Mangozine's Issue #10 Presents
Maps for Migrants & Ghosts, the collection’s bookends—the first and last poems—reveal something about the overall collection. The first poem, “Song of the Meridians,” is (in part) about the layers, some invisible, that make up what one witnesses. The last poem, is (in part) about what lucidity requires: fearlessness. Both poems and all the poems in-between benefit from Igloria’s understanding that to see is to delve into spaces and dimensions that comprise a matter’s significance—a journey where what’s also relevant is, if not fearlessness, the struggle to prevent fear (and/or exhaustion) from contracting vision. Thus, the last line of the last poem is “Maykan, maykan, di ka agbutbuteng,” which translates into the English “Come back, come back, do not be frightened.” It’s significant that the line is written in the poet’s birth language of Ilocano since much of many poems’ inspirations seem to come from the poet’s experiences as well as that the poet, or persona, is often presented as looking back (do note, though, that I say “inspirations” instead of calling the poems outright autobiographical).
If I regret one of the collection’s sources of power—its melancholy—then I look for comfort in how poems often transcend the poet’s autobiography. I certainly hope so, even as I admire this poet’s non-blindness for lucid poems such as this last one in the collection which I find exceedingly powerful precisely because all of the prior poems in the book gave it its formidable muscle:
Cynthia Buiza is the Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center. She moved to the United States 13 years ago and is now based in Los Angeles, California. Prior to that, she worked with various international organizations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Open Society Institute-Burma Education Project in Thailand, and the Jesuit Refugee Service. She earned a Masters in International Affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, with a concentration on human security studies. Her poetry and prose have appeared in various anthologies in the Philippines and the U.S. She is also the co-author of Anywhere But War, about the armed conflict and internal displacement in the Indonesian Province of Aceh.
is part of #romanceclass, an online community of Filipino authors who write romance for a primarily Filipino audience. (Of course, everyone's welcome to read these books, regardless of background.) Her book, Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions (2016, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform), is what got me acquainted with this community. It's the first book of the Talking Nerdy series, the second one being Field Guide: Love and Other Natural Disasters.