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

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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, 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.

For more information about the book, please click this link.

Fil-Am publishing house releases short story and poetry collections

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By WALTER ANG, Philippine Daily Inquirer

SAN FRANCISCO — Filipino American publishing house Paloma Press has released short story collection Pagpag: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora by Eileen Tabios.

The book includes “protest stories” against martial law in the Philippines that Tabios had written in the latter half of the 1990s appended with a story she wrote in 2019 as a coda.

The stories are presented from the viewpoints of children who had been removed from the Philippines because of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. Children who grew up watching and listening to adults remembering the homeland they left behind and who, as adults, can more fully articulate the effect of their histories.

Aftermath

Pagpag is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for thrown away leftover food that is then cleaned and re-cooked for new meals.

In a statement, Paloma Press describes “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 (i.e. murdered); the aftermath goes deep to affect even future generations in a diaspora facilitated by corruption, incompetence, and venality.”

Turmoil

Tabios has released more than 50 publications ranging from poetry collections, fiction, essays and experimental biographies. Pagpag is her third fiction collection. Her wide-ranging body of work includes inventing the hay(na)ku, a diasporic poetic form.

Paloma Press founder and publisher Aileen Cassinetto says that Tabios pitched the book to her.

“For years she had these short stories gathering dust in her files. With the escalation of political turmoil and increased suffering among the poor during our current time, hence the reference to ‘pagpag,’ she thought to dust them off for publication and wrote a new story as a coda to bring the collection together,” Cassinetto explained.

The book cover features a painting by Fil-Am artist Rea Lynn de Guzman titled “Self-Contained.”

“The painting is in Eileen’s collection and she thought the image could symbolize loss as well as missing the homeland. Loss is a theme that permeates the lives of characters in the book,” she says.

Press

Cassinetto was inspired to go into book publishing after she and her sister once thought of creating personalized, handmade books for children.

After making one for a nephew and another one for a niece, they quickly realized that their dream was not very feasible at the time, but they had “knack for creating and reimagining art objects” and that they could still create books through printing using conventional methods.

They laid the groundwork in 2016 and released their first book—the illustrated poetry book Blue by Wesley St. Jo and Reme Grefalda—a year later. Including Pagpag, Paloma Press has since published 19 titles.

The publishing house’s name was inspired by the title of a poem “La Paloma,” which means “The Dove,” that Cassinetto had written when she was newly married and living on a street called Paloma Avenue.

Civic engagement

The publishing house has a history of civic engagement. It has previously released fundraising poetry collections Marawi, to support relief efforts in southern Philippines, and After Irma After Harvey, to support hurricane-displaced animals in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Cassinetto’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been to provide free online access to the ebook format of essay anthology Humanity. (The print format is still available for purchase.)

Humanity gives us an ‘overall picture of strength and fragility, of empathy, and myriad hopes.’ It is, thus, a timely read, I feel, given our current crisis,” she says.

Filipino American contributors in Humanity, which is edited by Tabios, include Cynthia Buiza, Melinda Luisa de Jesus, Gabriela Igloria, S. Lily Mendoza and Leny Mendoza Strobel.

Other releases

Paloma Press recently also just released Christopher Shade’s poetry collection Shield the Joyous.

“We released his critically acclaimed novel The Good Mother of Marseille in 2018. When Christopher pitched Joyous to us, we felt that it is a good fit for the kind of poetry we wish to publish,” said Cassinetto.

Paloma Press has a slate of poetry titles for release throughout this year. Visit Palomapress.net. (Reposted from usa.inquirer.net)

PAGPAG’S Anti-COVID-19 Initiative

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SUPPORT FOOD BANKS: This is a modest initiative to help support foodbanks for which we’ve set aside 20 copies of PAGPAG. For every minimum $20 donation to food banks, whether your local community’s or through Feeding America, you will receive a free, signed copy of PAGPAG.

“Pagpag” is a term applied to food scavenged out of garbage—thus, the book’s theme is itself highly-sensitive to issues of food insecurity, a matter just drastically ramped up by the Covid-19 pandemic. New millions are now turning to food banks due to job disruptions and school closures. We hope you can participate in this initiative of supporting those in need of food, even as you add a book to your reading pile to weather shelter-in-place requirements.

This initiative is in line with PAGPAG publisher Paloma Press’ belief in “the power of the literary arts, how it can create empathy, bridge divides, change the world.”

You can send a copy of your donation receipt and address to Eileen Tabios through Facebook PM or email at galateaten at gmail dot com

PAGPAG in the news

APA

From the Lantern Review:

Yes, PAGPAG is fiction, not poetry, but it’s by LR contributor and APA literary great Eileen R. Tabios—we’d be amiss not to feature it! Hot off the presses (it was released barely a fortnight ago), this collection of short stories is not one to miss.

From the San Francisco Review of Books:

Between 1995 and 2001 Eileen wrote protest stories against Marcos’ martial law, and now she shares those stories and more with her readers, revealing the horrendous conditions as viewed through children’s eyes. Noting that these stories are reflections of an ‘ex-patriot’ gives a new insight into the history of the political climate as viewed from afar – a more insightful blend of memory and history that makes her stories all the more compelling. Hunger in the face of the need to scavenge for discarded food, the need to change, moments of introspective humor – all these tales add to the impact of this excellent collection of short stories.

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


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.

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”

Forthcoming: PAGPAG

pagpag png

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: Spring 2020
Distributors: Paloma Press, Bookshop, Amazon.com, among others
Price: $16 (pre-order special price thru September 1)

Paloma Press is pleased to announce a Special Release Offer for Eileen R. Tabios’ soon-to-be-released 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 the same price 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