When I was inducted into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi after graduating with honors from the University of the Philippines, never in my wildest dreams did I see myself publishing an article in the organization's quarterly magazine, publishing out of its headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And what a treat to also see my book featured again, more prominently this time, on their bookshelf! I am immensely grateful to Danny Heitman, editor of Phi Kappa Phi's Forum Magazine, for the invitation to write an essay for their winter-themed issue. In the midst of so much darkness and despair, it gives me so much hope to encounter kindness from afar. The issue is print-only right now, but will be made available online in the coming weeks.
Happy to see my book on the Phi Kappa Phi Forum bookshelf, in the company of other excellent books from PKP members! This appears in their Fall 2023 issue, in print and online.
...work hard on your novel inside your huge, light-filled studio, but don't forget to take long walks, pet friendly black cats, eat too many cookies and cakes, go to an exhibit featuring a poet and painter from Maine, lie down on freshly fallen snow while letting snowflakes fall on your face, enjoy meals prepared by a Filipino chef while making new friends, and watch the sun set on this beautiful lake on which your studio building stands. (So grateful for this gift.)
I'm honored to share that my essay, "My Father and W.B. Yeats," which appeared in The Hopkins Review last year, made it into the Notables list of this year's Best American Essays. This is my third BAE Notable citation, and it's for an essay I'm particularly proud of, about the power of poetry (particularly my father's poetry, and the poetry of William Butler Yeats) to connect us to the otherworldly and magical. It's also the most challenging essay I've written so far (I spent an entire month working on it full-time, wrestling meaning out of my sentences) and it received around maybe 12 rejections (give or take) before it found a home with The Hopkins Review. THR has generously made the essay available for free reading and downloading from Project Muse until November 15, 2023. I am so grateful for their support.
I am overjoyed to see my lyric essay in the latest issue of Bennington Review! Written last year, this piece entitled, "5:45 pm in Eastbourne, Wellington," is a short, meditative essay about waiting in the dark for the Eastbourne ferry back to the city of Wellington, while reflecting on the sadness I felt over having to leave New Zealand after finishing my PhD. I also briefly mention trying to find one of Katherine Mansfield's childhood homes while in Eastbourne, before giving up because of the cold. Unfortunately the piece is only available in print, but you can purchase a copy here (it's a beautiful object with one of my mentors, the former Tomaz Salamun, in it) or request your local library to purchase it for you.
When I read this review of Love and Other Rituals on the Colorado Review/Center for Literary Publishing website this morning, I told myself, "now this is why I write." This is probably one of my favorite reviews of my book, made special by the fact that it's written by a young writer of color who's in the place I once was as an MFA student in America, trying to figure out how to represent my culture and write from it without exoticizing or playing into the white, colonialist gaze. I am so happy to know that my scrappy little small press book made its way into the hands of Bianca Melendrez Valenzuela, who made me feel so seen and appreciated as an author in this review! Read the full review here.
I am overjoyed to share that I have been selected for a fall artists' residency at Monson Arts in Maine! This follows a recent string of rejections and is a healthy reminder for me to never, ever give up. My application's writing sample was an excerpt from my novella, "Leaving Auckland," which appears in my debut story collection, Love and Other Rituals--and it's thrilling to see how a story I wrote about Filipino immigrants in New Zealand is now taking me to Maine. The writing life is indeed full of setbacks and disappointments, but it can also take you to unexpected places--isn't that the beauty of art as it breaks down barriers and connects us across the distances?
This was one of the most enjoyable author interviews I've done, perhaps because Greg and I go back a long way--we first met in 2010 as incoming fellows at the Michener Center for Writers. I am so proud of him, and so happy that his memoir containing so much of his brilliant hilariousness is out in the world. Read our conversation here and then buy his book!
Thank you to Rene Nonoy Molina for inviting me to guest on his podcast featuring the lives and stories of Filipinos in Aotearoa New Zealand! Watch our conversation here.
After sitting on this for months, I am so, so thrilled to share that my essay collection about grief, home, and belonging, set in the Philippines, the US, and New Zealand, has found a home with Northwestern University Press under its Curbstone imprint, with a tentative publication schedule of Fall 2024. I owe this to the inimitable Marisa Siegel, who picked up my manuscript from the slush and steered it through the lengthy approval process with NUP. She is truly my fairy godmother.