The Ruin of Everything

THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING
Stories

LARA STAPLETON

ISBN: 9781734496550
Library of Congress Control Number: 2021932139
Pages: 123
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Distributors: Ingram, Paloma Press, Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books Inc. & select book stores
Price: $18

PALOMA PRESS RELEASES THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING

San Mateo, 19 October 2021 — Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of The Ruin of Everything, a short story collection by Lara Stapleton, author of the critically acclaimed, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing.

The Ruin of Everything tells tales of abandoned children living in adult bodies. Bastards, bi-racial half-siblings, and orphans raised by aunts, they lose their last best love through brokenness like “the impossible loop in a stress dream.” Racial ambiguity abounds and confounds US color lines. Tones stretch from lugubrious sorrow to wicked dramedy. Obstinately fluid in architecture and identity, stories range from slick Hollywood glam to essayistic musings, from traditional immigrant realism, to rehearsals of autofiction that grow more metatextual as the book goes along. Just as we think we’ve learned how to read Stapleton’s stories, they shapeshift. And yet, the pieces reflect each other, a sad-clown funhouse hall of mirrors. Through wanton experiments with character, The Ruin of Everything asks us what is important to a tale and what it means to be American in country and continents. Lovers of Clarice Lispector and Luisa Valenzuela will find much to admire here.

“An Anaïs Nin of late capitalism’s bohemia, Lara Stapleton writes like an oracle of an underworld—of miscegenated loves and translocated broken souls—of characters unaware or ruinously conscious—and she inscribes that world in us with lust and wit and always that deep joy that encompasses sorrows bred in the bone, the race, the colors of one’s skin, the heart, and of course the tongue: the word.”
Gina Apostol, author of Insurrecto

“With a keen eye for human ambitions and human frailties, Stapleton brings us the comic turmoil of characters steeped in the sorrows and absurdities of modern life; reaching for connection and erring, reaching for home and missing. Brimming with hard-edged loneliness, these stories reach into the underbellies of our deepest hopes and fears.”
Laurel Flores Fantauzzo, author of My Heart Underwater

“If you could read only 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: the characterizations are not just deep but sumptuous, structures are not just innovative but fresh, and narratives are both finely detailed but interspersed with psychological caesuras for maximizing the reader’s inhabitance.”
Eileen Tabios, author of DoveLion

“Stapleton often eschews the traditional arc of storytelling. Some read like expanded character sketches, though the story is IN the characters. This is not to say the narratives lack emotions — they are embedded in each character, affirmed or denied by their respective coteries. After all, aren’t we the sum of all lives we touched and denied?”
Victor Velasco, poet & fiction writer

“Stapleton appears to have set out to navigate crisscrossing lives by simply allowing the characters, especially the I-persona, to adjudicate between everyday instances of hope and anguish… The navigation is skillfully conducted through shifting maps of loneliness, angst, and the occasional ruin of everything. The inherent intricacies develop a matrix of resultant debris that keeps the story-telling in the throes of deep engagement.”
Alfred Yuson, literary critic and author of The Music Child

“The real pleasure of this book lies in Stapleton’s irrepressible approach to narrative structure. Long, loose chains of events culminate in volta-like swerves…. these endings refashion early meanderings in thrilling flashes.”
The New York Times

Lara photo by Renee Rogoff

LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant for Writers, a two-time winner of the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award for Fiction and winner of the Columbia Journal Fiction Prize.

Virtual book release party, Oct 19 at 5pm PST/8pm EST. 

The Flesh and Blood book party, Oct 22, 7pm EST, 3 Bleecker St NYC. 

For more information, please email editor[at]palomapress.net.


A playlist for TRoE

Lara Stapleton’s Playlist for Her Story Collection “The Ruin of Everything” “Lara Stapleton’s book The Ruin of Everything is unnerving and masterfully told, one of the strongest short fiction collections I have read in years.” Continue reading.

Q&A with Lara Stapleton

From Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb Q: How was the book’s title chosen, and what does it signify for you? A: The Ruin of Everything comes from lines in two stories, “The Other Realm” and “Godspeed.” They’re both from lines in which the narrator is locating the beginning of the end of her relationship. BothContinue reading “Q&A with Lara Stapleton”

Seven Skirts

Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Seven Skirts, a debut poetry collection by Jacki Rigoni.

