The Filipino International Book Festival is Back at the San Francisco Main Public Library, October 15-16, 2022, and I’ll be there!

I’m honored to be a part of the return of the Filipino International Book Festival this weekend, October 15-16 at the San Francisco Main Public Library, where I’ll be hosting Ink Storm #3 with luminaries:

Marianne Chan
Liza Gino
jxtheo
Alan Samson Manalo
Veronica Montes
Vicente Rafael
Lara Stapleton
Kenneth Tan
Host: Rashaan Alexis Meneses
Koret Auditorium, Basement

The 6th Filipino American International Book Festival returns to the San Francisco Main Library on Oct 15-16 after a three year hiatus. It is a spectacular lineup of writers and publishers from around the US, the Philippines, and Europe, celebrating the theme of “Hiraya/Emergence.”

The festival will open with a live performance from “Larry the Musical,” a much anticipated production about labor activist Larry Itliong. It will feature headliners Gina Apostol, Erin Entrada Kelly, and Meredith Talusan, panels, author readings, book signings, a free writing workshop, and a books + comics marketplace. We’ll close with a pre-recorded interview with Nobel laureate Maria Ressa and journalist Ben Pimentel.

For the families and teachers, we’re offering a Kids + Teen program. We’ll offer slime-making, a zine workshop, author readings and signings, a puppet show, a giveaway of 80 book bundles, and more for all ages. And if you love YA and MG, catch our authors in discussion with National Book Award finalist Randy Ribay. 

Help us by spreading the word, or volunteering with us.  Share this email with a teacher, bring a friend, bring your kids, bring yourself! All events are 100% free.

Save the Date! October 15-16, Filipino American International Book Fest @ San Francisco Main Public Library

Counting down for the return of the the Filipino American International Book Festival, happening Saturday and Sunday, October 15 & 16 at the San Francisco Main Public Library. This year brings a stellar roster of authors, artists, and panelists, listed below, and yours truly will be hosting one of the events on Sunday, October 16, so please mark your calendars. There’s plenty for readers of all ages, including special events for kids & teens. Can’t wait!

Featured Interview
Maria Ressa

Featured Keynote Speakers and Authors
Gina Apostol
Erin Entrada Kelly
Meredith Talusan


Philippines
Ani Rosa Almario
Gideon Lasco
Ian “Taipan” Lucero, panelist

United Kingdom
Candy Gourlay

France
Reine Arcache Melvin

USA
California
Ramon Abad
Cyra Africa and Fae the Waray Puppet
Erina Alejo
Marielle Atanancio
Tracy Badua
MIchael Caylo-Baradi
Joi Barrios
Jason Bayani, moderator
Debra Belali, moderator
Steve Belali, panelist
Conrad Benedicto
Bayani Books
mg burns, panelist
Jaena Rae Cabrera, moderator
Melissa Chadburn
Catherine Ceniza Choy
Dara Del Rosario, moderator
Diwata Komiks
Zoe Dorado
Troy Espera, moderator
Laurel Flores Fantauzzo
Liza Gino
Kristian Kabuay, panelist
Karen Llagas, moderator
Edwin Lozada, moderator, host
Zach Lewis Maravilla
Alan Samson Manalo
Earl Matito, moderator
Lisa Melnick, moderator
Rashaan Alexis Meneses, Inkstorm host
Veronica Montes
Michelle Peñalosa
Ben Pimentel, moderator
Maxie Villavicencio Pulliam
Mae Respicio
Barbara Jane Reyes
Randy Ribay, moderator
Dr. Robyn Rodriguez
Renee Macalino Rutledge
Luna Salaver, panelist
Sampaguita Press
Ricco Siasoco, moderator
Janet Stickmon, host
Allysson Tintiangco-Cubales, panelist
Angela Narciso Torres
jxtheo
Lorna Velasco, panelist
Dr. Lily Ann Villaraza, moderator

