Tuesday, April 13, 2021



PINOY POETICS: A Collection of Autobiographical and Critical Essays on Filipino and Filipino American Poetics, Edited by Nick Carbo 

(Meritage Press, 2004)


Here are some of my favorite lines from Pinoy Poetics, which are taken from my reading notes (circa 2004):

And when I write, I want the largest space,1


like a thumbprint.2

She chose to be a cadre’s poet,3


the rhythm, can you feel it?4


A poetics of E Pluribus Karaoke.5


I’m favoring sightedness, either near, far, or the standard fare.6

If I let go of English, I am not sure if my Filipino can spread out enough net in time to catch me 
 or grow enough bones for wings to break my fall.


“the elusive other.”8


I start from a place that I know,9


It starts with an itch, you see, so you scratch.10


I long for the day when I will have no more need of words.11

A maybe of love.12


when the sea sang inside me and told me her ancient, shimmering name.13


It is never about distance, never about nearness.14


Gotta love that jazz.15

My life, even without words, is lived within the poetry that refuses to stay dormant16


I am a whisper slipped between strangers: the soft air that floats between lips and ear…17


after I have swallowed / the last of my cone…18 


kaya ngayon mismo19


“the completion of the human.”20


let them be and leave them as they are.21 

If the shoe matches my fear, / then I know this is her.22 


Truth is wrapped in a thousand and one lies / nurtured by words / Whose origins you no longer know23 


I gahng up dos stairs, Charlie. My art, my art!24

Nothing is permanent. Not even memory.25


The cavalry is here. / Every neigh and wild whip of hair.26

If we wish to know the soul of our people, we must read our poetry.27


Yes, I’ll be a poet. I will write in broken lines in a form of my own choosing.28


I take your hand and press it lightly / to my forehead to hide my shame29 


If anything, it is like water. Taking the shape of what surrounds it.30


it takes more than talent / to do what I do.31

My hunger for crossing bridges is birthed anew. / Unskilled, I build them quickly, I burn them too.32


“with a lot of white space,”33


hard hands picking fruit and planting our dreams  dreams which grow like mangoes and wash over us as we reach out and dare to bite into them.34


We took a piece here, a piece here and made a sentence, a beat, a collection of rhythmic cacophonies.35


We are Filipinos, Anytime, Anywhere.36


The first step is Acceptance.37

A poem is a zip file.38


Wayward, the fall and / the garden. From a place and mind / of some consequence39


“honesty” is what Villa was fleeing in his move across national and generic boundaries.40


No one could ever raise a yard of color.41 


In all that immensity I discover / within my love a living mirror…42


1 Gemino H. Abad, “What Does One Look for in a Poem?,” in Pinoy Poetics, ed. Nick Carbó (San Francisco & St. Helena: Meritage Press, 2004), 4. 

2 Rick Barot, “The Nightingale And The Grackles,” in Pinoy Poetics, 20. 

3 Mila D. Aguilar, “The Poetics of Clarita Roja,” in Pinoy Poetics, 9. 

4 Michelle Macaraeg Bautista, “Kali Poetics,” in Pinoy Poetics, 34. 

5 Catalina Cariaga, “A Poetics of E Pluribus Karaoke,” in Pinoy Poetics, 39. 

6 Oliver de la Paz, “My Unwritten Book: A Poem Disguised as a Narrative Process, but Not Cleverly Disguised,” in Pinoy Poetics, 40.

7 Ricardo M. de Ungria, “An English Apart,” in Pinoy Poetics, 50.

8 Ruel S. De Vera, “Otherwordly,” in Pinoy Poetics, 63. 

9 Marlon Unas Esguerra, “The Poetry of Rebolusyon,” in Pinoy Poetics, 75.

10 Luis H. Francia, “Meditations # 1 & 2,” Pinoy Poetics, 79.

11 Eric Gamalinda, “Language, Light, and the Language of Light,” in Pinoy Poetics, 85.

12 Sarah Gambito, “Essay 2356 on Poems,” in Pinoy Poetics, 98.

13 J. Neil C. Garcia, “Of Legends and Poetry,” in Pinoy Poetics, 110.

14 Eugene Gloria, “On Memoir and Poetry,” in Pinoy Poetics, 113.

15 Vince Gotera, “Love and War, Contrapuntal: A Self-Interview,” in Pinoy Poetics, 126.

16 Remé-Antonia Grefalda, “Lyricism and Poetry in Playwriting,” in Pinoy Poetics, 129.

17 Leslieann Hobayan, “Mo(ve)ments in Silence: Constructing ‘Home’ in the Gap Through Poetry and Letters,” in Pinoy Poetics, 142-143.