ISBN: 9781734496512
Library of Congress Control Number: 2020932229
Official release date: April 28, 2021
Pages: 72
Price: $16.00
Available now on Bookshop.org, Barnes and Noble, and select bookstores.

Following a journey of coming apart and stitching together a new life after domestic abuse, this debut poetry collection weaves in skirts as a metaphor for both women’s vulnerability and their power. Though steeped in the milieu of #metoo, divorce court, and the ubiquity of violence against women, the tender poems in Seven Skirts center women, mothers, children, wilderness, and the common healing power of women showing up for each other “on a Tuesday.”  

Advance words:

In one of the poems of this aptly titled Seven Skirts poetry collection by Jacki Rigoni, I come across a beautiful word: handwork. It applies to the domestic work of women, from birthing and mothering children to sewing and mending clothes and offering solidarity to each other. It also relates to the work of stitching, through language, a life back together again after rupture. One of the narrative threads has to do with a story of divorce and custody, but it is worn lightly in this collection. The poems that stand out more brightly against this backdrop are those that celebrate women breaking silence after abuse, reclaiming their history, helping each other, learning to let go. The speaker in these poems considers how in the delicate balance of things, it is often the banal and mundane that rescue us: the ordinary ritual of making breakfast, learning to inhabit the space behind the “rented window / …to amaze at grace, again.”
~ Luisa A. Igloria, author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (2020), Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia 2020-22

In this powerful debut collection, Jacki Rigoni navigates the topic of domestic violence with honesty and bravery. Survival, mending, and how “we bend again toward light,” compels these profound poems that emerge from “a marriage decomposed / with the oak leaves.” What is balm for such loss and disillusionment? Children, mothers, gardenias, and the speaker’s own will of a salmon who moves “herself upstream against every force.” Ultimately, Seven Skirts is a collection rooted in healing. This is a necessary and stunning book.
~ Tayve Neese, author of Blood to Fruit, Co-founder of Trio House Press

Jacki Rigoni lives with her three children in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she serves as Poet Laureate of Belmont, California. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a credentialed teacher. A finalist for the 2018 Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers, her poems appear in Nimrod International Journal, Moon City Review, anthologies, and permanent public art installations. Jacki writes on her site WomanUprising.com and facilitates courses for women at WomanU.com.

For review copies, please email editor (at) palomapress.net

Shellback

SHELLBACK
poems

JEANNE-MARIE OSTERMAN

ISBN 978-1-7344965-3-6
Library of Congress Control Number: 2020935102
Pages: 82
Price: $16.00
Distributors: Ingram (wholesale), Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or purchase directly from the publisher, editor@palomapress.net

Thank you so much to everyone who already bought a copy of Shellback! Please consider posting a review here and here.


Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s second poetry collection, Shellback.

“A not-untroubled tribute and a difficult elegy, Shellback traces the attachment of a daughter to her father from her childhood days of trying “to be his boy” to the grown-up’s task to be his caregiver in his last years. Including horrific details from the father’s WWII Navy service in the Pacific, which the poet memorializes in blunt, terse lines, alongside the harrowing specifics of his decline, Osterman limns a portrait of a complex relationship. Marked by candor and clear-sightedness, these poems resist soothing resolutions and easy solace, which is why they are sure to ring true to readers.”
—Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Letters from Limbo

Shellback is an elegy for a man who taught his youngest daughter how to “stretch a buck, drive a truck, / anchor a screw, win at gin rummy.” Jeanne-Marie Osterman toggles between nightmarish scenes her father witnessed during World War II and the smaller but no less affecting traumas of his final months in a nursing home. Her language is spare and colloquial, with moments of irony and deadpan wit that illuminate every detail. The arduous work of losing and grieving is beautifully preserved in these poems, which in their vividness function like a series of photographs. Or a time capsule. Or amber—something tough, primordial, and nearly clear. Osterman conveys, impeccably and with unflappable grace, the hard-earned knowledge that “no one is only / their sins.”
—Mark Bibbins, 13th Balloon

The beautifully sequenced poems in Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s Shellback yield a searing portrait of the poet’s father as a Depression-era boy and a Navy World War II veteran, given to emotional coldness and barely repressed anger. Their poignancy resides in the poet’s filial devotion, her wish to understand him and care for him in his old age. As Osterman writes in “Forgive:” “I let memories I can’t erase / rest in peace, / knowing no one is only their sins.” With often haunting imagery and carefully clipped lines, she memorably portrays a man, his era, and a daughter’s unstinting love.
—Gardner McFall, On the Line

ostermanJeanne-Marie Osterman is the author of There’s a Hum (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in Borderlands, Cathexis Northwest, 45th Parallel Magazine, The Madison Review, and elsewhere. A finalist for the 2018 Joy Harjo Poetry Award and 2017 Levis Prize in Poetry, she is poetry editor for Cagibi, a journal of prose and poetry.


