(Meritage Press, San Francisco & St. Helena, 2004)
Al Estallar La Tormenta
Al estallar la tormenta
Por la playa me paseo,
Y en ver las agitaciones
Del vasto mar me embeleso.
En su inmensidad descubro
De mi amor el vivo espejo:
¡Cuántas olas luchan fuera!
¡Cuántas perlas duermen dentro!
—by Pedro Alejandro Paterno, from Sampaguitas Y Poesia Varias, 1880
As The Storm Breaks Out
As the storm breaks out,
I take a walk on the beach
And as I watch the agitations
of the vast ocean, I am flooded
with pure delight.
In all that immensity I discover
within my love a living mirror:
So many waves struggling above!
So many pearls sleeping below!
—Translation by Nick Carbó
PINOY POETICS was developed by Eileen Tabios to be the first international poetics anthology of Filipino English-language poets. I subsequently agreed to edit this unique and groundbreaking collection of critical and autobiographical essays. Forty Filipino poets discuss the elements inspiring and influencing their poems and supply sample poems that illustrate their creative art. Two scholars also offer perspectives on Filipino poetry. The selected poets reflect the diversity of the Filipino community underrepresented in the mainstream literary world. Filipino poetry written in English or Tagalog does not seem to exist to the big New York publishing houses and most American English departments.
When I earned my MFA degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 1992, I set to embark on a career in poetry in the United States. I learned valuable lessons from my American teachers Jean Valentine, Thomas Lux, and Brooks Haxton, but I did not really see myself following in their footsteps. I looked to prominent Asian American poets like Kimiko Hahn, Garrett Hongo, Li Young Lee, David Mura, and Marilyn Chin as models, but they did not embody the culture I carried in my blood. The closest mirror that could reflect my experiences was the important novel Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn. When one sees himself/herself in a respected work of literature, it is a powerful and validating moment. I then found long-out-of-print books that included her poems and short fiction. I asked myself, is Jessica Hagedorn the only Filipino writer publishing in America? Where are the poets? Are they invisible?
Derek Walcott said in his Nobel acceptance address, “There is the buried language and there is the individual vocabulary, and the process of poetry is one of excavation and of self-discovery.” I realized that one of my jobs as a poet, a Filipino poet writing in America, was to excavate and rediscover the invisible history of Filipino poets. That’s when I began to do research and gather poems for an anthology of Filipino and Filipino American poetry Returning a Borrowed Tongue (Coffee House Press) which was published in 1995. The first anthology of Filipino writing published in this country was Chorus for America: Six Philippine Poets (Wagon and Star Publishers, 1942); the second was New Writing from the Philippines: A Critique and Anthology (Syracuse University Press, 1966); the third was Philippine Writing: An Anthology (Greenwood Press, 1971); the fourth was Flips: A Filipino American Anthology (San Francisco State Univ., 1971); the fifth was Liwanag (Liwanag Publishers, 1975); the sixth was Without Names: Poems by Bay Area Pilipino American Writers (Kearney St. Workshop Press, 1985); the seventh was Brown River, White Ocean (Rutgers University Press, 1993). I was glad to know that the anthology I edited would add to a strong tradition of Filipinos publishing creative work in the U.S., and I was further encouraged that a new anthology of poetry and fiction Flippin’: Filipinos on America (Asian American Writer’s Workshop, 1996) was immediately following. This book, along with Returning a Borrowed Tongue received positive reviews from magazines like the American Book Review, World Literature Today, and Asia Week. One would expect that the veil of invisibility over Filipino poetry would have finally been lifted. Not so, the veil remained.
In 1996, two influential anthologies of world poetry came out: The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry (Vintage) edited by J.D. McClatchy and A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry (Harcourt) edited by Czeslaw Milosz and Dreka Willen. No Filipino poet showed up in their tables of contents. What I find particularly galling is that the McClatchy anthology has sections which are divided by continents, and in “Asia” the countries included are Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan. There is no mention of the Philippines.
