On the eve of Hurricane Arthur, Hyphen Magazine published my essay, “Typhoon Yolanda and the Art of Call-and-Response.”
Here’s an excerpt:
The power and emotional truth [the Filipino body] holds is one that gravitates around the fabric of kapwa, of kagandahang-loob, of pakiramdam. Try and digest these words together—kapwa, kagandahang-loob, pakiramdam—and imagine what they would taste like. Fixate on the texture, the range of salt, the level of sweetness, the fluidity of bitterness, the depth of will to continue on. For in the end, these two anthologies are just that: manifestations of the community’s psychic and collective power to live, exist, and dance even in ruins, in anger, in song. I was overtaken by the poems’ and stories’ direct connection to inner strength, a kind of strength shrouded by darkness and without light. But this strength became the collected voices found in these two books. They became a surge of shared memory and consciousness. As vestiges of our gathered voices, these two anthologies reveal the healing power of the call-and-response against tragedy, grief, and one of the strongest typhoons the world has seen.”
— See more at Hyphen Magazine.
I’m very honored and humbled to write this essay on Typhoon Yolanda and the beautiful + strong + powerful anthologies that followed. Thank you to Hyphen Magazine for publishing this. Thank you to Hyphen editors Karissa Chen, Abigail Licad, and Christopher Fan. Maraming salamat po to editors Dean Francis Alfar and Eileen Tabios for offering review copies of both anthologies.
Thank you for reading, and for supporting those who were affected by this monstrous storm.