Florida
Cynthia Salaysay

Illinois
Mia P. Manansala

Maryland
Lysley Tenorio

Massachussetts
Bren Bataclan
Sabina Murray

New York
Sophia N. Lee
Lara Stapleton
Isabel Roxas

Ohio
Marianne Chan

Oregon
Jason Tanamor

Washington
Cookie Hiponia
Ube Books
Vicente Rafael

Washington D.C.
Theo Gonzalves

New work included in Lit Hub series “Teaching Through a Pandemic”

Image from Lit Hub

Excerpt:

On the second day in senior seminar we speak about Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and I can’t help but nudge them to the subject of illness. We wonder who is truly sick, Gregor or his family? Who is truly human? What does it mean to be healthy? How does time pass differently when healthy or ill?

As a mother of a six-year-old, I’ve spent the last four years catching every cold and flu on a near-monthly basis. Sickness became routine, and time paced differently from one illness to the next. I hold onto their questions and insights as if they are keys to unlocking some truth. No one mentions Covid-19. That illness all too present on everyone’s mind.

Read entire micro essay here.

New essay, “Foreign Domestic”, live on Seventh Wave Magazine, Issue 11

What seems like a lifetime ago, back in February, I traveled to Bainbridge Island, WA as a 2020 Resident at the Bloedel Bunkhouse with Seventh Wave Magazine. There, nestled among cedar trees and ferns, an essay I’d been mulling over for a couple years got lovingly nurtured. No one among the fellow residents and editors thought the idea of braiding together themes on language, identity, and eucalyptus trees was too crazy. No one thought it wouldn’t fly.

At Bainbridge, co-founders of Seventh Wave, Joyce Chen and Brett Rawson along with Featured Artist Malaka Gharib (yes! I got to chat and collaborate with this talented genius and author of I Was Their American Dream. *Swoon*), co-created a community of deep intention and loving purpose. The Bainbridge Residency, and the experience of working with Seventh Wave has been nourishing and eye-opening in so many ways. During this time of lockdown, of uncertainty, of rage, the fellow residents and brilliant writers, Anne Liu Kellor, Frances Lee, Kofi Opam provided not just shining light but imaginative and meaningful ways of creating, ways of knowing, and ways of being. They’ve all taught me how to take risks creatively and politically.

You can experience the risks they’ve taken, the challenges they pose for us, as readers and active agents in our communities, by peeping out their work:

Anne Liu Kellor, “Miseducated: Encounters with Blackness and Whiteness”

Kofi Opam, “Holding Patterns”

Frances Lee, “Becoming a Bridge Person in Precarious Times”

I’m honored and inspired to be a part of this fellowship. So very grateful for the experience of writing and dialoguing with Seventh Wave, which helped bring to light my latest essay, “Foreign Domestic”. The piece started as a hazy attempt to reflect on language and my mixed race experiences. Written when shelter-in-place was enacted statewide in California, when the college classes I was teaching were suddenly shifted online, and when our four year-old’s preschool closed, Seventh Wave and my fellow Bainbridge residents pulled me through the chaos, the vertigo, the mad hustle, and kept me writing.

So very grateful for this opportunity to mediate on the first lessons my paternal grandma taught me about nature, on eucalyptus trees in California, and how the loss of language doesn’t necessarily equate to loss of identity or culture. Have a taste of “Foreign Domestic”:

We are all nomads here. 

Either forced from our ancestral homes or fixing for better breaks, each leaving behind pieces of heart and soul to feed the body and tend to kin. Displaced. Dispossessed. Estranged. Reinvented. Assimilated. Sacrificing the familiar to be marked exotic not just by others, but also turning stranger to family, and foreign to self. 

Read entire essay here.

Please join us Sunday 3 May, 5:30 PST at The Digital Sala for “The Spark: history and the filipinx imagination”

Despite all the struggles and stressors of life in lockdown, from teaching and parenting, cooking and cleaning while home-schooling and working from home, a few surprises have made this shelter-in-place brighter.