Four years later, in the year 2000, two more anthologies came out and continued this plague of invisibility for Filipino poetry: The Pip Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century (Green Integer Books) edited by Douglas Messerli and The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (HarperCollins) edited by Jeffery Paine. The latter anthology is divided into five parts with Asia being the last. Sub-divided under Asia are sections representing the poetry of India, the Middle East and Central Asia, China, Japan, and (drum roll, please) Southeast Asia and the Pacific! Given the Philippines’ intense and troubled historical one-hundred-year relationship with the United States, which left the Philippines the gift of being the third largest English speaking nation in the world, one would expect that there would be a Filipino poet under every rock. Wouldn’t at least one or two of them make it to an anthology of world poetry published in America? No, not even “a Chinaman’s chance.” According to Paine’s and McClatchy’s anthologies, there are no Filipino poets in Asia or Southeast Asia.
What is causing this stubborn invisibility? Is it the Filipino poet’s own fault for not publishing enough poems in the U.S. or the Philippines? Can the poetry written by Filipinos be so bad that many Americans have refused to even look our way? During our apprentice years as students of the English language this may have been the case. Rodolfo Dato, the editor of the anthology Filipino Poetry (published in Manila in 1924), wrote in his introduction an apologia for the appearance of the book and he quoted the American educator and linguist Frank C. Laubach on the literary ability of the Filipinos:
“They [the Filipinos] knew nothing of the English language prior to the American occupation. Their attempts at composing prose and poetry in English have been so full of grammatical errors and mis-use of words, that Americans have not been in any mood to look for dreams to which the Filipinos have been struggling to give utterance.” But only a year after this pronouncement, the first book of poetry written in English by a Filipino Azucena by Marcelo de Gracia Concepcion, was published by a major New York publisher.
In the 1930s, Filipino poets begin to publish their poems in the most prestigious poetry magazine in America, Poetry A Magazine of Verse (edited by Harriet Monroe): 1932, three poems by Jose Garcia Villa; 1934, four poems by NVM Gonzalez; 1936, six poems by Carlos Bulosan; 1937, four poems by Carlos Bulosan. Were these poems by Filipinos published alongside American poets Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, “full of grammatical errors and mis-use of words”? What I have come to accept is that the literary history of Filipinos in America is a hidden history (as is the literary history of African Americans, Native Americans, and other ethnic groups though they are all ahead in serious scholarship and acceptance in the universities and publishing arenas). Is literary America ready to accept the notion that Filipinos have published poems and developed their craft at the same pace and alongside the American poets? Taking the known historical fact of slavery, racism, and colonial domination by America, it is easy to see why literary America may not be ready to reliquish their position of cultural and literary superiority.
While researching the earlier issues of Poetry: a Magazine of Verse, I found a special issue dedicated to the poems of the students of two of the most esteemed writing programs in the country: the University of Washington led by Theodore Roethke and the Iowa Workshop led by Paul Engle. Three of the eleven poets published in the February 1952 issue that represented the Iowa Workshop were Filipino: Ricardo Demetillo, Dominador I. Ilio, and Edith L. Tiempo. One can say that three measly poets don’t make a movement but, as I went deeper in my research, I found out that there were many more Filipino poets and writers that studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The novelist Edilberto K. Tiempo (and his poet wife Edith) came in 1946-1950; the poet Emmanuel Torres came in 1955 on a Fulbright/Smith-Mundt fellowship; Francisco (Franz) Arcellana, a poet and short story writer, came in 1956 on a Leader Grant; and Wilfrido D. Nolledo, a poet, playwright, and novelist, arrived in 1969 on a Fulbright grant. And then there is the repeat-offender poet and novelist Bienvenido N. Santos who came in 1958 as a Rockefeller Fellow; from 1965 to 1969 as a Fulbright Exchange Fellow in the creative writing program; and as Visiting Professor from 1970 to 1972. Is it far-fetched to make the case that Filipinos have been trained so well by the best American professors in the best writing program in the country that we have in turn, although briefly, trained some American students in the art of creative writing? Don’t hold your breath because ours continues to be a hidden literary history. In 2001, the New York publisher Hyperion published with much fanfare The Workshop: Seven Decades of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop-43 Stories, Recollections & Essays on Iowa’s Place in Twentieth Century American Literature which was edited by Tom Grimes with an introduction by Frank Conroy. It is uncontested that “Iowa’s place” is at the top of the mountain, and again, Filipinos are nowhere to be seen. There is not even one mention of a Filipino poet or writer in these pages.
