Wednesday, December 03, 2003

City Lights Bookstore

Even I know where and what City Lights bookstore means to the world of poetry. And tonight, the SO was part of a set of Pilipinas who read at City Lights. The night brings to a close a monthlong celebration of the release of the anthology "Going Home to a Landscape." The quality of the voices presented in the anthology is staggering. It seems like each and every single one of the women have a book out or a book coming out in the next year or so.

Marianne Villanueva went first as the lead off reader for the evening. Marianne served as hostess for the evening and read sparingly. Her two excerpts came from "Mountains" and "Sutil." The Pin@y community owe a debt of gratitude to Marianne and Virginia Cerenio the co-editor of Going Home to a Landscape.

Barbara Reyes read "Anthropological" tonight. Amazing that something like this could have been written five years ago. It is as fitting and as important now as then.

Maiana Minahal just came back from the Philippines where her book of poetry "Sitting Inside Wonder" was launched. Maiana read her poem "Tired" which is exceptional in capturing the fleeting feeling of immigrant life in America.

Michelle Bautista read the poem "Upon Reading an Opera" which is a work written after she read the whole poetry book "Opera" by Barry Schwabsky's Opera.

And lastly, Angela Torres read "Tango". Angela is definitely one of the best narrative poets out there.

I hope to get some of the photos published in a website soon. I'll definitely write up the address here so watch out for it.

In closing, I was sitting at City Lights' poetry room and staring at the wall of books of poetry. The books were written by authors from all over the world. In the center of the room were six books of poetry written by Pin@ys.

There must have been 500 to a thousand books of poetry in that room. In an instant, I knew one truth. Pin@y writers need to write so that we can tell our narrative, our song. If we do not, some time in the future our children will search for signs of our existence and finding nothing and will have to start from square one. Some will be lost and will never find what it means to be Pin@y. Some will be lucky and will know how to google. And some will hopefully write and continue the narrative.

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