Saturday, November 2, 2019


The Halo-Halo Review is pleased to interview authors in the aftermath of their books' releases. This issue's featured writers include Michelle Peñaloza.

What is your most recent book?

Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire (Inlandia Books, 2019).

When was it released?

August 9, 2019. 

What has been the response/what has surprised you most about the response?

People have been wonderful. I'm lucky and grateful to be in community with many different writers over many years and it's always heartening when folks have their first full-length books come into the world--I always love seeing and participating in the collective joy around these moments. So, now, it's me and my book and it's been amazing to receive and share the pride and joy that this book is finally in the world. I've gotten so many kind messages from fellow Pilipinx American folks, excited by and touched by the book. People are teaching it in their classes. People have bought it!  People come to readings! It's all pretty bewildering great. 

Tell me something not obvious or known about the book.

The painting on the cover was created by a fellow Filipino American, Roberto Jamora

What are you working on right now?

Just doing my best to write poems and answer emails. Also, reading. 


Michelle Peñaloza is the author of Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire, winner of the 2018 Hillary Gravendyk National Poetry Prize (Inlandia Books, 2019). She is also the author of two chapbooks, landscape/heartbreak (Two Sylvias, 2015), and Last Night I Dreamt of Volcanoes (Organic Weapon Arts, 2015). Her work can be found in River Styx, Prairie Schooner, upstreet, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships from the University of Oregon, Kundiman, and Hugo House as well as the 2019 Scotti Merrill Emerging Writer Award for Poetry from The Key West Literary Seminar. Michelle has also received support from Artist Trust, Lemon Tree House, Caldera, 4Culture, Vermont Studio Center, Literary Arts, VONA/Voices, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, among others. The proud daughter of Filipino immigrants, Michelle was born in the suburbs of Detroit, MI and raised in Nashville, TN. She now lives, farms, and writes in rural Northern California.

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