Can we fairly assert that the problem of invisibility lies not on the Filipinos but in the Americans who continually refuse to even look in our direction? Undoubtedly there are many readers out there who innocently believe that this essay is another manifestation of a minority group’s paranoid reaction against a supposedly oppressive white dominant majority. But are these omissions of Filipino poets from international and world poetry anthologies just accidents or is there something more sinister at work? I believe that sinister factor is pure ignorance. Yes, these American anthology editors, despite all their noble intentions, are completely ignorant of Filipino poetry. The strongest evidence of obvious erasure of Filipino poets can be found in the recently published book The Poetry Anthology, 1912-2002: Ninety Years of America’s Most Distinguished Verse Magazine (Ivan R. Dee Publishers, 2002) edited by Joseph Parisi and Stephen Young. As I had stated earlier, Filipino poets began publishing poems in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in the 1930s and continued to appear regularly during the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. In the 80s there was a lull but during the 90s and into this decade, a new generation of Filipino American poets like Fatima Lim-Wilson, Rick Barot, Maria Luisa Aguilar-Cariño, Maria Elena Caballero-Robb, and I began publishing poems in this prestigious magazine. Yet there was not one Filipino poet from 1912 to 2002 that the editors of this anthology could find to be included in this important book. One concession I must make to the editors is that Parisi writes in his introduction that he regrets not being able to include poets from “foreign numbers” and “over 2,000 translations” due to limited space. The appearance of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore on page 30, the English poet and novelist D.H. Lawrence on pages 11 and 36, and the Irish poet William Butler Yeats on page 28 do not make this anthology an American only selection. Perhaps the editors mistakenly thought that Filipino poets did not write in English and that their poems would fall into the “translation” category? No matter what reasons these American anthology editors may have for omitting the presence of Filipino poets, the end result is a stubborn invisibility. This is an invisibility that is dehumanizing a whole nation and personal identity. It must stop here!
Does Salman Rushdie provide part of the answer when he asserts in his brave essay “The New Empire Within Britain” in Imaginary Homelands (Penguin, 1991), that, “Four hundred years of conquest and looting, four centuries of being told that you are superior to the Fuzzy-Wuzzies and the Wogs, leave their stain. This stain has seeped into every part of the culture, the language and daily life; and nothing much has been done to wash it out . . . ?” Is it fair to apply this idea to the Americans? Twentieth century American literature is well-deserving of its stature near the top of the mountain but it also carries with it this ugly indelible stain.
What do our Filipino poets want to say about their poetics? The poets are presented alphabetically beginning with Gemino H. Abad who writes about what he looks for in a poem. Mila D. Aguilar who was imprisoned during the Marcos dictatorship writes about not compromising her political and poetic beliefs. Rick Barot meditates on a poem by Wallace Stevens. Michelle Macaraeg Bautista compares her process of producing poems with the martial art called Kali. Catalina Cariaga ruminates over a poetics of “E Pluribus Karaoke.” Oliver de la Paz uses film techniques such as pastiche, jump cuts, and close-ups to describe his narratives. Ricardo M. de Ungria struggles between his impulse to write in his native Tagalog and the American imposed English language. Ruel S. de Vera writes about how his poems become lyrical letters to elusive others. Marlon Unas Esguerra, the most successful Filipino American spoken word artist from Chicago, writes about poems that jump off the page. Luis H. Francia writes about his pen concupiscently held in his hand ready to spill his virile poetics onto the blank white American page. Eric Gamalinda insists that his personal imagination runs counter to the American imagination. Sarah Gambito writes an essay poem about her daughter rights. J. Neil C. Garcia writes about being fed by stories and legends during his childhood. Eugene Gloria writes about the sights, sounds, and scents of an old boulevard in Manila and how those memories affect his poems. Vince Gotera, one of the leading Asian American