The latest, an invite from Veronica Montes and Marianne Villanueva to co-facilitate a workshop with The Digital Sala. “The Spark: history and the filipinx imagination” set for this Sunday 3 May 2020, 5:30 PM (PST) via Zoom includes short reading from Montes, Villanueva, and yours truly, along with activities and discussion to generate new work with some engaging prompts. We ask if you can spread the word and hope to see you this Sunday evening!

The Digital Sala is a virtual Filipinx literary festival happening on various platforms throughout April 2020 and most likely beyond. The Digital Sala is a collaborative, decentralized, and grassroots effort initiated by writers, artists, and organizers committed to supporting each other and our broader communities. The Digital Sala is a radically flexible, build-as-we-go-along, open-ended effort. Thus far, we’ve hosted organizing strategy sessions, readings, an artist conversation, and a pop culture hour; we’ve supported and publicized open mics, workshops, and other aligned events happening in our communities; and we’re looking forward to an expanding calendar of casual, impromptu, formal or informal sessions, readings, workshops, writing groups, panels, and other types of gatherings. The Digital Sala keeps a wide-open and ongoing invitation to you, your ideas, your needs, and your dreams, and we encourage you to show up, gather, co-build, co-create, and hold space for our communities. We’re all here to support each other, and we plan to archive these events and experiences and build resources toward future initiatives and collaborations. The Digital Sala is a peoples’ project, a collective labor of love. We still need as much help as we can get to grow and sustain this already dynamic and crucial space. We recognize and respect everyone’s varying capacities. We welcome your support in all aspects of building and sustaining The Digital Sala: logistics; programming; online security; design; publicity; social media; etc. The Digital Sala is here for all of us!

Sheltering: 46 Poets & Writers from Around the World share isolation on MiGoZine

“A day after the seven Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place mandate, I called for poems on “sheltering,” and in less than two weeks, received over 90 poems from 46 poets, on their personal and shared experiences of self-isolation, paying attention to and tracing the mundane and the fantastic that have become our new normal.”

Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, Aileen Casinetto forwarded a call-to-write, gathering words from 46 writers from around the world to share their sheltering on MiGoZine. Yours truly is honored and inspired to be among literary lights such as Ivy Alvarez, Lee Herrick, Luisa A. Igloria, Melinda Luisa de Jesús, Tony Robles, Abigail Licad, and so many more. Please treat yourself and consider sharing to your lovers of lit.

Read more here.

Dear 2019: You were one year full of surprises, plenty of rejections, and two much needed, last minute acceptances

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 3.45.07 PM

Dear 2019,

What a difficult year you have been with unexpected challenges, surprising scares (that thankfully turned out to be nothing more), and seemingly endless rejections. You held out until the very end to sneak in two amazing acceptances. How could I have anticipated that 2020 and the new decade would kick off with the honor and opportunity to be  a Bainbridge Resident with Seventh Wave and an early summer stint at the Wellspring House Retreat in Massachusetts? But you knew, didn’t you? Oh what a trickster, year you have played.

2019, your lessons were many, some more difficult than others, but I’m grateful to you for once again proving that persistence, commitment to the craft, and being real to my own authentic voice can keep me moving forward, keep my writing growing, and the stories flowing. Thanks for strengthening the will and renewing my faith.

Yours truly,

R

P.S. Here’s to 2020 and new beginnings:

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Pinch me! Yours truly be sharing work with lit superstars @ 2019 SF Lit Crawl

Come join us as we represent PAWA, Philippine American Writers and Artists, for 2019 SF LitCrawl. The night will be mad crazy for all things literary and brilliant.

SF Lit Crawl Phase 1
Saturday October 19, 2019 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Amado’s 998 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

PAWA is a nonprofit arts organization and independent publisher of Filipinx American literature. Poets and writers illuminate the diaspora with works on feminism, resistance, history, mythology, and memory.