More accolades for Osterman’s Shellback!

After earning the coveted Kirkus star, Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s SHELLBACK is a Staff Pick at the New York Public Library! Congratulations, Jeanne-Marie! Fresh from the success of SHELLBACK, Osterman won the 2021 Slipstream Press Chapbook Competition and her most recent work appears in New Ohio Review.

Osterman reads Tabios!

More information about Eileen R. Tabios’ short story collection, Pagpag, here. More information about Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s poetry collection, Shellback, here.

10th Annual New York City Poetry Festival

Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s Shellback & Christopher X. Shade’s Shield the Joyous will be available at the 10th Annual New York City Poetry Festival, July 24 & 25, at Colonel’s Row, Governors Island, New York, New York. Check back for more info.

A KIRKUS STAR FOR SHELLBACK!

Not only is Jeanne-Marie Osterman‘s Shellback chosen by Kirkus‘ Indie Editors to be featured in Kirkus Reviews (June 15 issue), it also gets a Kirkus Star (only 2% of books reviewed get a star)! Huge congratulations, Jeanne-Marie! The Kirkus Star One of the most coveted designations in the book industry, the Kirkus Star marks booksContinue reading “A KIRKUS STAR FOR SHELLBACK!”

SHELLBACK, a Kirkus top indie press book!

Courageous, insightful, and unsettling poems about war and family ties. KIRKUS Kirkus reviews SHELLBACK by Jeanne-Marie Osterman, one of this year’s top indie press books! Read the full review here.

Writers Live: Everett Poetry Night with Steve K. Bertrand & Jeanne-Marie Osterman

Join the Everett Public Library for a celebration of poetry on April 20 at 5pm Pacific. Everett Poetry Night will feature two poets whose work is inspired by their lives and experiences in Everett.  Steve K. Bertrand and Jeanne-Marie Osterman will talk about poetry and each will read a selection of their Everett-inspired poems. SteveContinue reading “Writers Live: Everett Poetry Night with Steve K. Bertrand & Jeanne-Marie Osterman”

Osterman’s Shellback: #450 in Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank!

Congratulations to Jeanne-Marie Osterman whose recently released poetry collection, Shellback, has gone from Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank (American Poetry Books) #6,569 to #450 as of February 19th! Osterman and her book are also mentioned in the January issue of the Granite Falls Historical Society Newsletter: A social media post by Fred Cruger further details Osterman’sContinue reading “Osterman’s Shellback: #450 in Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank!”

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Marcelina

Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of its 20th book, MARCELINA: A meditation on the murder of Cecilia “Celing” Navarro, by Dr. Jean Vengua.

ISBN: 978-1-7344965-0-5
Official Release Date: September 2020
Pages: 34
Price: $16
Available now on Amazon.

*Jean Vengua reads from Marcelina here.

ADVANCE WORDS

You must sit down to read Jean Vengua’s “Marcelina”—an epic poem for our times. Bringing to light the lived experience of a young Filipina American immigrant woman in the 1920s and 1930s Central California, she captures a powerful event that can no longer remain buried. Vengua’s passionate writing braids history, geography, gender, ethnicity and race to illumine why we must now dig up those discarded in the levees of our past. The silencing forces of history are undone by Jean Vengua’s writing. Through her, we can finally know about and feel Celine Navarro’s life.
Celine Parreñas Shimizu, director of THE CELINE ARCHIVE (2020)

It is an honor to revisit Jean Vengua’s long poem, “Marcelina,” two decades after it was first published in the anthology Babaylan. “Marcelina” is jarring in its quiet, meditative moments, contrasted against voices and acts of historical violence. Vengua asks us to join her, to unearth our buried history and herstory, look hard at the violences we have inflicted upon our own. Vengua resists the insularity, the suffocation of that history, pays back this violence with witness, with gentle words. She pays respect to the woman, Marcelina, by honoring the earth in which she was interred.
Barbara Jane Reyes, author of Invocation to Daughters and Letters to a Young Brown Girl