poets, is willing to take a stance against American imperialism and writes about the possibility of love in the time of Al Qaeda. Remé Antonia Grefalda expounds on her career as a playwright and poet. Leslieann Hobayan writes about her letters to friends and family. Luisa A. Igloria writes about the exploitation of the Igorots who were shown in the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Paolo Javier’s essay is an intense postmodern riff on collage, visual poetics, and bold font bodies. Joseph O. Legaspi writes about how poetry and circumcision shaped his life and manhood in America. Mike Maniquiz writes about how his poems make women cry. Lani T. Montreal, whose body in America feels dislocated, writes how her poetry can help her re-set her bones. Kristin Naca expounds on her fragmented Filipino and Puerto Rican background. Rene J. Navarro literally meditates on poetics while attaining a higher sense of being. Aimee Nezhukumatathil writes about floating on the ocean at night. Efren Noblefranca Padilla delves into Hiligaynon, the language spoken in western Visayas and northern Mindanao and traces the development of poetic language from indigenous roots. Patrick Pardo writes how the title of “poet” is not conferred or bestowed or awarded, but acquired over time, like forehead lines or gout. Oscar Penaranda reminds us of a long-existing Filipino American sensibility in literature. Jon Pineda writes about poems that dare you to feel, take risks. Cristina Querrer writes about her barrio by the sea. Bino A. Realuyo recalls his war hero father through poetry. Barbara Pulmano Reyes defends her ethnic poem against an MFA graduate poetry workshop who wants to erase her native references. Tony Robles writes from the perspective of the common man, a building janitor in San Francisco with a rich poetic imagination. Patrick Rosal incorporates the hip-hop movement into his poems. Leny Mendoza Strobel writes an essay about decolonization in Eileen Tabios’ poetry. Eileen Tabios collages texts and ephemera into a poetics of “Everything!” Joel B. Tan writes about being a “brown faggot poet” in America. Jean Vengua delves into the Filipino trait of abilidad, the ability to scavenge, to create something from the flotsam and odds and ends of life. Timothy Yu writes about the importance of the early Modernist Filipino poet Jose Garcia Villa. Alfred A. Yuson’s essay provides an informative history of Filipino poets writing in English and his place in this diaspora. R. Zamora Linmark gives us a taste of the Honolulu Filipino milieu which helps produce his enchanting poems.
To assist in the comprehension of our place in world literature, I have written a literary timeline which marks the important events in the history of Philippine writing. I have also provided a selected bibliography of poetry books published in the Philippines, in the United States, and internationally. Additionally, there are lists of important literary awards earned by Filipino poets and writers in the Philippines and in the United States. All this information on Filipino and Filipino American writing is probably appearing together for the first time. When you look at this information and absorb it, you realize that our literature is as rich and varied as any in the world. All you have to do is look.
A LITERARY TIMELINE
1521 Ferdinand Magellan arrives in the Philippines and claims the lands for Spain.
1543 Ruy de Villalobos sails from Mexico and reaches Mindanao and names the region Las Islas Filipinas after the crown Prince Felipe Segundo of Spain.
1571 Miguel Lopez de Legazpi sails into Manila Bay and begins the colonization of the region.
1593 The first printing press is established by the Dominicans in Binondo, Manila. The books were printed in xylographic characters which were pressed by engraved wood blocks.
Doctrina Christiana by Juan de Plasencia, Miguel de Talavera, and Juan de Oliver is the first book to be published in the Philippines.
1602 Libro de las Excelencias del Rosario de Nuestra Señora is published.
1604 Libro de las Quatro Postrimerias del Hombre by Francisco de San Jose is published.
1610 Librong Pagaaralan nang manga Tagalog nang uicang Castila by Tomas Pinpin is the first book written by a native “indio” Filipino published in the Philippines.
1611 University of Santo Tomas, the oldest existing university in the Philippines, is founded in Manila.
1636 Harvard University is the first university founded in the American colonies.
1639 (Only as a comparison) Freeman’s Oath and An Almanack by Stephen Day is the first book published in the American colonies of the the British Empire.
