Poetry Saturday: Irene Suico Soriano

Met her at the reading put together by Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions (San Pedro, CA) in March.

Been reading her collection, Primates From an Archipelago: Poems (Rabbit Fool Press), off and on ever since. The back has blurbs from Melissa Roxas and Jennifer Tseng (both of whom self has never read; adding to the “To Read” pile!)

The book is divided into four sections: Scattered Islands, Reclamation, Scattered Cities, and Smog.

From the poem Months, for Napoleon Lustre:

I.

Essex said it perfect:
It is easier to be furious than yearning.
You belong to tribes of warriors and outlaws.
Many who are now dying or just waiting like you.
As I sit here by your bed looking at your sleeping body,
I wonder how long your fury can sustain you.

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Published 2017 by Rabbit Fool Press: http://www.rabbitfoolpress.com

Enthralling, powerful collection.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 15, 2018: Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission Street, San Francisco

A Benefit for the Inday Dolls:

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“Child Support Office” from FINGERPRINTS OF A HUNGER STRIKE, by Tony Robles

At the entrance was a very large security guard chatting with another man who referred to him as Dinnerplate. Having recently been employed as a security guard, I felt a connection with my uniformed brethren. “Excuse me . . . uh . . .  Dinnerplate,” I said. “Can you tell me where I can give my updated contact information?” He gave me a stern look. “My name is Officer Fortune,” he said, “William A. Fortune, and you will address me as such!” I looked at the tattoo on his neck. It read Dinnerplate in cursive, although he may have been better served had it read Thinnerplate. “OK,” I replied, heading to the customer service windows where I was told — in so many words — to sit down, shut up, and wait my turn like a good boy . . .

Place in the World 4: Books

Had we but world enough and time . . .

— Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”

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In Honor of Independent Bookstore Day, 28 April 2018: Novelist Lillian Howan Lists Her Favorite Books

Lillian Howan is the author of the recently published novel, The Charm Buyers. (University of Hawai’i Press, 2017).  She spent her early childhood in Tahiti and later graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. She is the editor of Wakako Yamauchi’s collection, Rosebud and Other Stories (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011). Her writings have been published in the Asian American Literary Review, Café Irreal, Calyx, New England Review, Vice Versa, and the anthologies Ms Aligned 2 and Under Western Eyes. Lillian will be reading as part of the Ms. Aligned 2 panel at the Hawai’i Book and Music Festival on Sunday, May 6, at 11 am.Da22aPwU0AEXI99About her list, Lillian says:

  • This list of my recommended books is incomplete in the interest of space – I apologize for any omissions! I’d gladly send a list of 500 recommended books by women authors and poets.
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Lillian Howan, Author of The Charm Buyers

FICTION

Green Island, Shawna Yang Ryan
Home, Marilynne Robinson
Island of Shattered Dreams, Chantal Spitz
Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich

Steelies and Other Endangered Species, Rebecca Lawton
Swimming in Hong Kong, Stephanie Han
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, Lydia Davis
The Complete Stories, Clarice Lispector
The Country of the Pointed Firs,
Sarah Orne Jewett
The Lost Language, Marianne Villanueva
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys (the 2016 edition features an excellent introduction by Edwidge Danticat)
Women Without Men,
Shahrnush Parsipur

GRAPHIC NOVEL

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir, Thi Bui

POETRY

Conjugated Visits, Diane Kirsten Martin
Dream City, Karen Carissimo
Invisible Gifts, Maw Shein Win
Power Made Us Swoon, Brynn Saito
She Had Some Horses, Joy Harjo
The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, Lucille Clifton
The Complete Poems, Anne Sexton
The Darkened Temple, Mari L’Esperance
This House, My Bones, Elmaz Abinader

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

In Honor of Independent Bookstore Day, Saturday, 28 April 2018: LUISA IGLORIA PICKS SOME GOOD ONES

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Luisa Igloria, Poet

Since self is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Mendocino Art Center, this week she’s been writing up a storm (also sending out her work) and adding to her reading list with regular drop-ins to one of the best bookstores in the world: Gallery  Bookshop in Mendocino. Yelp gives them five stars!

She also asked two fabulous writers if they could share their list of Recommended Books with her, and she was so happy when they agreed. (Even if your local indie doesn’t carry the titles, they can always order them. In most cases, they’ll take an average of three or four days to get to the bookstore)

First up, Luisa Igloria

Luisa A. Igloria is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. Her latest works include the collection The Buddha Wonders If She Is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2018), the chapbooks Haori (Tea & Tattered Pages Press, 2017), Check & Balance (Moria Press/Locofo Chaps, 2017), and Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015). Her collection Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser was selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize and published by Utah State University Press. Her other collections are: Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press). She teaches on the faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University, which she directed from 2009-2015. Her website is www.luisaigloria.com

Luisa’s Poetry Recommendations:

  • Afterland, Mai Der Vang
  • Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar
  • Carpathia, Cecilia Woloch
  • Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Ross Gay
  • Chord, Rick Barot
  • Eye Level, Jenny Xie
  • Glasshouses, Lighthouses, Tung-hui Hu
  • Khaty Xiong, Poor Anima, Khaty Xiong
  • Living Quarters, Adrienne Su
  • Night Sky With Exit Wounds, Ocean Vuong
  • Some Say the Lark, Jennifer Chang
  • Stereo. Island. Mosaic., Vincent Toro
  • Registers of Illuminated Villages, Tarfia Faizullah
  • The Second O of Sorrow, Sean Thomas Dougherty
  • When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities, Chen Chen
  • Whereas, Layli Long Soldier