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jean Vengua is a Filipinx American poet and visual artist, author of Corporeal (Black Radish Books), Prau (Meritage Press), and The Aching Vicinities (Otoliths Press. Chapbook). With Mark Young, Vengua co-edited the First Hay(na)ku Anthology, and The Hay(na)ku Anthology Vol. II. As co-publisher of Tulitos Press with Elizabeth H. Pisares, she published/edited the Debut: The Making of a Filipino American Film by Gene Cajayon and John Manal Castro, and The Flipside, by Rod Pulido. Jean was born in San Francisco, raised in Santa Cruz, and lives in Monterey, CA. Her art and writing can be viewed at jeanvengua.com

ABOUT PALOMA PRESS
Established in 2016, Paloma Press is a San Francisco Bay Area-based independent literary press publishing poetry, prose, and limited edition books. Paloma Press believes in the power of the literary arts, how it can create empathy, bridge divides, change the world. We actively engage in “bayanihan”—a term which encompasses community strengthening and cooperation, and nourishing connections and shared identities. To this end, we have released fundraising chapbooks such as MARAWI, in support of relief efforts in the Southern Philippines; and AFTER IRMA AFTER HARVEY, in support of hurricane-displaced animals in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. As part of the San Francisco Litquake Festival, we proudly curated the wildly successful literary reading, “THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND,” and raised money for the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. In 2018, the fundraising anthology, HUMANITY, was released in support of UNICEF’s Emergency Relief campaigns on the borders of the United States and in Syria. Paloma Press continues to donate a portion of its proceeds to non-profits committed to working for racial justice, animal rights, marginalized communities, and climate change.


Jean Vengua in HALO-HALO

What is your most recent book? Marcelina: A meditation on the murder of Cecilia “Celing” Navarro. This is a slightly revised reprint, in chapbook form, of the long poem first published in 2000, in Babaylan: An Anthology of Filipina and Filipina American Writers, and co-edited by Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios. Continue reading here.

Maileen Hamto reviews MARCELINA

From THE HALO-HALO REVIEW: Whispers of hauntings always bring back stories of near-forgotten suffering, trauma buried deep into a community’s collective memory. Jean Vengua’s chapbook, Marcelina: A Meditation on the Murder of Cecilia “Celing” Navarro,” is the vessel of remembering for a new generation of Filipino-Americans to revisit an agonizing chapter in our history. ContinueContinue reading “Maileen Hamto reviews MARCELINA”

Shield the Joyous


SHIELD THE JOYOUS
poems

CHRISTOPHER X. SHADE

ISBN 978-1-7323025-9-4
Library of Congress Control Number: 2020930703

Release Date: April 2, 2020
Pages: 80
Price: $16.00
Distributors: Bookshop, Amazon, B&N, Ingram (wholesale). Or purchase directly from the publisher, editor @ palomapress.net

PALOMA PRESS RELEASES SHIELD THE JOYOUS

San Mateo, 2 April 2020 — Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Shield the Joyous, a first poetry collection by Christopher X. Shade, author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Good Mother of Marseille.

Established in 2016, PALOMA PRESS is a San Francisco Bay Area-based independent literary press publishing poetry, prose, and limited edition books. Paloma believes in the power of the literary arts, how it can create empathy, bridge divides, change the world. To this end, Paloma has released fundraising books such as Marawi, After Irma After Harvey, and Humanity.

A portion of the proceeds from Shield the Joyous will go to a nonprofit residential treatment program at a women’s center in Pomona, California, called Prototypes. The program aids and supports women, and single moms with their children, in recovery from addiction. It is a lifeline to women who are struggling with addiction and other serious issues.

On Christmas Day in 2017, author Christopher X. Shade’s younger brother was found nonresponsive in rural Alabama, and died that night. With this book of poems, Shade’s journey to better understand addiction and the loss of loved ones draws from both the world of his imagination and, in poignant poetic memoir, from his Alabama roots. This follows his 2019 debut novel The Good Mother of Marseille, its search for belonging through turbulent Marseille streets to a better understanding of ourselves. Shield the Joyous is deeply touching in its vulnerability and often entertaining. Mary and Joseph give 5-year-old Jesus an enormous pair of eyeglasses. Rice Krispies speak of death and resurrection. In North Alabama bottomlands, tall grasses long to protect ducks from hunters. And while paramedics wait in their parked ambulance for the next call, they try on each other’s sunglasses. The book continues the thread of coming to understand ourselves by working to understand others. And a strong message of love and hope transcends what is happening in our families where the disease of addiction pulls us apart and kills our loved ones.