1704 Mahal na Pasion ni Jesu Christong Panginoon Natin na Tola by Aquino de Belen is the first known narrative poem in Tagalog written in the Pasyon (passion play) style of
1712 Dalit na Pamucao sa Balang Babasa Nitong Libro by Felipe de Jesus is an early example of a narrative poem published in book form.
1762-1764 British occupy Manila as part of the Seven Years’ War. This is the first introduction of the English language to the Filipinos.
1815 The Manila Acapulco galleon trade ends after two centuries of sailing between the Philippines and Mexico.
1838 Pinagdaanang Buhay ni Florante at Laura sa Cahariang albania by Francisco Baltazar (known as Balagtas) written in Tagalog is an influential Romance read by many Filipinos.
1880 Sampaguitas y Otras Poesias Varias by Pedro Alejandro Paterno and written in Spanish is published in Madrid and goes through five editions. This is the first book of poetry by a Filipino published in Europe.
1885 Ninay, a novel written in Spanish by Pedro Alejandro Paterno is published in Madrid.
1887 Filipino poet Leona Florentino’s poems are exhibited in the Exposition Filipina in Madrid.
Noli Me Tangere, a novel written in Spanish by Jose Rizal is published in Berlin.
1889 Leona Florentino’s poems are exhibited in the Exposition International in Paris.
1891 El Filibusterismo, a novel by Jose Rizal is published in Ghent.
1892 Rizal returns to the Philippines and is banished to Mindanao. Andres Bonifacio founds the Katipunan, the revolutionary Filipino nationalist brotherhood.
1896 Emilio Aguinaldo and Filipino forces capture Cavite from the Spanish. Jose Rizal writes the historically important poem Mi Ultimo Adios on the evening before he is executed by the Spanish.
1898 Commodore George Dewey sails into Manila Bay and sinks the decrepit Spanish fleet. Aguinaldo declares independence from Spain on June 12. Spain signs the Treaty of Paris and transfers sovereignty over the Philippines to the United States.
1899-1902 Philippine American War is fought.
1900 An Eagle Flight, adapted from Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere is published in New York by McClure, Phillips & Co. Another edition is published the following year.
1902 Friars and Filipinos: An Abridged Translation of Jose Rizal’s Tagalog Novel Noli Me Tangere by Frank Ernest Gannett is published in New York by Lewis, Scribner & Co.
1904 Philippine Magazine edited by A.V.H. Hartendorp is founded and becomes the most respected literary magazine in the Philippines until it ends in 1941.
1905 The Filipino Students’ Magazine published in Berkeley, California contain the earliest examples of poems written in English by Filipinos.
1906 The Philippines Free Press is founded and becomes the most influential English-language weekly newspaper in the Philippines.
1908 The University of the Philippines is founded.
1924 Filipino Poetry edited by Rodolfo Dato is the first anthology of Filipino poetry written in English to be published in the Philippines.
1925 Azucena by Marcelo de Gracia Concepcion is the first book of poetry by a Filipino published in the United States.
1927 The Graphic, a pioneer weekly magazine in English appears in Manila.
The Literary Apprentice, a student literary magazine from the University of the Philippines campus appears in Manila.
1928 The Varsitarian, a litarary magazine founded by the students of the University of Santo Tomas appears in Manila.
1931 The Bystander, a literary monthly magazine edited by Marcelo de Gracia Concepcion is published in Manila. It last only three issues, October-November.
1932 Three poems by Jose Garcia Villa appear in the June issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse edited by Harriet Monroe.
The novel The Lonesome Cabin by Felicidad V. Ocampo is published in the U.S.
1933 The book of short stories Footnote to Youth: Tales of the Philippines and Others by Jose Garcia Villa is published in New York.
The novel The Brown Maiden by Felicidad V. Ocampo is published in the U.S.
1934 Four poems by N.V.M. Gonzalez appear in the January issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse edited by Harriet Monroe.
Expression, a literary magazine edited by Francisco Arcellana appears in Manila. It lasts one issue and it is succeeded by Veronica which lasted two issues ending in 1936.