Authors

Rachelle Cruz
UC Riverside; Orange Coast College
Rachelle Cruz is from Hayward, California. She is the author of God’s Will for Monsters, which won the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Regional Poetry Prize (Inlandia, 2017), Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood and co-editor with Melissa Sipin of Kuwento: Lost Things, an anthology of Philippine Myths (Carayan Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in As/Us, New California Writing 2013, LARB, Yellow Medicine Review, Jet Fuel Review,The Lit Pub, The Bakery, The Collagist, Bone Bouquet, PANK, Muzzle Magazine, KCET’s Departures Series, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, among others. She hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour. She is a recent recipient of the Manuel G. Flores Scholarship from PAWA. An Emerging Voices Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow and a VONA writer, she lives, writes and teaches in Southern California.

Tony Robles
The People’s Poet” is a born and raised San Franciscan, Filipino/Friscopino/Black poet currently living in North Carolina. Author of two books of poetry/short stories: Cool Don’t Live Here No More–A letter to San Francisco and Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike, published by Ithuriel’s Spear. Short list nominee for Poet Laureate of San Francisco in 2017. Individual artist grant awardee of the San Francisco Art Commission, 2019-2020. Nephew of the Manilatown poet Al Robles. Author of the children’s books, Lakas and the Manilatown Fish and Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel. Currently working on his first novel. For more info: tonyrobles.wordpress.com

Beverly Parayno

From East San Jose, her fiction, memoir, essays and author interviews have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Bellingham Review, World Literature, The Rumpus, Warscapes and Huizache, among others. Her work has been translated into Mandarin by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Parayno earned an MA from University College Cork and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Currently, she serves on the board of PAWA, a nonprofits arts organization and publisher dedicated to supporting Filipinx writers, and on the executive committee of Litquake. She is a grants consultant for social justice nonprofits in the Bay Area. You can find her at www.beverlyparayno.com.

Veronica Montes
Veronica Montes was born in San Francisco and came of age in the fog and mist of Daly City. Her short fiction has appeared in many print journals and online spaces. Her collection, Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories, was published by Philippine American Literary House in 2018, and her chapbook, The Sound of Her Voice, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press.

Barbara Jane Reyes
Author of Invocation to Daughters (City Lights Publishers, 2017), and four previous poetry collections, including Poeta en San Francisco and Diwata. Letters to a Young Brown Girl is forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2020.

Rashaan Alexis Meneses
Visiting Liberal Arts Fellow, Saint Mary’s College of California
Rashaan Alexis Meneses is a past resident of The MacDowell Colony and The International Retreat for Writers at Hawthornden Castle, UK. She has received fellowships from the Jacob K. Javits Program, Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and an Ancinas Scholarship for the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, California. Her fiction and non-fiction have been featured in various journals and anthologies, including Kartika Review, Puerto Del Sol, New Letters, BorderSenses, Kurungabaa, The Coachella Review, Pembroke Magazine, Doveglion Press, and the anthology Growing Up Filipino II: More Stories for Young Adults. When she’s not writing or teaching, she’s hiking trails along the California coast.

Stellar Lit Events for October 2019- Please Mark Your Calendars

Yours truly is excited to be a part of two stellar literary events this October. Check out the line-ups, mark your calendars, and  share with lovers of lit in your circles.

  • Wednesday, October 9, 6:30pm – Pilipinx Writer’s Night with San Mateo County’s Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto, Jason Bayani, Beverly Parayno, Rashaan Alexis Meneses, & a surprise guest on Wednesday, October 9, 6:30pm, John Daly Branch Library, 134 Hillside Blvd, Daly City. Bios below.
  • Saturday, October 19, PAWA Lit Crawl Event, Phase II, with Barbara Jane Reyes, Rachelle Cruz, Tony Robles, Beverly Parayno, and Rashaan Alexis Meneses at Holy Mountain on Valencia, San Francisco (to be confirmed).