18 Luisa A. Igloria, “Considering (A Poem’s) History: Sources and Point of View in ‘The Incredible Tale of the Ice Cream Cone Dog,’” in Pinoy Poetics, 146.

19 Paolo Javier, “Marginalia,” in Pinoy Poetics, 163.

20 Joseph O. Legaspi, “Boys in Skirts and Other Subjects That Matter,” in Pinoy Poetics, 168.

21 R. Zamora Linmark, “Big Trouble,” in Pinoy Poetics, 175.

22 Mike Maniquiz, “The Essence of Us,” in Pinoy Poetics, 181.

23 Lani T. Montreal, “Poetry and Bonesetting,” in Pinoy Poetics, 191.

24 Kristin Naca, “The Cult of Language in Pinoy Poetry,” in Pinoy Poetics, 196.

25 Rene J. Navarro, “After the Shih Hua: Poetics,” in Pinoy Poetics, 206.

26 Aimee Nezhukumatathil, “The Ocean at Night: An Inside Look at the Poetry Process,” in Pinoy Poetics, 214.

27 Efren Noblefranca Padilla, “Binalaybay: Soul of the Island,” in Pinoy Poetics, 216.

28 Patrick Pardo, “On Being a Filipino Poet,” in Pinoy Poetics, 224.

29 Oscar Penaranda, “The Filipino American Sensibility in Literature,” in Pinoy Poetics, 237.

30 Jon Pineda, “At the Fence of the Experience,” in Pinoy Poetics, 241.

31 Cristina Querrer, “Volcanic Laughter, Pacific Words,” in Pinoy Poetics, 244.

32 Bino A. Realuyo, “Dear Warrior,” in Pinoy Poetics, 245.

33 Barbara J. Pulmano Reyes, “The Building of ‘Anthropologic,’” in Pinoy Poetics, 252.

34 Tony Robles, “A Poetics of the Common Man(ong),” in Pinoy Poetics, 262.

35 Patrick Rosal, “A Pinoy Needle in a B-Boy Groove,” in Pinoy Poetics, 270.

36 Leny Mendoza Strobel, “A New Twist on Decolonization: Eileen Tabios’ Poetry,” in Pinoy Poetics, 278.

37 Eileen R. Tabios, “A Poetics of ‘Everything, Everything, Everything,’” in Pinoy Poetics, 315.

38 Joel B. Tan, “Brown Faggot Poet: Notes on Zip File Poetry, Cultural Nomadism, and the Politics of Publishing,” in Pinoy Poetics, 317.

39 Jean Vengua, “Abilidad and Flux: Notes on a Filipino American Poetics,” in Pinoy Poetics, 337.

40 Timothy Yu, “Asian/American Modernisms: Jose Garcia Villa’s Transnational Poetics,” in Pinoy Poetics, 360.

41 Alfred A. Yuson, “Taking the Litmus Test,” in Pinoy Poetics, 376.

42 Nick Carbó, “Introduction,” in Pinoy Poetics, v.



Availability: https://smcl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2204250076




Aileen Cassinetto is the Poet Laureate of the County of San Mateo, California. Widely anthologized, she is also the author of the poetry collections, Traje de Boda and The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems, as well as three chapbooks through Moria Books’ acclaimed Locofo series. As Poet Laureate, she works with local government agencies, such as the Arts Commission, the Commission on the Status of Women, the LGBTQ Commission, member libraries of the Peninsula Library System, the Harbor District Commission, and nonprofits, such as the Housing Leadership Council and Filoli Center, to amplify the role of poetry in public discourse. www.aileencassinetto.com



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