U.S. Congress passes Tydings-McDuffie Act which mandates a ten-year transition to independence for the Philippines.
1936 Six poems by Carlos Bulosan appear in the February issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.
1937 Four poems by Carlos Bulosan appear in the September issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.
1940 Like the Molave and Other Poems, a book of poetry by R. Zulueta da Costa wins the first Commonwealth Literary Contest and is published in Manila.
1941 Three poems by Jose Garcia Villa appear in the June issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.
1942 Have Come, Am Here, a book of poetry by Jose Garcia Villa appears in the U.S.
Letter from America, a book of poetry by Carlos Bulosan is published in the U.S.
Chorus for America: Six Philippine Poets edited by Carlos Bulosan is published in the U.S.
Three poems by Carlos Bulosan appear in the April issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.
Three poems by Jose Garcia Villa appear in the September issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.
Carlos P. Romulo wins a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.
Japanese invade Manila.
1943 The Voice of Bataan, a book of poetry by Carlos Bulosan is published in the U.S.
Jose Garcia Villa is the first Filipino to win a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry.
1944 The book of short stories The Laughter of My Father by Carlos Bulosan is published in the U.S.
1945 General Douglas MacArthur liberates Manila.
1946 The semi-autobiographical novel America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan is published in the U.S.
1947 Heart of the Island: An Anthology of Philippine Poetry in English edited by Manuel A. Viray is published in Manila.
The war-related first novel Without Seeing the Dawn by Stevan Havellana is published in New York and becomes a modest best seller.
The book of short stories Seven Hills Away by N.V.M. Gonzalez is published in the U.S.
1949 Volume Two, a book of poetry by Jose Garcia Villa appears in the U.S. This volume contains “comma poems.”
1950 Philippine Poetry Annual 1947-1949 edited by Manuel A. Viray is published in Manila.
1952 The following poems “The God My Father Chiseled with His Tongue” by Ricardo Demetillo, “Lament for the Littleest Fellow” by Edith Tiempo, and “Diplomat Listening to Speech of Another Diplomat” by Dominador I. Ilio appear in the February issue of Poetry edited by Karl Shapiro which highlighted the poems produced by students of the famed Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
One poem by Jose Garcia Villa appears in the October issue of Poetry.
1953 Three poems by Jose Garcia Villa appear in Botteghe Oscure, Quaderno XII.
1955 Edilberto K. Tiempo wins a Guggenheim fellowship.
1956 A selection of five Philippine poets appears in the Italian literary magazine Botteghe Oscure, Quaderno XVIII, edited by Marguerite Caetani.
One poem by Emmanuel Torres appears on the September issue of Poetry.
1957 Two poems by Edith L. Tiempo appear in the January issue of Poetry.
1958 Selected Poems and New, a book of poetry by Jose Garcia Villa appears in the U.S.
1960 One poem by Edith L. Tiempo appears in the December issue of Poetry.
Bienvenido N. Santos wins a Guggenheim Fellowship.
The Literary Review Summer issue guest edited by Leonard Casper features New Writing from the Philippines.
1962 A Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry: from its beginnings to the present (1910 to 1962) edited by Jose Garcia Villa is published in Manila.
1964 Sixteen Filipino poets are represented in the special summer issue entirely devoted to poetry written in English by Philippine writers in The Beloit Poetry Journal.
1966 The Tracks of Babylon and Other Poems by Edith L. Tiempo is published in the U.S.
New Writing from the Philippines edited by Leonard Casper is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Rice Grains by Amado V. Hernandez is published in New York.
1970 The novel But for the Lovers by Wilfrido D. Nolledo is published in New York.
1971 Flips: A Filipino American Anthology edited by Serafin Syquia is published in the U.S.
1972 President Ferdinand Marcos declares martial law on September 22.
1974 The American Poetry Review publishes “A Selection of Young Filipino Poets.”
1975 The New Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry edited by Jose Garcia Villa appears in Manila.
The book of poetry Dangerous Music by Jessica Hagedorn is published in the U.S.
Liwanag, a collection of Filipino prose, poetry and graphic expressions, is published in the U.S.
