Wednesday, December 12, 2018


The Halo-Halo Review is pleased to interview authors in the aftermath of a book's release. This issue's featured writers include Melinda Luisa de Jesús.

What is your most recent book?
My first collection of poetry entitled peminology (Paloma Press, San Rafael, 2018).

When was it released? 
March 8, 2018—International Women’s Day!--with Paloma Press.

What has been the response/what has surprised you about the response?
Folks who know my academic work didn’t know I also wrote poetry so that was a surprise for some. I am also a classical musician so it was a surprise to my music friends that I am also a poet. Always keep them guessing, I say!

In terms of response to my work, I remain awed by the power of the poetic form itself. What would have taken me 20 pages to write for an academic journal that few might actually read could be distilled into something more accessible and with so much more bite/punch than would be possible in a traditional essay. The immediacy and impact of the poem, especially during a reading, is really satisfying to me as both a scholar and a performer. I was aiming for a melding of personal and political poetry and I think I hit my mark.

Tell me something not obvious or known about the book.
There are poems in peminology that I wrote in high school or began in high school and finished just last year. And I used some of the poems in peminology as the basis for a series of mixed media sculptures.

What are you working on now?
I am gearing up for PINAY POWER II: Celebrating Peminisms in Diaspora, the first-ever Canadian Filipina feminist conference that I’m hosting at McGill University, April 17-19, 2019 as part of my sabbatical research. It’s going to be amazing so please consider attending! See for more info. I’m also prepping a short course in contemporary Filipina American lit that I’ll be teaching at McGill this spring.


Melinda Luisa de Jesús is Associate Professor and former Chair of Diversity Studies at California
College of the Arts. She writes and teaches about Filipinx/American cultural production, girl
culture, monsters, and race/ethnicity in the United States.

She edited Pinay Power: Peminist Critical Theory, the first anthology of Filipina/American
Feminisms (Routledge 2005). Her writing has appeared in Mothering in East Asian Communities:
Politics and Practices; Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art; Approaches to Teaching Multicultural Comics; Ethnic Literary Traditions in Children’s Literature; Challenging Homophobia; Radical Teacher; The Lion and the Unicorn; Ano Ba Magazine; Rigorous; Konch Magazine; Rabbit and Rose; MELUS; Meridians; The Journal of Asian American Studies, and Delinquents and Debutantes: Twentieth-Century American Girls’ Cultures.

She is also a poet and her chapbooks, Humpty Drumpfty and Other Poems, Petty Poetry for
SCROTUS Girls’ with poems for Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Obama, Defying Trumplandia, Adios
Trumplandia, James Brown’s Wig and Other Poems, and Vagenda of Manicide and Other Poems
were published by Locofo Chaps in 2017. Her first collection of poetry, peminology,
was published by Paloma Press (March 2018).

In Spring 2019 Melinda will be Muriel Gold Senior Visiting Professor at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada where she will be convening the Pinay Power II: Celebrating Peminisms in the Diaspora conference.  See for more info.

She is a mezzo-soprano, a mom, an Aquarian, and admits an obsession with Hello Kitty.

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