Luisa’s Fiction Recommendations:

  • A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki
  • America is Not the Heart, Elaine Castillo
  • Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  • But For the Lovers, Wilfrido Nolledo
  • Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  • Mayor of the Roses, Marianne Villanueva
  • Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
  • Smaller and Smaller Circles, F.H. Batacan
  • The Last Mistress of Jose Rizal, Brian Roley
  • The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • The Vagrants, Yiyun Li
  • Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro
  • To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  • Valiant Gentlemen, Sabina Murray

Luisa’s Nonfiction/Hybrid Recommendations:

  • 100 Demons, Lynda Barry
  • America is in the Heart, Carlos Bulosan
  • Blind Spot, Teju Cole
  • Echolalia in Script, Sam Roxas-Chua 姚
  • Kilometer Zero, Wilfredo Pascual, Jr.
  • On Imagination, Mary Ruefle
  • Silver Road, Kazim Ali
  • The Dark Interval, Rainer Maria Rilke
  • The Kepel Fruit, Tung-hui Hu
  • Too Much and Not the Mood, Durga Chew-Bose
  • Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston

Self doesn’t know about you, but she’s itchy to get at more than a few of these books!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Poetry Friday: Irene Suico Soriano

Excerpt from Balitaan

Maricris Sioson died on September 19, 1991, allegedly of hepatitis. Her body bore head injuries and stab wounds . . . She worked as an entertainer in Japan.

Could it be in 40 floors of windows, rooms
beds and kitchen sinks is where
you once laughed saying this arm will pay for
Dodoy’s next semester at school
this leg for Christena’s girl scout uniform.
Arms scrubbing bathrooms all day
legs walking endless streets in the afternoon
to find Ama’s particular herb
ANGAT SA BUHAY, ANGAT SA BUHAY
Life will get better, you would say.
It will all happen . . .
I would add at once, Once we return!
and we would both laugh.

Irene Suico Soriano was born in Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines. At eleven years of age, she and her mother immigrated to Los Angeles, California. Her childhood was spent soaking in the neighborhoods of pre-gentrified Downtown LA, East Hollywood, Rampart/Temple, Melrose, and the Wiltshire/Vermont corridor.

Balitaan is from the collection Primates from an Archipelago (Rabbits Fool Press, 2017)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: HAPPY

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is HAPPY. Self started looking through her archives and decided on a set of pictures she took during the most recent AWP conference, a month ago, in Tampa.

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2018 AWP Bookfair, Tampa, FL

She mostly hung out at the Bookfair. One of the highlights of her trip was getting to meet the editors of the Bellingham Review! They published her (dystopian fantasy) story “Ice” in their annual on-line issue, up now. It stays up till November.

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SO HAPPY to meet the Editors of the Bellingham Review at the AWP 2018 Bookfair!

Thank you for making self so HAPPY, Bellingham Review!

Stay tuned.

 

 

I’d Rather Be . . . In a Bookstore

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Linda Nietes greeting a customer at the bookshop she owns, Philippine Expressions (Inside a 1920s building, 479 W. Sixth St., San Pedro, CA). Linda is 81 years old. She has been running bookstores all her life.

Last Saturday, 17 March, International Woman’s Day, Linda Nietes invited six Filipina authors to Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro to read from their work. The authors were: poets Angela Narciso Torres and Irene Suico Soriano, and prose writers Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, Tessie Jayme, and self. The reading was held in the beautiful lobby of a 1920s-era building on 479 W. Sixth Street:

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Here’s son with Linda before the reading:

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Beautiful Event. Self was honored to be a part of it.

Here’s Linda, in her own words, about why she does what she does:

  • It is a ministry, an advocacy, a labor of love, and the results cannot be counted in dollars and cents. It is fulfilling only to the person who accepts the responsibility of creating a greater awareness and a higher consciousness among members of our community. I have found the field, planted an orchard. Saplings are growing and some have already grown and are blooming and even fruiting. Lucky will be the generation that will just pick the fruits of my labor, but I do not mind that because I understand what the role of a trailblazer is! You blaze the trail so that people will find their way. I was inspired by a quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Friday: San Francisco Native Son, Tony Robles

From Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike, by Tony Robles (San Francisco: Ithuriel’s Spear, 2017):

An Excerpt from Proud

City of St. Francis
I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you

And don’t worry,
I don’t hold that
Eviction against you

But it did come
As a surprise,
All wrapped in a
Gauze colored envelope

Just the way
It goes, I guess

I’d lived there
45 years, grew up
There, Mom’s died
There, at home,
Where she belonged

I got 60 days
To vacate

I’m proud
Of being loved
By you

And Mr. Fare Inspector,
I don’t got no ill feeling
Towards you for looking me
Up and down as though I
Were defective while you
Scrawled my life story on
That ticket you wrote me,
Legible only to a doctor or
Pharmacist

I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you

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Tony Robles’s Love/Hate Book About San Francisco Is Beautiful and Tragic

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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