1979 The book of short stories Scent of Apples by Bienvenido N. Santos is published in the U.S.
1981 Bienvenido N. Santos is the first Filipino to win an NEA Fellowship in creative writing.
A book of poems and stories Pet Food & Tropical Apparitions by Jessica Hagedorn is published in the U.S.
1985 Without Names edited by Shirley Ancheta et al. is published in the U.S.
The novel Awaiting Trespass by Linda Ty-Casper is published in London.
1986 Marcos is ousted by the People Power Revolution and Corazon Aquino becomes the first woman to be elected as President of the Philippines.
The novel Wings of Stone by Linda Ty-Casper is published in London.
The book of poetry Circumnavigation by Cyn Zarco appears in the U.S. and wins an American Book Award (1987).
1987 The book of poetry October Light by Jeff Tagami appears in the U.S.
1988 The novel State of War by Ninotchka Rosca is published in the U.S.
The book of short stories Balikbayan: A Filipino Homecoming by Michelle Skinner is published in the U.S.
1989 The anthology Man of Earth: An Anthology of Filipino Poetry and Verse from English 1905 to the Mid-50’s co-edited by Gemino H. Abad and Edna Z. Manlapaz is published.
The book of poetry Trespassing Innocence by Virginia Cerenio is published in the U.S.
1990 The novel Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn is published in the U.S.
The novel Slow Burn by Sabina Murray is published in the U.S.
1991 The novel Cebu by Peter Bacho is published in the U.S.
1992 The novel Twice Blessed by Ninotchka Rosca is published in the U.S.
The novella Three Filipino Women by F. Sionil Jose is published in the U.S.
The book of short stories Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila by Marianne Villanueva is published in the U.S.
1993 Vince Gotera wins an NEA Fellowship in creative writing.
Victor Merina wins a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.
The anthology A Native Clearing edited by Gemino H. Abad is published in Manila.
The anthology Brown River, White Ocean edited by Luis H. Francia appears in U.S.
The book of short stories Bread of Salt by N.V.M. Gonzalez is published in the U.S.
1994 Nolledo’s novel But for the Lovers is republished by Dalkey Archive Press in the U.S.
The novel When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is published in the U.S.
A book of poetry Dragonfly by Vince Gotera is published in the U.S.
1995 The anthology Returning a Borrowed Tongue edited by Nick Carbo is published.
Jessica Hagedorn wins an NEA Fellowship in creative writing.
The novel The Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene J. Chai, a Chinese-Filipina author living in Australia, is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry El Grupo McDonald’s by Nick Carbo is published in the U.S..
The book of poetry In the Garden of the Three Islands by Maria Luisa A. Cariño (Luisa Igloria) is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Crossing the Snow Bridge by Fatima Lim-Wilson wins the Journal Award in poetry and is published in the U.S.
1996 The anthology Flippin’: Filipinos on America co-edited by Luis H. Francia and Eric Gamalinda is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Heaven is Just Another Country by Jaime Jacinto appears in the U.S.
The book of poetry Rappin’ with Ten Thousand Carabaos in the Dark by Al Robles is published in the U.S.
Her Wild American Self by M. Evelina Galang is the first book of short stories by a U.S. born Filipina American writer to be published in the U.S.
The novel Rolling the R’s by R. Zamora-Linmark is published in the U.S.
The novel The Gangster of Love by Jessica Hagedorn is published in the U.S.
The novel Sins by F. Sionil Jose is published in the U.S.
The novel Eating Fire and Drinking Water by Arlene J. Chai is published in the U.S.
The magazine Modern Poetry in Translation (co-founded by Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort) Issue No. 9 guest edited by Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas is published by Kings College London in the U.K.
1997 Nick Carbo wins an NEA Fellowship in poetry.
Alex Tizon and Byron Acohido win a Pulitzer Prize award in journalism.
Han Ong wins a MacArthur Fellowship for his playwriting.
The book of short stories Dark Blue Suit by Peter Bacho is published in the U.S.
1998 The novel Dusk by F. Sionil Jose is published in the U.S.
The novel Always Hiding by Sophia G. Romero is published in the U.S.
