“If you could only read one of the nine short stories, “New” makes the release of the entire book worthwhile. And “Flesh and Blood” also passed my key test as not just a reader but a writer: the story made me want to run to my own pen or keyboard to write. The stories are engaging but the writing is also a writer’s writer’s delight: characterizations are not just deep but sumptuous, structures are not just innovative but fresh, and the narratives are both finely detailed but interspersed with psychological caesuras for maximizing the reader’s inhabitance.”
Continue reading Tabios’ engagement of Lara Stapleton’s The Ruin of Everything in The Halo-Halo Review.
These critical and East Bay tender third world feminist lyrics model for us what it means to commit to the unglorified “work of arriving,” to care rigorously about craft, and to craft religiously a genuine care for community.
Paloma Press is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of Wanna Peek Into My Notebook? Notes on Pinay Liminality, a collection of lyric essays on Pinay poetics, by Barbara Jane Reyes.
What I admire most in Barbara Jane Reyes’ writing is her insistent, critical inquiry into the nature of the Pinay experience and writing. Wanna Peek into My Notebook? Notes on PInay Liminality invites you into the author’s process, her willingness to “write through the ugliness and horror,” to examine and disrupt perceived notions about Pinays and WOC—whether in family, society, world literature, even in language itself. We learn about the contexts and history, the influence of family and community on her poetry. Reyes’ literary explorations have always ventured along multiple routes, yet she has developed a consistent path of questioning that becomes the writing itself—which, by the way, is not always in the form of poems, but also blog posts, memes, spoken word, journal excerpts, and essays. One somehow becomes a participant in her journey—one of struggle and joy, and complexity. This process has created a significant body of multifaceted work addressing the times, lives, and struggles of Pinays in the diaspora. Reyes’ notes and prose in Wanna Peek, as well as her poems, return me to the kitchens, dance halls, bedrooms, offices, and classrooms of my youth—where I find that, inspired by her passion and perseverance, I still have questions to ask, things to figure out. ~ Jean Vengua, author of Marcelina
These critical and East Bay tender third world feminist lyrics model for us what it means to commit to the unglorified “work of arriving,” to care rigorously about craft, and to craft religiously a genuine care for community. Poet-teacher-kasama Barbara Jane Reyes defetishizes the creative politics of poetic life. Through a decade’s worth of intimate autohistoria-teoría, Reyes documents the interiority of her previous books, chronicles the day of her father’s passing, humbly mourns and uplifts mentors such as our beloved Al Robles, insistently questions who gets to tell the Pinay’s story, invites us into a deep genealogy of Pinay literature, and manifests a feminist poetics of dailiness, revision, rethinking, and reckoning. A memoir, a bridge, a lyric, a liminality, this book is a gift from that cool rebellious poet friend who never stops reading, learning, writing, reflecting, and sharing, who sees in us our multitudes, and wants for us nothing short of pure self-determination and possibility. ~ Jason Magabo Perez, author of this is for the mostless
The passion and prolificacy of Barbara Jane Reyes blooms from, to crib Prof. N.V.M. Gonzalez, the “rhizomatous nature” of the Filipino voice. She is a chronicler whose words bear the watermark of their own specific place and time, while her imagination stretches across history, heritage, and memory. As history is reflective, she evokes our own passage(s) through time, how ways of seeing inform ways of living. If heritage is the sum of cultural treasures, we find memories of our own families and personal moments in the nuances, chemistry, and music of her language. As interstellar black holes bend time and light, she demonstrates how poets, as forces of gravity, bend or re-make the “rules” of language. Her unstoppable catalogue is a defiance against silence and marginalization, while a compassionate light for others, most especially Filipinos of the world who, beyond place and time, grow from a common root: an identity undeniably our own, which we’re all responsible for nourishing. ~ Allan G. Aquino, poet and professor of Asian American Studies at California State University, Northridge
Those of us who have caught on early to Barbara Jane Reyes have been fortunate to follow her slow, strong, and steady evolution coupled with a rhyming evolution within culture and society, every step of the way. Those just tuning in, you’re at the threshold of giant steps. If I may cross a “t” to that – for the past five or so decades, I’ve been silently but keenly following the unfolding of one of the great open secrets of our times: voices in general society hithertofore underground or too unheard now becoming known and coming into their own. Within that broad perspective, IMHO, Barbara Jane Reyes is a vital ark sailing forwards on the tidal surge of our human ancestors and descents. My life and work is ennobled by her presence and power in our midst, all ways. ~ Gary Gach, author of Pause Breathe Smile – Awakening Mindfulness When Meditation Is Not Enough
About the author:
Barbara Jane Reyes is a longtime Bay Area poet, author, and educator. She is the author of Letters to a Young Brown Girl (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2020), Invocation to Daughters (City Lights Publishers, 2017), To Love as Aswang (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., 2015), Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010), Poeta en San Francisco (TinFish Press, 2005), and Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books Publishing, 2003). She teaches Pinay Literature, and Diasporic Filipina/o/x Literature in the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. She lives with her husband, poet and educator Oscar Bermeo, in Oakland.
For more information, please email editor(at)palomapress.net
Thank you so much everyone who joined our TRoE virtual book release party via zoom and FB Live! Special thanks to Edwin Lozada & PAWA, guest readers Eileen Tabios, Ricco Siasoco and Beverly Parayno for supporting Lara Stapleton and Paloma Press, and Tony Robles, Claire Pamplin, Grace Talusan, Kimi Sugioka, Zach Linmark and Gina Apostol for the thoughtful questions & engagements.
If you missed the livestream, you can watch the recording on YouTube or FB Live (apologies in advance that this unedited version contains zoom bombed segments).
If you’re in NYC, you wouldn’t want to miss these TRoE in-person events: “Flesh & Blood Party,” Friday 10/22, 7pm Eastern at VON 3 Bleecker St. @Bowery with Nerissa Balce & Ligaya Mishan
“The Ruin of the Human Zoo” with Sabina Murray, Gina Apostol & Zach Linmark, Thursday 11/4, 7pm Eastern at KGB Bar
Lastly, please support TRoE by asking your local bookstore to buy it or by leaving a review on Amazon. Maraming salamat!