As Calyx Nears Its 33rd Birthday (in May), Self Asks Once Again: What Is a Landscape?

A few years ago, Calyx Press, whose editorial board self fondly refers to as her “second mothers,” was seemingly at death’s door. They had struggled bravely for many years, but funds were bleeding out. Small press publishing, as loyal blog readers do not need to be told, is an exhausting business. Profits are slim or non-existent, and the publishers rely on the loyalty of a small group of supporters and volunteers. In the year 2003, there were only funds enough to publish one book. And that book, the collective decided, was to be a collection of writings by Filipinas, edited by self and the poet Virginia Cerenio.

Since Calyx is in need of yet another shot in the arm, self would like to quote a few excerpts from the anthology Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas. Because of Calyx’s editorial policy, this and others in its catalogue will remain in print as long as there is a Calyx. That single stipulation in self’s author’s contract was worth any number of royalty checks.

First, excerpts from just a few of the many laudatory reviews the anthology has received.

“For these authors… the meaning in their lives and writing involves a state of mind that a Filipina sustains, more than place – specific birth or residency.” – Bloomsbury Review

“It is very rare for me to read a book that resonates so close to my entire being…. Going Home is beautifully crafted, not just a collection … writings like these not only serve as food for our souls, but provide insight into the human consequences of dislocation and dispossession.” – Multicultural Review

“…offers a captivating range of the styles, forms, and concerns which emerge through the disasporic experience … a powerful collection … a dynamic range of voices.… The remarkable achievement of this anthology is the sense of intimacy maintained despite the radical difference and distances which mark the Filipina diaspora.” – Melus“It is very rare for me to read a book that resonates so close to my entire being…. Going Home is beautifully crafted, not just a collection … writings like these not only serve as food for our souls, but provide insight into the human consequences of dislocation and dispossession.” – Multicultural Review

  • * * *

Maiana Minahal: Tired

    Not demon nor god
    just my tired father
    who snaps off the useless bulb
    burning above me.
    Home from another night shift
    at the machine shop,
    grimy at midnight,
    he finds me
    half asleep,
    face down in a book, tired
    from trying to cram
    too much in one night.
    Too young, he thinks,
    to work so hard.
    But he wants me to work hard
    and ace this American country.
    His footsteps fade away
    as I try to shake off sleep
    to tell him,
    no American dream drives me,
    but fear,
    fear of failing to conquer words
    I don’t
    understand.

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