The book of short stories The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing by Lara Stapleton is published in the U.S.
1999 Eugene Gloria is the first Filipino American poet to win a National Poetry Series award for his book Drivers at the Short-Time Motel.
The book of poetry Zero Gravity by Eric Gamalinda is published in the U.S. and wins an Asian American Literary Award (2000).
The book of poetry Continental Drift by Arlene Biala is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Cultural Evidence by Catalina Cariaga is published in the U.S.
The anthology A Habit of Shores edited by Gemino H. Abad is published in Manila.
The novel Don Vicente by F. Sionil Jose is published in the U.S.
The novel The Umbrella Country by Bino A. Realuyo is published in the U.S.
The Anchored Angel: Selected Writings by Jose Garcia Villa edited by Eileen Tabios is published in the U.S.
2000 The anthology of Filipina and Filipina American writers Babaylan co-edited by Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Secret Asian Man by Nick Carbo is published in Chicago.
The book of poetry From the Bones Out by Marisa de los Santos is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Drivers at the Short-Time Motel by Eugene Gloria wins a National Poetry Series award and is published in New York.
The book of poetry Fishbone by Aimee Nezhukumatathil wins the Snail’s Pace Poetry Prize and is published in the U.S.
The novel The Samsons: The Pretenders and Mass by F. Sionil Jose is published in the U.S.
2001 Jessica Hagedorn wins a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction.
Rick Barot wins an NEA Fellowship in poetry.
R. Zamora Linmark wins an NEA Fellowship in poetry.
The book of poetry Bridgeable Shores: Selected Poems and New 1969-2001 by Luis Cabalquinto is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Names Above Houses by Oliver de la Paz wins a Crab Orchard Review poetry book prize and is published in the U.S.
The novel American Son by Brian Ascalon Roley is published in the U.S.
The novel Cat’s Meow by Melissa de la Cruz is published in the U.S.
The book of essays Eye of the Fish by Luis H. Francia is published in the U.S. and wins
an Asian American Literary Award.
The Thirdest World: A Collection of Three Stories by Filipino Writers by Gina Apostol, Eric Gamalinda, and Lara Stapleton is published in the U.S.
The screenplay the Debut: The Making of a Filipino American Film by Gene Cajayon and John Manuel Castro is published in the U.S.
2002 The book of poetry The Darker Fall by Rick Barot wins the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry (2001) and is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole by Eileen Tabios is published in the U.S. A second printing follows in 2004.
The book of short stories The Caprices by Sabina Murray is published in the U.S.
The novel Magdalena by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is published in the U.S.
The novel Letters to Montgomery Clift by Noel Alumit is published in the U.S.
The novel Not My Bowl of Rice by Er Escober is published in the U.S.
The novel When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe is published in the U.S.
2003 The anthology Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas co-edited by Virginia Cerenio and Marianne Villanueva is published in the U.S.
The novel Dream Jungle by Jessica Hagedorn is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Miracle Fruit by Aimee Nezhukumatathil wins the Tupelo Press Poetry Prize and is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Ghost Wars by Vince Gotera is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Gravities of Center by Barbara J. Pulmano Reyes is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive by Patrick Rosal is published in the U.S.
The book of collaborative poetry Tri/via by Veronica Corpuz and Michelle Naca Pierce is published in the U.S.
2004 The book of poetry Birthmark by Jon Pineda wins a Crab Orchard Review poetry book award and is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Andalusian Dawn by Nick Carbo is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Fighting Kite by Vince Gotera is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry The Time At The End Of This Writing by Paolo Javier is published in Canada.
The book of poetry Museum of Absences by Luis H. Francia is published in the U.S. and Manila.
The book of poetry Full Deck (jokers playing) by Oscar Penaranda is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry Menage A Trois With the 21st Century by Eileen R. Tabios is published in Finland.
2005 The book of poetry Matadora by Sarah Gambito is published in the U.S.
The book of poetry I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved by Eileen R. Tabios is published in the U.S.
[Editor's Note: Numerous Filipino English poetry collections since have been released since 2005, the cut-off date of the Timeline.]