Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Amplify: A Night of Pandesal and Poetry

FilBookFest is proud to Host ....Drum Roll.....

First Youth Event:   Amplify: A Night of Pandesal and Poetry
  featuring Women Writers of Color

Friday, March 25, 2011

6:00 - 8:00 pm

Crema Coffee Roasting Company
950 The Alameda
San Jose, CA


Be there and meet Diana Montaño, Niki Escobat. Jacqulyn Whang, Janice Sapigao and Susie de Jesus Huerta.  These are among our  emerging writers of color and we are mighty proud of their work.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Eileen Tabios: A Review

Silk Egg:Collected Novels (2009–2009), Eileen R. Tabios
(Exeter: Shearsman Books, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-84861-143

Eileen Tabios is an innovator in the best sense of the word. 

If her impressive list of publications, multi-media projects, and awards were not proof enough, one need only consider her development and promotion of the Hay(na)ku form, which has spawned three anthologies and several works from individual writers. If even that is not enough, one would be hard pressed to discount her place at the forefront of the post-postmodern language and literature movement after reading (and engaging with) Silk Egg.

Having read many and reviewed several of Tabios’ works, I have been most impressed and enthused by the requirements made on the reader (or reviewer) to partner in the product being created. This, to me, is what keeps the very short “novels” (and their even shorter chapters) from being just another experiment in what is alternately called, among other names, “Nano-fiction,” “microfiction,” and “flash fiction…”

This growing movement of short work has its roots in a famous Hemingway story, the entirety of which is: For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Richard Brautigan (whose novel, The Hawkline Monster, according to my background research for this review, was the catalyst for the Hay(na)ku form) also worked in the ultra-short form, and now, in the age of 45-character Tweets, brief Facebook updates, and some literary agents requesting synopses of entire novels in 100 words or less, it is a tool most writers have in their toolkit.

These are different, digital days, and all but gone are the rich wordsmithed novels of the Victorian and Edwardian age, when books were thick and wordy because they were expensive and had to last the reader a good long while.

At the nexus of that Here and this Now is Silk Egg, a place where you don’t swim in the words as in days of old, but the spaces in between.

This collection of micro-novels ends with the one with which the project began—Novel Chatelaine. This set of short chains on a belt used for carrying keys, a thimble, a sewing kit, and so on is a metaphorical image Tabios has used before. The more I read, the more I am convinced that we, the Readers, are the locks into which the various and sundry keys are meant to enter.

Another recurring source of inspiration for Tabios is Jorge Luis Borges’s “Library of Babel” (which also inspired Umberto Ecco’s Name of the Rose), a geometric wonder of a library wherein is contained all the possible combinations of words for every book ever written, or yet to be. Picturing this wondrous place one cannot help but to also imagine the weathered librarians, hunch-backed monks, rebellious demons, be-spectacled book collectors, and half-mad writers searching for new inspirations in its leaf-laden passages… 

It is here, in this chamber, this mansion of the mind, that one best sits while reading Silk Egg, peering through the windows of hotels and apartments, restaurants and lighthouses, vineyards and wine cellars in places ‘round the world, with their self-isolated population of affluent and emotionally detached men and women reaching across chasms of hurt and apathy to try and connect with one another. Their places of cold confrontation and passive habitation are dressed in silk and pewter, rose and diamond, jade and moss, snakeskin and ruby, linen and leather, tulip and truffle, and opium and orchid.

They try and fail, and try again, their short-armed gestures and hollow words falling between the spaces, back into the library, where they reconstitute in new forms and better possibilities as we grab and grasp and turn them to our use.

Those who bemoan the death of the book and of good writing itself need only keep up with Tabios’ growing collection of innovative and deeply engaging books to know that this is far from the case.

Exploring Racial, Geographic and Generational Differences in Literature

University of San Francisco's Asian American and Philippine Studies Departments  will  co-sponsor with LIIF,  an academe-version of Filipino Book Festival's "Conversation with" series. 

Entitled A Colloquium on the Diversity in Filipino/Asia American Communities: Exploring Racial, Geographic and Generational Differences in Literature, this event will be held on April 26th at the Marischa Room, Fromm Hall from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. 

Three Fil-Am authors, Peter Jamero, Pati Poblete and Janet Stickmon, will form a Discussant panel.  A corresponding Reactor panel will include Fr. Dennis Recio, who teaches Asian Literature at USF and Myke Gonzalez, who teaches Ethnic Relations at UC Santa Clara and will also represent LIIF).  

USF will be responsible for in campus invitations/advertisements + logistics.  LIIF's responsibilities will be to coordinate with the authors (pre-event), and to send out a press release.   

Thursday, March 17, 2011

From Ben Pimentel: On Migration Stories

Just stumbled into this amazing video, an overview of the the Depression and the roles that writers such as John Steinbeck and Carlos Bulosan played. The segment on Bulosan notes that he was critical of writers such as Steinbeck and Dos Pasos apparently they were not as involved as he was in the labor struggles of his time.

Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.: Anthology

Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.: Anthology: "Field of Mirrors: An Anthology of Philippine American Writers, edited by Edwin A. Lozada and published by PAWA, Inc. ISBN: 9780976331636[ 43..."

Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.: 03/23/2011: Playwright Jeannie Barroga @ Evergreen...

Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.: 03/23/2011: Playwright Jeannie Barroga @ Evergreen...: "EVC Authors Series presents JEANNIE BARROGA March 23, 2011 12:30-1:30 pm, Montgomery Hall (Student Center 127) Evergreen Valley College ..."

Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.: Review: Jon Pineda's SLEEP IN ME

Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.: Review: Jon Pineda's SLEEP IN ME: "From Brevity Book Reviews: Reviewed by Ira Sukrungruang What is there to think about when you are boy and the world is large and you fee..."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Best Regards from Aileen Ibardaloza-Cassinetto

Hi everyone

I'm one of the founding members of World Book Night (, a book give-away project that celebrates the power of reading and writing. The project was launched in Trafalgar Square last week, and readers included Alan Bennett, John le Carre, Margaret Atwood, Tracy Chevalier and many others. Quoting C.S.Lewis, WBN founder Jamie Byng said, "We read to know we are not alone"; author Alan Bennett recalled how, being poor, his only entertainment as a child came from the local library. The same library, and others like it, are now in danger of being closed down due to lack of funding.

I came home to San Francisco with 48 copies of the 1 million books especially printed for World Book Night. I chose Toni Morrison's Beloved and pledged to distribute it to libraries in the Philippines, specifically a municipality in an island province where there is no library and where my husband and I hope to start a Reading Room at least.

I have extra copies of Beloved to give away to the first 10 people to email (pls PM me your mailing address, as well); to the authors out there, if you are so inclined, I'd appreciate it if you can also send me a copy of your book and I'll include it with the books I'm bringing to the Philippines.

Thank you.

Aileen Ibardaloza-Cassinetto

Review of Barbara Jane Reyes's book of poems, "Diwata."

 I share this new review of Diwata, which was posted at Lantern Review:

In Poeta in San Francisco, Barbara Jane Reyes’ previous book, diwata was someone “elders say” had once “walked on earth” before the “the nailed god came” (30). These are the traces and rumors from which the titular Diwata of her latest book is resurrected. Then, like slippery oral art, like slips of the tongue, creation stories about men, women, and diwata—a god or spirit in Philippine mythology—are made up and told again and again. The poems in Diwata draw also on, and retell, Judeo-Christian creation narratives, introduced and enforced in the Philippines by the Spanish colonial regime. These retellings of myths and folk tales become a modality through which ahistory is rendered into history, history itself is investigated, and variations of diwatas, their quarries, and their hunters are revealed as inhabiting multiple narrative, linguistic, and cultural sites.

To our Filipino American authors out there.  Please send me a  short review of your "obras."  If possible attach a thumbnail picture of the book cover.

Happy reading.

Author Zosimo Quibilan's Pagluwas

FilBookFest is proud to announce a new author.  Zosimo Quibilan, Jr. the author of Pagluwas (Going to the City)  published by the University of the Philippines Press in 2006. Zosimo has been living in the US since 2007 and have been giving occasional talks on Filipino Literature and Language at the University of California Los Angeles. In fact, he just gave a talk last Friday called "Ang Baho ng Lipunan Kaya U d Toilet," an inquiry to understanding Filipino as a language in a Filipino American setting based on his own short story called "U d Toilet" (from Likhaan Journal of Contemporary Literature, 2009).

He writes to us:  "Despite living in the US for four years, this is the first time I am reaching out to the Filipino American literary community. I came across several press releases and blog posts about the Filipino Book Festival to be held in October and I got really excited.  I heard that this is going to be a major event for the Filipino American community and I want to let you know that I would very much like to participate as a featured published author. I could probably read some of my poems or excerpts from my book during the event. "

Zosimo Quibilan, Jr. won the 2006 Philippine National Book Award for Short Story and the 8th Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award in 2008 for Pagluwas (Going to the City) published by the University of the Philippines Press in 2006.  His stories and poems have either appeared or are forthcoming in the International Literary Quarterly, Kweli Journal, Ani, Likhaan Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature, Mondo Marcos, Asia Writes, Monday Magazine, Verbsap, 42opus, Bewildering Stories, Mga Kuwentong Paspasan, and Fast Food Fiction, among others. He is currently working on his next book tentatively called "U d Toilet" and occasionally gives talks on Filipino Literature and Language at the UCLA.  He lives in South Pasadena, CA with his wife and three kids.

 Here's a short book description of Pagluwas.

Pagluwas (University of the Philippines Press, 2006) is a book of 52 short tales about passengers who board a bus, bound for Manila from the mountain city of Baguio, and subsequently get involved in a brutal collision. There are no fatalities. There are no survivors.

Written in rich colloquial Filipino, Pagluwas tells us what happened before everyday objects (lipstick, toy robot, a bottle of rum, basketball jersey, vegetables…) and ordinary lives and loves went flying into oblivion. An half-novel, half-anthology of an exploded narrative that gives new meaning to the term "we are what we leave behind" in all its importance and ephemera.