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:


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.


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

Enthralling, powerful collection.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Landing on Negros Island”

by Manila Critics Circle National Book Awardee for Poetry Emmanuel Torres:

Landing on Negros Island

Down there lies mock plenty: sunstruck
Vistas of cane, an air
Of pastoral repose, Amorsolo country
On hold for a landlord’s easel.
Loads of plump mangoes on a bullsled
With a village lovely aboard
Await the maestro’s touch.
Look how a woman with child afield
Hurries with the lunch
Of sacadas in a shade. The basket
She ferries across
(Dissembling rustic charm)
Could hide a .45
Tucked under fishballs, rice and barbecue.

There, by a limpid pool,
A holler of naked kids
Streaks by. There,
Under a sun hide and seeking
Behind clouds and high bamboo, wives
Spank laundry. Out of ear
Shot while a macho among the maidens
Spins a lure on his guitar,
A thing like driftwood,
A body half nude, battered beyond
Recall, stalls at a snag of river
Rush. Electric wire
Strangles a neck already broken. Cane
Stiffens at the scent of blood.

In the harvest sun of the smug, a rage of eyes
Glints like new sickle, no longer dimmed
By documents of dynastic greed, by moon
Marked titles casting an ancient spell
On those who must cut cane, and haul cane,
As did their forefathers between fiestas,
Toward a Cavalry of backbreak and bagasse.
Generations of tears have soured the succulence
Of every stalk, a long stalk raised
Against each peon child to scar him for life.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have landed
Of so many struck down by a hand
Signing papers. Even at noon, ghosts
With nothing to lose arise from vast estates.

    from The Smile on Smokey Mountain and Other Poems (Office of Research and Publications, Ateneo de Manila University)

Poetry, Poetry: A Reading in Boston, A Book Launch in New York

Aaah, so many poets, so little time. 

First up, Luisa Igloria, the author of nine books including Encanto (Anvil, 2004), In the Garden of the Three Islands (Moyer Bell/Asphodel, 1995), and Trill and Mordent (WordTech Editions, 2005), reads at the Barnes & Noble at Emerson College with fellow poet Eamon Wall, the author of four collections of poetry, Refuge at De Soto Bend (2004), The Crosses (2000), Iron Mountain Road (1997), and Dyckman-200th Street (1994), all published by Salmon Publishing in Ireland.

Details:  Barnes & Noble, 114 Boylston Street, Boston, on Thursday, April 10, at 6 p.m.

Second, Language for a New Century:  Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia , & Beyond, edited by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal and Ravi Shankar, and with a foreword by Carolyn Forché, launches at New York’s Rubin Museum, on Apr. 25, 7 PM.  The Burmese poet Kyi-May Kuang, who self met over two years ago now, in the 2005 Berlin “Sending Signals” conference, has some poetry in this one!  Here are just a few of the to-die-for blurbs: 

“This extraordinary, library-in-one-volume: what a resource! Those to whom poetry is essential as the supreme use of language will find the work of many poets they have never before come to, and those readers who have limited themselves to prose have the opportunity to discover how the poet outreaches everything prose can illuminate in who and what we are, no matter where, on the map. Nine thematic groupings of the work bring us wonderfully, almost perilously close to ultimate experience in childhood, love, war, exile, the inextricable relations between politics and the personal, the tragic and the ironic, the wisdom in sorrow and humor, that only the most intense imagination can plumb. That of the poet. The realm of imagination is one. This anthology gives entry to its vast _expression in the Middle East and Asia , including the changing sensibilities of poets in the ever-growing world of immigration. Assembled here not the Tower of Babel , but the astonishment and subtlety inherent in many languages and their experimental modes to expand the power of words. The introductions to each section offer perceptions engagingly, against which to place one’s own readings. The editors have boldly envisaged and compiled a beautiful achievement for world literature.”
                                                —Nobel Laureate, Nadine Gordimer
“Language for a New Century is a symphonic sweep of beckoning cries, praises, prayers, curses, ruminations and revelations.  An ensemble rich with diverse voices, here the old and the new converge, and something wholly human and futuristic emerges—something that possesses a robust lyricism—shining its light, its illuminated certainty into the twenty-first century.  This marvelous anthology assembles a multitude of voices intent on a purposeful, deep singing.”
                                                —Pulitzer Prize Winner, Yusef Komunyakaa   
Friday, April 25th, 2008, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
at The Rubin Museum , New York City
Rubin Museum of Art · 150 West 17th Street , New York , NY 10011 ·               212.620.5000    

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