Bios for Pilipinx Writer’s Night in Daly City, October 9, 6:30pm

ABIGAIL LICAD is a 1.5-generation Filipino American who immigrated to the U.S. with her family at age 13. She received her B.A. from University of California-Berkeley and her M.Phil in literature from Oxford University. Her work has been published in Calyx, Smartish Pace, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times, among others. She has served as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar to Senegal and as Hyphen magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. She lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

AILEEN CASSINETTO is the Poet Laureate of San Mateo County. Since she began her term in January 2019, she has visited 10 of the 32 communities in the county, launched her “Speak Poetry” campaign, and promoted events on NBC Bay Area and publications such as The Six Fifty, Half Moon Bay Review, and Redwood City Climate Magazine. She has also been a featured speaker at the College of San Mateo and at Skyline College, and collaborated with other poets to help raise awareness on issues such as immigration and social justice, prevention of cruelty to animals, gun control, rehabilitation of prisoners through poetry, and mental health and suicide prevention. Widely anthologized, Aileen 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.

BEVERLY PARAYNO is from San Jose, California. Her fiction, memoir, essays and author interviews appear or are forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, Bellingham Review, The Rumpus, World Literature, Huizache, Warscapes, Southword: New Writing from Ireland, among others. Her writing has been translated into Chinese by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She has a BA in English from San Jose State University, an MA in English from University College Cork and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she received a Lynda Hull scholarship. She serves on the board of directors of PAWA – Phillppine American Writers and Artists. A resident of Oakland, she is a grants consultant for social justice nonprofits in the Bay Area.

IVY ALVAREZ is the author of verse novel Disturbance (Wales: Seren, 2013), which was adapted into a musical and premiered in Tokyo in July 2019. A MacDowell Colony, and Hawthornden Fellow, thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, both Literature Wales and the Australia Council for the Arts awarded her grants towards the writing of Disturbance. Widely-published and anthologised, her poetry also appears on a mobile app The Disappearing, in Takahē, The Age / Sydney Morning Herald, and Best Australian Poems (2009, 2013), with several poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. Her poetry collections include Mortal, Hollywood Starlet, and The Everyday English Dictionary. Her latest, Diaspora: Volume L, is available from Paloma Press.

JASON BAYANI is the author of Locus (Omnidawn Publishing 2019) and Amulet (Write Bloody Publishing 2013). He’s an MFA graduate from Saint Mary’s College, a Kundiman fellow, and works as the artistic director for Kearny Street Workshop, the oldest multi-disciplinary Asian Pacific American arts organization in the country. His publishing credits include World Literature Today, BOAAT Journal, Muzzle Magazine, Lantern Review, and other publications. Jason performs regularly around the country and debuted his solo theater show “Locus of Control” in 2016 with theatrical runs in San Francisco, New York, and Austin.

RASHAAN ALEXIS MENESES earned her MFA in Fiction, Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California, where she was named a Jacob K. Javits Fellow. Awarded a 2018 Author Fellowship from Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and an Ancinas Scholarship for the 47th Annual Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, she has earned fellowships at The MacDowell Colony and The International Retreat for Writers at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland, and was named a finalist for A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Gift of Freedom Award. A 2015 finalist for the Center for Women Writers International Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award and nominated for a Sundress Best of the Net Prize, her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Kartika Review, BorderSenses, Puerto del Sol, New Letters, Kurungabaa, Doveglion Press, UC Riverside’s The Coachella Review, University of North Carolina’s Pembroke Magazine, and the anthology Growing Up Filipino II: More Stories for Young Adults. She is currently a Visiting Liberal Arts Fellow for Saint Mary’s College of California.

REME GREFALDA is the founding curator of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Collection at the Library of Congress. She is also the founding editor of Our Own Voice Literary Ezine and Qbd ink theater group. The author of baring more than soul: poems and The Other Blue Book: On The High Seas of Discovery, she is also the co-author of a Ford Foundation report, Towards A Cultural Community: Identity, Education and Stewardship in Filipino American Performing Arts. She is the recipient of the Philippine Palanca Award for her full-length play, In the Matter of Willie Grayson, produced and staged at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

WALTER ANG is the author of Barangay to Broadway: Filipino American Theater History. He currently covers Filipino American theater for news site Inquirer.net and was a contributing writer for the Theater Volume for the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Philippine Art recently published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Before moving to the US, he covered the Manila theater industry for the newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer. Ang was a juror for the Philstage organization’s Gawad Buhay theater awards from 2008 to 2009. He was a Fellow at the 2009 University of Santo Tomas Varsitarian-J. Elizalde Navarro National Workshop on Arts and Humanities Criticism Writing. Visit WordsOfWalter.blogspot.com.

