Eileen Tabios engages The Future Is a Country I Do Not Live In by Cynthia Buiza:
“There is a certain type of poetry book that’s exemplified by Cynthia Buiza’s The Future Is a Country I Do Not Live In. It’s a book that’s the poet’s first book while hinting at the possibility that it may be her last. Of course we hope that Buiza creates more books, but this evoked possibility relates to how there was no shortcut in time for releasing this first collection. The poet first had to live life over a prolonged period, to be sure writing individual poems along the way but not releasing a book until sufficient time and experiences have occurred. This book required intellectual and emotional marination.
“As a result of the process’ duration, each poem becomes imbued with a hard-earned wisdom, making each (seemingly) effortless with its revelations. Each poem hearkens some not-always articulated but deep knowledge. The approach results in an achievement that’s increasingly rare in this age of social-media instant gratification…”
In a post-book interview, Buiza notes that what is not known about the book “is how it is actually partly a product of nearly twenty years of travel across 15 countries and the vast terrains of memory and experience encompassing loss, grief, hope and resilience for an immigrant…”
The Halo-Halo Review is an accessible online summary of critical and other responses to Filipino literature’s multiple and diverse forms.