Tuesday, November 5, 2019

SUMMARY & INDEX


Filipino literature--in the Philippines and the diaspora--is a vibrant area of English-language writing. The Halo-Halo Review is an accessible online summary of critical and other responses to Filipino literature's multiple and diverse forms. We hope that what others are saying about Filipino English-language literature will encourage others to read, teach and engage. 

By "Filipino," The Halo-Halo Review means all who self-identify as Filipino whether they're in the Philippines or the diaspora, as well as mixed and hyphenated Filipinos. Alternative monikers include Pinoy, Pinay, Pilipinx, Pin@y, Pilipino, Pilipina -- we welcome you all as long as you enjoy halo-halo and manga!

Reviews and engagements are sorted by genre. Click on the genre below to see the book titles reviewed and their accompanying links. Multi-genre books may be placed in more than one category (e.g. if a book includes poetry and fiction, it will be sorted in both of the categories).

POETRY

FICTION

NON-FICTION

SCHOLARLY WORKS

CHILDREN'S & YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE

OTHER

The Halo-Halo Review has two components. The first component, as described above, is an aggregation of online links to reviews and other engagements with Filipino literature throughout the internet. While the editor has begun collecting such links, readers are also encouraged to share information on other links. Links will be posted on an ongoing basis at the applicable genre sites.

The Halo-Halo Review's second component is The Halo-Halo Review's Mangozine which will contain new reviews. We welcome reviewers (reviewers need not be Filipino) -- click HERE for a list of available review copies (though feel free to review Filipino English-language books from your own sources). Also featured will be a "Readers Show Love to Filipino Authors" section--we are always looking for contributions; more info HERE. In addition, The Mangozine also will serve as the first online publisher for reviews and other engagements (e.g. book introductions)  published in print but not yet available online. Finally, its feature articles will include author interviews. 

While reviewed publications are in English, we will cover bilingual editions, as well as Filipino-language books if the review is in English.

To share information about additional links and/or to discuss your interest in writing a review, please go to the ABOUT section for contact information.

***

FILIPINO AUTHORS ON ENGLISH
(to be updated over time)

If you're a Filipino writer and you're writing in English, you have to have a clear reason for the language that you're using ... I'm going to write in English: why? ... It really has to do with class ... For me to be part of the world of the enemy and yet to be attached to that world ... For the Filipino, English is a very literary language. The writers in English are always working with or working against the language we are given, the colonizer's language. People who live in a colonized world recognize you are living in a world of translation...



Ricardo M. de Ungria in “An English Apart” ...claim[es] that “[w]riting well in English is [his] best revenge against English,” De Ungria searches the various polemics that surround the English debate: 

But why do I want to take revenge at the English language? … Because it taught me, among other things, to think poorly of my native language and exclude this from the discourse of my deepest needs and joys and aspirations? … Because it foisted upon me a rich heritage of writing that I could never be a part of nor even closely relate to…? Because it left me inside a wonderful labyrinth of a symbolic world whose exquisite emblems and implements only heighten my sense of helplessness and futility at being understood…? Because it has opened me up to a fascinating world where I am condemned forever to live as a stranger? 



In 1898, the United States claimed it owned the Philippines after buying it for $20 million from Spain through the Treaty of Paris. The Filipinos—who had won and declared their independence from Spain—protested, and thus commenced the Philippine-American War, a war that has been called the United States’ “First Vietnam.” With their prowess on the military terrain, the U.S. defeated the Philippines. The U.S. solidified its colonial domination through the cultural and linguistic terrain with the popularization of English as the preferred language for education, administration, commerce and daily living. Thus, English is sometimes called by Filipinos to be “the borrowed tongue,” though enforced tongue would be more accurate.




whenever I sit down to chat your English rises like a mountain peak
Paolo Javier, from "Soldiering On Like The Devil" in COURT OF THE DRAGON