“Meditative as the monastery he temporarily yet frequently inhabited in the writing of this book, Christopher X. Shade’s Shield the Joyous contemplates not only the loss of a brother through addiction but the search for deeper understanding. These poems mourn. They engage in magical thinking, exuding wonderment toward death. They traverse the gulf of detachment to find solace and wisdom in the earth. Eventually the poet is ‘led … to the I, to that inner self to which [he’d] been working [his] way toward all along’.”
Joseph O. Legaspi, cofounder of Kundiman, and author of Threshold

Shield the Joyous is a work of great wonderment and love, amidst “the ghostly whirl” of the author’s own grief and loss. His baby brother has died of addiction and there is much to think about — so into the deep quiet of a monastery he goes, where the gloom and majesty of memory and trouble surge and mix alongside the Hudson River and the swirl is able to illuminate, settle, calm. “I was elsewhere \ when my brother died” — but the writer is fully present now, to honor his sibling with rich care and tender thinking and writing that will help anyone who has ever lost anyone, now and forever, amen.”
Naomi Shihab Nye, the Young People’s Poet Laureate, and author or editor of over 30 volumes, most recently The Tiny Journalist

Shield the Joyous is a powerful memoir of a man’s journey in coming to terms with his brother’s drug addiction and subsequent death. It is a deeply spiritual book, conceived in a monastery where the author goes on retreats to recover from loss and save himself. It is also a survival guide, lifting us all out of despair. In the sublime manner of W. H. Auden, Shade builds his work on the canonical hours, beautifully combining prose and poetry to express intense emotion.”
Grace Schulman, author most recently Without a Claim

Christopher X. Shade by Beowulf SheehanChristopher X. Shade is author of the novel The Good Mother of Marseille. His stories, poems, and book reviews have appeared widely. He is also co-founder and co-editor of Cagibi, a journal of poetry and prose at cagibilit.com. He teaches poetry and prose writing at The Writers Studio. Raised in the South, he now lives and works in New York City. (Photo by Beowulf Sheehan)

Shield the Joyous is available now through Ingram Book Group’s distribution partners: Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and wherever books are sold.


PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora

PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora
Short Stories

EILEEN R. TABIOS

ISBN-13: 978-1-7323025-4-9
LOC No.: 2020930702
Pages: 104
Release Date: March 16, 2020
Distributors: Paloma Press, Bookshop, Amazon.com, among others
Price: $16 (special price thru September 1 on Amazon and other online retailers); $11.20 (through the end of March, if ordered directly from publisher or author)

ANTI-COVID-19 INITIATIVE


Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Eileen R. Tabios’ short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora. Normally priced at $18.00, this short story collection is now available for order for $16 through Amazon.

Alternatively, if you wish a signed copy, you also can order one for $11.20 through March 31 direct from the author; contact Eileen Tabios at Galateaten@gmail.com. If you order two or more copies from the author, shipping will be free within the U.S.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION

“Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’s stories, while not overtly addressing this radical torture of cuisine, relate to what lurks within the stew created by a dictator’s actions. The aftermath is not always obvious like the imprisoned, the tortured, or the salvaged (murdered); the aftermath goes deep to affect even future generations in a diaspora facilitated by corruption, incompetence, and venality.

Eileen R. Tabios wrote “protest stories” from 1995-2001 against Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law in the Philippines, including “Tapey” which was read for Hawai’i Public Radio. These stories, except for a 2019 story written as a coda, form her new short story collection, PAGPAG. As indicated by its subtitle The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora, the collection presents stories from the points of view of children brought out of the Philippines by their parents (or other adults) in response to the Marcos dictatorship—children who grew up watching and listening to adults remember the homeland they left behind and who, as adults, can more fully articulate the effect of their histories.

