The wounds of Katrina may have stolen my energy in the past few days, but even as I have begun to wake up again, many wonderful things have taken place, things I want to bear witness to, celebrate, and be joyful about.
First came news of Bino A. Realuyo's new and first book of poetry The Gods We Worship Love Next Door winner of the 2005 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry . His book releases February 2006, a particularly auspicious date given Realuyo's passion for language, story, and poetry.
Then came news of Marsh Hawk Press book launch featuring Eileen Tabios' I Take Thee, English, for My Beloved, affectionately known as The Brick. I wish I could be in NYC for the launch in a few days, but I have possession of her book and that makes me very happy.
And if idle hands make the devil's work, then Eileen is truly an angel, for hot on the heels of her book launch, she announced the publication of Post Bling Bling an eBook free for the download, but also available in hardcopy. Choices...choices...
Dino Manrique, then, announced the launch of FilipinoWriter.com a space for Filipino writers of all stripes to come together, swap stories, provide mentorship, share triumphs and challenges, and in general create an even stronger community and increasing the visibility of Filipino writers.
And later Bino A. Realuyo's welcomed John Labella Fulbright Scholar from the Philippines now located at Princeton University. I'm especially excited by Labella's appearance since he is not only interested in poetics and aesthetics, but also in phenomenology and ritual - two of my current research interests!
I was very pleased to hear that Oscar Penaranda had been named Educator of the Year by PASE/East Bay Oakland Chapter FAEAC. I met Oscar last March when he gave a reading at an AWP event in Vancouver. I remember most his voice, his deep storytelling voice, and I was glad to hear that his tireless work to bring Philippine American history and culture into the consciousness of his students was being recognized.
The editors of the much anticipated book Pinay Power will be having a panel discussion theorizing the Filipina/American experience at UC Berkeley on Oct. 15. So many wonderful things happen in CA! This book is definitely on my Must Read list.
The most exciting news by far, though, was the announcement that Barbara Jane Reyes had won the prestigious James Laughlin Award for her new collection Poeta en San Francisco forthcoming from TinFish Press. Barb has been very generous with her time, providing me with mentorship and encouragement as I tried my hand at poetry last Spring. I'm incredibly happy that her work has been recognized and I know that this is only the beginning of a long, illustrious career.
The timing could not have been more perfect either, as two interviews with Barbara released at about the same time as the award announcement. Eileen's interview appears on e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s while Rochita Clonen Ruiz' interview appears on The Sword Review.
I am part of an incredibly vibrant community and I am so grateful!