We used to talk about the course of Philippine literature in English as though it passed somewhat miraculously through three stages: a period of apprenticeship, of emergence or growth, and then of maturity. It was in the 1950s a useful if also a subtly condescending way of picturing what was called its “development.” On the other hand, Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S.J., thought in 1957 that Philippine literature is whatever language was “perpetually inchoate” because, first, the writers couldn’t earn a living from their writing; second, we were torn by several languages or had not mastered English well enough; and third, we were culturally confused or had not fostered enough our own hybrid culture. It is well worth quoting Fr. Bernad:
Filipino writers in Spanish flourished at the end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth. But this flowering of a culture never bore fruit: its roots were soon withered. While Apostol and Guerrero, Bernabe and Balmori, Barcelon and Recto, were writing poems that were admired in Spain, a generation of Filipino was growing up that would not understand the language in which they were written.
This is not to deplore the coming of English to our shores. Its coming was by no means deplorable: it was a cultural windfall. It does explain, however, why Philippine letters, which had finally flowered (and it is a curious thing that it did not come to its full flowering until after Spanish political domination was over) died out quickly, even in flower. Philippine letters had to seek other roots in a different cultural soil. This is why even after sixty years of English in the Philippines, Philippine literature in English is still young. But it has much promise: it may eventually attain to full maturity. (Bamboo and the Greenwood Tree) 1957/1961).
Gemino Abad,  from Our Scene So Fair: Filipino Poetry in English, 1905-1955




Today, whatever standing I may have as a poet in the Philippines will probably be based on my Tagalog poems. But I will also probably be remembered, or remain notorious, for my last poem in English. // It’s an acrostic poem, and the first letters of the lines, if read downwards, spell out a Tagalog slogan popular among demonstrators before martial law: MARCOS HITLER DIKTADOR TUTA (Marcos Hitler, Dictator, Running Dog).
—Jose F. Lacaba, from "Why I Stopped Writing Poetry in English"





THE HALO-HALO REVIEWS' Mangozine: Issue 8

In addition to aggregating reviews from the internet, THE HALO-HALO REVIEW presents The Mangozine which features new reviews and serves as the online publisher for reviews and other engagements (e.g. book introductions) published in print but not yet available within the internet.  Other features, including author interviews and reader testimonials, also will be presented. The following presents a Table of Contents for Issue 8 -- CLICK on links to go to the reviews.

ISSUE 8
(November 2019)

Editor's Note:  Welcome to the eighth issue of THE HALO-HALO REVIEW where we provide engagements with Filipino-PilipinZ literature and authors through reviews and engagements, interviews and other prose. We hope readers, writers and publishers will continue to participate and share information about numerous Filipino authors and the wide variety of their writings. 


The Mangozine's Review Copy information is HERE; you are encouraged to fatten up the list as well as pick some to review! Submission deadline for the ninth issue has been set at April. 15, 2020 (though I will take reviews sooner than the deadline if that is more convenient for the reviewers).

Go HERE to continue the Editor's Note.


I.  NEW REVIEWS AND ENGAGEMENTS

THE BETRAYED by Reine Arcache Melvin (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2018)
Engaged by Eileen Tabios

America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan (Penguin Books, 2019)
Reviewed by Paulino Lim Jr.

GLIMPSES: A POETIC MEMOIR by Leny Mendoza Strobel (Paloma Press, 2019)
Engaged by Maileen Dumelod Hamto

“Hawak/Hold (Davao Gulf)” by Katrina Bello (graphite on paper, 2019)
Engaged by Eileen Tabios

The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems by Aileen Cassinetto (Little Dove Books / Our Own Voice, San Mateo, 2018)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater

The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku by Eileen R. Tabios (Marsh Hawk Press, New York, 2019)
Reviewed by Maileen Dumelod Hamto

NO TENDER FENCES: An Anthology of Immigrant & First Generation Immigrant American Poetry  edited by Carla Sofia Ferreira Kim Sousa & Marina Carreira (fundraising anthology for RAICES, 2019) 
Reviewed by Cristina Querrer

The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge (Forest Avenue Press, Portland, OR, 2017)
Reviewed by Maileen Dumelod Hamto

Returning a Borrowed Tongue: An Anthology of Filipino & Filipino American Poetry edited by Nick Carbo (Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 1996)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA edited by Eileen R. Tabios (Meritage Press, St. Helena & Sean Francisco, 2014)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater
All Reviewed by Aloysiusi Polintan

Her Wild American Self by M. Evelina Galang (Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 2016)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater

ARCHIPELAGO OF DUST by Karen Llagas (Meritage Press, St. Helena & San Francisco, 2012)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater


II. AUTHOR INTERVIEWS, POST-BOOK


Jose Padua

Michelle Peñaloza

Kawika Guillermo



III. READERS SHOW SOME LOVE TO FILIPINO AUTHORS

Go HERE to read:

*     Eileen R. Tabios on Ninotchka Rosca
*     Cristina Querrer on Eileen R. Tabios, Barbara Jane Reyes, Luisa A. Igloria, Tony Robles, Aileen Cassinetto, Iv Alvarez, Marivi Soliven, Rodrigo Dela Peña, Kai Coggin, Monica Macansantos, Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor, Michelle Peñaloza, Jose Padua with Heather Davis, Kay Fabella, Betty Ann Besa-Quirino and Melinda Luisa de Jesús
*     Eileen R. Tabios on Grace Talusan
*     Beverly Parayno on Veronica Montes
*     Vina Orden on Mia Alvar
*     Melinda Luisa de Jesús on Erin Entrada Kelly 
*     Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz on Eileen R. Tabios 
*     Ivy Alvarez on Luisa A. Igloria
*     Beverly Parayno on Tony Robles
*     Eileen R. Tabios on Jose Elvin Bueno
*     Margo Stebbing on Leny M. Strobel
*    Maileen Dumelod Hamto on Eileen R. Tabios



IV. FROM OFFLINE TO ONLINE


Reviews & Engagements


Figures in a Long Ago Mirror by Cesar Ruiz Aquino (Silliman University, 2019)
Reviewed by Alfred A. Yuson

HUMANITY: An Anthology (Vol. 1) edited by Eileen R. Tabios (Paloma Press, San Mateo, 2019)
Reviewed by Marjorie Evasco

Marawi and Other Poems by Simeon Dumdum, Jr. (Bughaw / Ateneo de Manila Press, 2019)
Reviewed by Alfred A. Yuson

Wala: Mga Tula ni E. San Juan, Jr. (Polytechnic University of the Philippines Press, 2016; revised edition, Philippines Studies Center, 2018)
Reviewed by Karlo Mikhail I. Mongaya


From Books: Introductions, Prefaces, Forewo
rds, Afterwords and Author's Notes


Doveglion: Collected Poems by José Garcia Villa
Engaged by Luis H. Francia

Eileen R. Tabios presents the Introduction to HUMANITY, Volume 1 edited by Eileen R. Tabios (Paloma Press, San Mateo, 2018)

EVOCARE: Collected Tankas by Ayo Gutierrez, Eileen R. Tabios, and Brian Cain Aene
Engaged by Andrea E. Lodge










Monday, November 4, 2019

THE BETRAYED by REINE ARCACHE MELVIN

EILEEN TABIOS Engages


THE BETRAYED by Reine Arcache Melvin
(Ateneo de Manila Press, 2018)

I just finished reading Reine Arcache Melvin's novel THE BETRAYED. Allow me a rare "should" to say this should be required reading for all Filipinos, even as it will delight literature lovers beyond the archipelago. Read it to be at the birth of what's destined to be a Filipino Classic, in part for its nuanced, elegant disquisition on the Filipino political/economic elite ... even as its revelations on the human condition are both timeless and timely. This novel is a feat!

Most write-ups (the book description on the back cover, early reviews, etc.) note that the novel is about two sisters who love the same man. Yet I found this ménage a trois not to be the most interesting or important element in the novel. It’s as if that part of the tale is the framing element for something else. That something else, to me, are the elements that should make this work a Classic in Filipino literature: its nuanced interrogation of the socio-political-economic elite of the Philippines that, simply, has failed its task of improving the welfare of the overall population. “With great wealth/privilege comes great responsibility,” as the saying goes—but on that responsibility, this elite has failed.

In Melvin’s writing hands, that failure is displayed in a literary context of observations, nay, truisms, about the human condition. It is that arrangement that also makes the novel timeless (thus, Classic) and transcend the story-telling limits of a family’s story and what formed/forms Philippine society.

Thus, a statement like

“She knew these sons of privilege. Men like him needed distractions, novelty, excitement.”

while situated within the novel’s narrative to be talking about the lead male protagonist Arturo, scion of a wealthy family that’s part of the country’s historical leadership, resonates for also being a statement about “sons of privilege” in ancient Roman times to today’s Washington D.C.

