfortunately never had the chance to meet Al Robles, I’ve been ultimately influenced and continue to be moved by his work.  RIP, Uncle.


A few links for more info:

The Inspiration of Al Robles

Barbara Jane Reyes wrote a few poems for him:


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