ADVANCE WORDS

“Pagpag” is a Tagalog word I used growing up to dust off a pillow or a blanket. Now it is used to refer to garbage food scavenged, recooked and resold to poor people. In her short story collection, Eileen Tabios uses both contexts to bridge her personal history with Martial Law and add texture to our already failed historical memory. These stories matter to us more than ever, as many Filipinos struggle under the tight grip of another populist, and as many more have forgotten that we have seen this before, and time is eating its own tail. Tabios begins her poignant collection with a “mamau” (ghost) and reminds us the historical past is not a ghost but a reality we carry with us if we can only see it as such.
Bino A. Realuyo, author of The Umbrella Country and The Gods We Worship Live Next Door

Pagpag is a provocation, connoting both debris and creative refashioning of memory fragments from the Marcos dictatorship—a legacy that, in the words of Philippine nationalist historian Renato Constantino, remains ruefully “a continuing past,” especially in today’s Duterteland. Here, the remains of the regime, like rescued reminiscences of an era preferred forgotten but not lost are gathered anew in a compelling telling, this time from the lens of a diasporic exile. In this volume, Eileen Tabios captures in scintillating prose the sights, smells, sounds, and ghostly hauntings of that era and offers back to the homeland, as in the gift of a proverbial balikbayan box, her reflections both heartfelt and wrenching.”
S. Lily Mendoza, Executive Director, Center for Babaylan Studies, Associate Professor in Culture and Communication, Oakland University, and author of Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities

In these stories Eileen Tabios explores the ways in which the collective experience of Filipinos echoes through generations, following us even if—or when—we drift worlds away from the archipelago. What is the legacy of government cruelty and greed, of poverty, struggle, unwanted uprooting? In the first story (“Negros”), the abject hunger of an ancestor reaches through time to shape the mind and body of a young boy. In the last story (“On Imitating a Rhinoceros”), a daughter watches helplessly as her old father clings to a wavering belief that leaving his homeland was the right thing to do. I recognize myself and my family in these pieces; I am seen and heard. Moving and necessary, this collection invites the reader to grapple with truths in all their difficult, complex beauty.
Veronica Montes, author of Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories and The Conquered Sits at the Bus Stop, Waiting

In this collection of short fiction, author Eileen Tabios contemplates the terrible distances (emotional as well as physical) imposed on Philippine citizens by the country’s colonial governments and postcolonial dictators, abetted by global capitalism. In protest, the central metaphor of Pagpag, “scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempt to clean and re-cook for new meals,” speaks to various forms of hunger as well as desire for transformation. Brilliantly weaving comedy, satire and elegy, the stories echo tricksterish folk tales, but with a contemporary, introspective edge. Don’t be fooled by seemingly nostalgic peeks into the Philippines’ archipelagic culture: this book cuts deep into long-held illusions, exposing painful truth.
Jean Vengua, author of Prau and CORPOREAL, and editor of Local Nomad

Available Samples Online:
An abbreviated version of “My City of Baguio” is at Positively Filipino, Jan. 22, 2020. An earlier version of the same story is at Otoliths, 2006.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eileen R. Tabios has released about 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries and cyberspace. PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora is her third fiction collection. She also recently finished her first long-form novel, DoveLion. Her wide-ranging body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku, a 21st century diasporic poetic form (whose 15-year anniversary in 2018 was celebrated in the U.S. with exhibitions, a new anthology, and readings at the San Francisco and St. Helena Public Libraries) as well as a first poetry book, Beyond Life Sentences, which received the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry. Translated into ten languages, she has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays. Her writing and editing works have received recognition through awards, grants and residencies. More information is available at http://eileenrtabios.com


Maileen Hamto reviews PAGPAG

From THE HALO-HALO REVIEW: It’s an unfortunate and ugly reality that many people in the homeland are so destitute, so poor, that they make a necessary living out of garbage. The practice of “pagpag” involves going through mountains of trash to salvage food and anything else than can be saved to be resold, reused, orContinue reading “Maileen Hamto reviews PAGPAG”

“PAGPAG” Book Launch

In the Dictator’s Aftermath: Conversation and Book Launch for PAGPAG by Eileen R. Tabios “Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’sContinue reading ““PAGPAG” Book Launch”

Barnard’s Millie’s List recommends Eileen Tabios’ PAGPAG

Barnard College’s “Millie’s List” recommends Eileen Tabios’ new short story collection, PAGPAG! “Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’s stories, whileContinue reading “Barnard’s Millie’s List recommends Eileen Tabios’ PAGPAG”