Melvin’s approach encompasses numerous elements of the “human condition” (I keep thinking of that phrase as I read her novel, specifically the pathos of such condition). Here’s a passage that addresses marriage:

“You want to know what I think? Why people on the same side of the river shouldn’t marry? Because they get tired of each other. Because they’re so used to seeing each other, smelling each other, hearing each other, that they don’t want to make love to each other at all. That’s what happens when you live with someone, Pilar. That’s the real taboo.”

While the above passage is contextualized in the novel (in a discussion between Arturo and one of the two lead female protagonists, Pilar) to be about a taboo in Manila about the inadvisability of people marrying people on the same side of the river, that rivery divide need not exist for readers to glean the accuracy of Melvin’s proposition regarding marriage. As yet another saying—that becomes a recognized saying for their truth and applicability time and time again—notes: “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

Here’s another example addressed by the novel’s other lead female protagonist Lali and her mother-in-law Marilou:

“Black-and-white images of Marilou as a young bride, voluptuous in a tight bodice and full skirt. A portrait taken on a trip to the Vatican, early in her marriage, her sharp features framed by a black lace veil, eyebrows arched, lips full and soft-looking. Marilou had spent more than half her life learning to attract men. Those skills were worthless now. Every society imposed a limit on a woman’s desirability. In Manila, the cut-off date came early. Lali reached for her mother-in-law’s hand and squeezed it light, sorry for her, and afraid for herself.”

That statement “Every society imposed a limit on a woman’s desirability” transcends the novel’s described context. It’s an old story—how a woman’s desirability can be adversely affected by not just age but a willingness to speak up, curiosity and experimentation, politics, skin tone, class, a feminist orientation, … one can go on and on, right?

Melvin even addresses mortality. Here’s another passage:

What was it about life, Lali thought, that made most people cling to it, even when all pleasure or possibility of pleasure was gone?

In the novel, the above occurs as Lali visits her bedridden mother. But anyone who fears death, or sufficiently aged into their second half of their human age, can empathize with the statement. Many of us, simply, do not want to die. I don’t. There, I said it: I don’t want to die. Yet will I feel that way if I’m bedridden and able to cope with pain only through tranquilizers, like Lali’s mother? And if I or anyone would feel that way, as Melvin’s Lali then notes, “What was it about life?”

Diction matters. More than once, Melvin also writes in a way that facilitates the transcending of her story’s particularities. For instance, look at this paragraph written from Arturo’s point of view:

“Of course Lali had loved him. But something breaks in a marriage. He didn’t know when it had happened, or how, but now he looked back and knew that what he had, what he thought he could not lose, what he had spent so much time running after and then settling into, the center, the anchor the reason—all that, broken. And he didn’t know why.

Consider the sentence, “But something breaks in a marriage.” Why wasn’t it written as “But something broke in his marriage”? But Melvin’s chosen diction here is more effective for encouraging the reader to take that thought and apply it to life outside the novel.

Indeed, one reason why THE BETRAYED is such compulsive reading is that Melvin’s writing style also maximizes the spaces for reader empathy. The sentences are not just about the story being shared but might apply, for the attentive reader, to that reader’s particular life or position in the world—another element that should make this new novel (and I say it again because this is the first time I’ve read a new work and believe it should become) a Classic.

Also sourcing reader empathy are Melvin’s thoughtfulness, provocativeness, evocativeness, as well as a steely discipline—all lined out with unrelenting elegance. Unrelenting, I say, because the writing is so elegant I couldn’t help becoming attentive to it until I began waiting for the elegance to break. It doesn’t. Ever. What an achievement.  Here are examples:

the thoughtfulness of

“Ghosts are so personal” (160)

; the provocativeness of

“She couldn’t live a life without wanting.” (283)

; the evocativeness of (and how I deeply appreciate this one)

“… there’ll be a kind of beauty. It comes out when things are broken.” (262)

; and the steel of

“Survival trumped virtue—even the nuns understood this” (162)

which made me pause to meditate over the challenge to virtue (stubbornly) existing if it’s ever “trumped” by survival.