Round II Teaching “The Art of Race: (Re)-Imagining Ethnicity and Identity in Literature, Art & Pop Culture for January Term 2019

A new year, a new chance to teach a class that is my life’s work. Once again, for January Term 2019 at Saint Mary’s College, yours truly is teaching “The Art of Race: (Re) Imagining Ethnicity and Identity in Literature, Art & Pop Culture”. For four weeks, four days a week, two hours and thirty-five minutes a day, our class will read, screen, listen, and view art, literature, music, TV shows, and other creative works that reconstruct, reclaim, interrogate, re-imagine, re-invent, subvert, and explode notions of race, of gender, of ethnicity, and of sexuality.

New titles have been added to last year’s reading list, such as Tommy Orange’s, There, There and Allan de Souza’s How Art Can Be Thought. Our class will have a special class visit from poet and author liz gonzalez, where we’ll read and discuss her latest book Dancing in the Santa Ana Winds. And, to top it all off, we have a class field trip to the Museum of African Diaspora, which yours truly is both excited and nervous to coordinate.

In teaching this class for the second time around, I’ve found, once again, how hungry students are to learn and share experiences, thoughts and questions about race, racism, our U.S. history, and legacy. I’ve also found that students are primed and prepped to discuss these incredibly difficult and complex issues.

More to come as we venture into the second week, so stay tuned…

 

The Art of Race: (Re)-Imagining Ethnicity and Identity in Literature, Art & Pop Culture

COURSE DESCRIPTION

How do writers and artists such as David Mura, Tommy Orange, Harryette Mullen, Beyoncé, Kara Walker, and other historically marginalized creative practictioners, subvert, de-center, and make new notions of race, identity, gender, and sexual orientation? How do they challenge cultural otherness to incite as writer Pankaj Mishra calls “a bolder cartography of the imagination”? In this class we will explore how writers, musicians, artists, and comedians make stylistic choices of form and content to challenge dominant narratives and put center stage traditionally marginalized voices, neglected histories, and sub-histories. The aim of this course is to discover how art can complicate and challenge some of our greatest public narratives: race and gender; and how these narratives serve as writer Kaitlyn Greenridge says as a “collective and imagined space that exists only as a metaphor, rhetorical argument, figurative language, in short, as a fiction, though that does not mean that [they are] not real.”

Reading from diverse authors and viewing other artistic forms, we will consider the many different ways art and pop culture help us understand and challenge identity and politics, and conversely how we can interrogate notions of identity and politics to create art that incites a world awareness.

 

REQUIRED TEXTS

  • Tommy Orange, There, There
  • liz gonzalez, Dancing in the Santa Ana Winds
  • Allen deSouza, How Art Can Be Thought

 

READING LIST

Media Selections from Beyonce’s Lemonade, Key & Peele, El mar la Mar

Art Selections from Kara Walker, Ramiro Gomez and Jennifer Wofford

Poetry and Essay Selections:

  • Harryette Mullen, The Cracks Between What We Are and What We Are Supposed to Be, “Imagining the Unimagined Reader: Writing to the Unborn and Including the Excluded”, “Kinky Quatrains: The Making of Muse & Drudge”, “Optic White: Blackness and the Production of Whiteness”
  • Kevin Young, The Gray Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, “The Shadow Book”, “How Not to Be a Slave: On the Black Art of Escape”
  • Dorothy Wang, Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry 
  • John Yau, “Please Wait By the Coatroom”
  • Diane Glancy,In-between Places, “July: She has some potholders”
  • David Mura, A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing