Skip to main content

Who I Found at Tampa's #awp2018: Installment #1


It's April, National Poetry Month, and I thought I'd dedicate my next posts to reviewing a couple Asian-American writers and other poets whose works I've discovered this past 2018 AWWP (Association of Writers & Writers Program).

It was my first time ever attending the event and because this time for once, it actually convened in my area, therefore, had no excuse but to attend at least one day.  I was overwhelmed, swirling, like a kid in a candy store for I was surrounded by books and my artsy fartsy tribe!


I got a chance to run into the women at the Sundress Publication's table.  One of my poems have appeared in their earliest online magazine back in the late '90s.  While there, I  stumbled upon the work of Jim Warner, entitled "Actual Miles" published by Sundress Publications.  He's a Filipino-American poet.  How do I know?  Well, when I was thumbing through the pages, his poem "subic bay" jumped out at me.



Jim Warner's "Actual Miles"



subic bay

open crucifex arms.

just plastic couch covers--shag carpets. Avocado

horizon swallows sound.

a swirling panic spirals, twister'd Olongapo
streets hold one hand over the slum alley'd, thumb
over full cisterns.

Unlearning the story of rotting mangoes,

multo is the word for ghost; not forget.

From the fire escape, shoulders lengthen against

oxidized steel--stretched and confessed like creeper
vines browning in droughted heat.

No crowns, just crows. No kings,

just King James in Tagalog.

Unravel neighborhood fabric

jacquard
suturing through native tongues;
these gentrified orphans leave scars.

--------------------------------------------


This is a poem, a poem I can relate to and Jim Warner, a poet I can identify with.  I did not meet him or know him, but from what I gather he may have been a military child, of mixed race: Filipino/American, like me.  I have been to Subic Bay, the U.S. Naval Base, and my dad was stationed at Clark Air Force Base by Angeles City where both, outside their gates, were lined with drunk G.I.s and brothels.  Therefore, Filipino slums outside U.S. military bases were pretty much the same all over the Philippines.  I wrote a similar poem about Angeles City and of my mixed race origin in my poem "Mango Man".


There were other poems in this collection such as "rice farmer"...although my mother's family were fishermen, going anywhere in rural Philippines echoes these images he conjures up so well:


       "poor drink and poor forget.

Hands harden when bolo-less
soften with cheap boozy grace.
       Poor drink and poor forget
troubles and empty pockets
soften with cheap boozy grace,..."

A similar theme about my mother's fishermen family, of poverty-stricken drunken uncles and fragile aunts, in my poem "At Low Tide".


Tim Warner's "Actual Miles" is like a coming home for me.  We share the Philippines and the U.S. as we morph from one culture to the next with poetry and writing as our vehicle for expression to connect the worlds.  It is lyrical, heavy, and tugs at you to go many directions like the narrow alleyways of Olongapo.


You can order his book here: https://squareup.com/store/sundress-publications/


Sundress Publications interviews Jim Warner: https://sundresspublications.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/interview-with-jim-warner-author-of-actual-miles-sundress-publications-2017/


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Episode 27: Briana Muñoz

Listen to Briana discuss how she got into poetry, her new collection & future projects & plans! http://yourartsygirlpodcast.com/episodes You can by her book here:  https://www.amazon.com/Loose-Lips-Briana-Mu%C3%B1oz/dp/1889568066 Interview on San Diego Voyager:  http://sdvoyager.com/interview/meet-briana-munoz-briana-munoz-north-county Instagram: @womanofwords BIO: Briana Muñoz is a writer from San Diego, CA . now living in Los Angeles, CA. Her poetry and short stories have been published in four editions of the Bravura Literary Journal. In the 2016 publication of the Bravura, she was awarded the second-place fiction prize. She has been published in LA BLOGA, an online publication, the Poets Responding page and in the Oakland Arts Review. Her poem “Rebirth” was featured in the Reproductive Health edition of the St.  Sucia  zine, a publication dedicated to “Exposing What It Is  To  Be A  Mujer ”. Briana’s work was one of ten chosen for “The

Eileen Lives with Art

Eileen Tabios, my long time poet/writer friend, wrote about my art I had given to her a while back in her blog:   Eileen Lives with Art

Episode 53: Anya Ow

Check out this episode with writer, Anya Ow, a Singaporean residing in Australia.  We discuss her work, her "co-workers" (cats), & reads a segment from her newly released novella, "Cradle and Grave". http://yourartsygirlpodcast.com http://anyasy.com http://neonhemlock.com Check out my first episode!