Melvin’s writing also hearkens poetry in more than one way, including how Jose Garcia Villa once insisted about a poem—that each word be “necessary.” Here’s one of many examples where a poetic (rhythmic) music, too, can be gleaned from the contrasting long paragraph followed by two abruptly-short sentences:

“…The horror other people had expressed, months ago, when that ship had sunk on its way to Manila from a southern island, and almost all the children abroad had perished. She had felt horror, too, but not surprise. Men had trampled over children in their struggle to get out. Little boys and girls wailed in the corridors and on the deck, survivors said, but there weren’t enough lifeboats for all of them. Almost all the women had died, perhaps in the futile attempt to comfort the terrified children. Foolish women who gave tenderness when ruthlessness was necessary. Of the 3,000 or so people on the ship, less than 400 had survived, all but two of them young men. Life was for the strong, strength for the unsentimental.

Lali would have trampled.

And when it was done, she would be free.”

The all of it is masterful writing.

Yet Melvin’s mastery does not surprise me. As a poet, I certainly noticed how nearly all of the sections bore the epigraph of an excerpted poem. (Poems were written by Eric Gamalinda, Maria Luisa Igloria, Nick Joaquin, Emmanuel Lacaba, Barbara Jane Reyes, Angela Narciso Torres, Ricardo M. de Ungria, Alfred A. Yuson, and (full disclosure, me) Eileen R. Tabios.) For this reader, the narrative link between the epigraphed poem-excerpt and the section’s narrative is not (always) linear. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist as such link can be based on (instead of narrative) mood or tone or something else—which is to say, the link is sufficiently subjective so that Melvin displays a trust in the reader. That trust bespeaks a maturity leading to mastery. That trust also highlights the importance of her writing style—that it has to be sufficiently fine for the reader not to be put off by the many and complicated layers to the story.

*

As I’ve said, Melvin’s novel is replete with statements exemplifying larger matters than what contextualizes the specific acts taken by individual characters in the book. It’s why, at one point of reading through the novel, I felt that if one was to excavate out the specifics of story from the book to leave behind more general observations, the result would be a pretty good psychology book as regards the human condition.

Indeed, as an aside, Melvin’s parsing of marriage evokes Erich Fromm. While I’ve read Fromm, it was sufficiently long ago (and my memory is frail) that I choose to quote instead from fictionist Murzban Shroff whose relevant Facebook post I happened to read while writing this review; in his post Shroff says:

Reading Erich Fromm, Freud’s most astute disciple and critic, I have found some amazing insights into man-woman relationships. According to Fromm, it is the proprietory aspects of marriage that kills sexual love, when a woman is reduced to a mere provider and an inanimate object. Fromm hints at a strong and equal role for women, especially in matters of physical intimacy. He goes on to say: sexuality is fickle, and more so in men, who are roving adventurers, than in women, in whom the responsibility of child-bearing gives sex a different and serious meaning.

I cite Shroff on Fromm (Greatness and Limitations of Freud’s Thought) simply because I had the thought about THE BETRAYED serving, too, as a psychology text—I could cite more examples.

But: it does occur to me now that perhaps my initial approach in engaging this book is giving short shrift to the novel’s actual story. Conflating and fictionalizing from real life characters in the Philippines’s history from Ferdinand Marcos’ rule to the current political regime under Rodrigo Duterte, THE BETRAYED is about a rebel who brought his family out of the Philippines for their safety, his two sisters, and, following the rebel’s assassination, the sisters’ lives back in the Philippines after their return. The sisters returned because one, Pilar, married the dictator’s godson, thus ensuring their safety. From there, the tale goes on to present a narrative touching on the politicians, countryside hacienderos with their private armies, Communist guerillas, and always the dispensable poor. Towards the end of the book, Arturo returns to his familial roots of becoming a politician by choosing to ally himself with another corrupt man who would become the country’s next president.

The above may be an inadequate summary of the novel; I acknowledge its inadequacy because I don’t want to dilute the (impressive) complicatedness of Melvin’s narrative. But if I can’t rise to sharing more about the actual narrative, it undoubtedly is for the same reason I preferred first to focus on Melvin’s fabulously nuanced writing versus story. I would have preferred to ignore the actual story because it’s both, for Filipinos, a tediously old story as well as that it doesn’t have a happy ending. More specifically, the novel doesn’t provide lessons on how now to improve the Philippines’ state of affairs, mired as it is in the hands of the same long-standing ruling political and economic elite that’s crumpled ethics against the brutishness of their inherited contexts. The story ends, for instance, with Arturo preferring that his children move out of the Philippines before he stayed on and, in staying on, became “corrupt” and the best that can be concluded is how his particular corruption didn’t entirely delete everything that was good in him.

After all that’s happened—and not to Arturo and his family but to the larger Filipino population that bears the brunt of their inadequacies—it’s hard to swallow that the best one can hope for is that, like Arturo, we retain some of our  “goodness.” But at least there’s goodness, some might say; some people never have goodness (like another character, Ricky, the Philippine president by the time the novel ends and who Arturo decided to back). But that’s a pretty low threshold, isn’t it? That we should be happy with the outcome—that Arturo still retained some of his goodness—because others aren’t even good? Tell that to the character who was beheaded because he was dispensable and goons wanted to give a show to a visiting U.S.-American journalist (he was a character in the novel but, in real life, many Filipinos have suffered similarly).

Meditating over this made me think at one point about the People Revolution that overthrew Ferdinand Marcos. One of the elements admired about that revolution was its bloodlessness. But look at the aftermath of that revolution. It makes me believe that perhaps revolutions should be bloody.

But then I look at the aftermath of various other bloody revolutions throughout human history and … I hear Alice calling from deep within the rabbit hole. Human condition—you are a disgrace.

This is why, to quote-paraphrase a poet friend Marthe Reed, “I love my friends but hate the human race.” I do offer a way out viz living in the "micro" versus the "macro," differentiating between the micro of one’s individual, day-to-day acts versus being immobilized by the unrelenting arc of the macro which points to destruction of existence (if interested, see my interview, “The Arduity of Poetry,” where I expand on these views, published in HUMANITY, a 2018 anthology from Paloma Press). 

If justice existed, Melvin’s THE BETRAYED would cause such epiphanies that people would change their behavior, opening the way for the Philippines to develop positively its potential such that so many need not leave its territory for better lives elsewhere. But THE BETRAYED is fiction and if real-life narratives have not sufficed to create this result, should we be optimistic? All of this, of course, also points to the aptness of the novel’s lack of a happy ending. With utter sadness, the novel affirms my conclusion a long time ago by noting that the best one can do is live positively in the micro instead of changing the macro—of nonetheless doing our best to be good people for the sake of family, community, and the rest immediately around us. The macro is lost: humanity is the most dangerous species on the planet.


*

But. Wait. Shortly after reading THE BETRAYED, I read Grace Talusan’s courageous memoir The Body Papers (which I write about HERE). The two books overlap in their concern over family, specifically the Filipino family. Talusan suffered from a grandfather who was a pedophile but whose abuse was covered up or dismissed by some relatives. Such, is loyalty for and within family. In the larger setting of Filipino culture, one can see the debasement of what should be a positive force—family—viz a viz how politics and business are governed by family and clan relations. I suspect diluting patronage concerns and bias may go a long way to diluting corruption—but is it possible?

Is it possible, I ask and laugh … at myself. There I go evincing faith in humanity.

Where faith is rewarded, it seems to me, is (mostly) in the micro. Here, we can create or enjoy art in all of its forms. Art is the opposite of corruption.
 
Melvin has created a classic work of art: she comprehends the bathos of providing alternatives to the human condition that she has described with such nuance, care, and wisdom. The elegance of her writing and the commitment inherent in being able to understand various elements in order to write about them in the way she has done are more than enough to warrant the necessity of this novel. Her words can lead us to despair over the human condition and perhaps such despair is the last word—but neither does she shut the door to the occasional leap of faith that humans can find redemption. If such redemption is only or mostly possible in what I call the “micro,” we should note also that it is on that terrain where Love exists.


*

UPDATE: My hope that this novel becomes a "Classic" is given a boost by the book receiving this week the Philippines' National Book Award for the novel as well as the Palanca Award for the novel -- congratulations to Reine Archache Melvin!


*****

Eileen R. Tabios has released about 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries and cyberspace. In 2020 she will release a short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora. Her award-winning 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 also 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