PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora

PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora
Short Stories

EILEEN R. TABIOS

ISBN-13: 978-1-7323025-4-9
LOC No.: 2020930702
Pages: 104
Release Date: March 16, 2020
Distributors: Paloma Press, Bookshop, Amazon.com, among others
Price: $16 (special price thru September 1 on Amazon and other online retailers); $11.20 (through the end of March, if ordered directly from publisher or author)

ANTI-COVID-19 INITIATIVE


Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Eileen R. Tabios’ short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora. Normally priced at $18.00, this short story collection is now available for order for $16 through Amazon.

Alternatively, if you wish a signed copy, you also can order one for $11.20 through March 31 direct from the author; contact Eileen Tabios at Galateaten@gmail.com. If you order two or more copies from the author, shipping will be free within the U.S.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION

“Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’s stories, while not overtly addressing this radical torture of cuisine, relate to what lurks within the stew created by a dictator’s actions. The aftermath is not always obvious like the imprisoned, the tortured, or the salvaged (murdered); the aftermath goes deep to affect even future generations in a diaspora facilitated by corruption, incompetence, and venality.

Eileen R. Tabios wrote “protest stories” from 1995-2001 against Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law in the Philippines, including “Tapey” which was read for Hawai’i Public Radio. These stories, except for a 2019 story written as a coda, form her new short story collection, PAGPAG. As indicated by its subtitle The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora, the collection presents stories from the points of view of children brought out of the Philippines by their parents (or other adults) in response to the Marcos dictatorship—children who grew up watching and listening to adults remember the homeland they left behind and who, as adults, can more fully articulate the effect of their histories.

ADVANCE WORDS

“Pagpag” is a Tagalog word I used growing up to dust off a pillow or a blanket. Now it is used to refer to garbage food scavenged, recooked and resold to poor people. In her short story collection, Eileen Tabios uses both contexts to bridge her personal history with Martial Law and add texture to our already failed historical memory. These stories matter to us more than ever, as many Filipinos struggle under the tight grip of another populist, and as many more have forgotten that we have seen this before, and time is eating its own tail. Tabios begins her poignant collection with a “mamau” (ghost) and reminds us the historical past is not a ghost but a reality we carry with us if we can only see it as such.
Bino A. Realuyo, author of The Umbrella Country and The Gods We Worship Live Next Door

Pagpag is a provocation, connoting both debris and creative refashioning of memory fragments from the Marcos dictatorship—a legacy that, in the words of Philippine nationalist historian Renato Constantino, remains ruefully “a continuing past,” especially in today’s Duterteland. Here, the remains of the regime, like rescued reminiscences of an era preferred forgotten but not lost are gathered anew in a compelling telling, this time from the lens of a diasporic exile. In this volume, Eileen Tabios captures in scintillating prose the sights, smells, sounds, and ghostly hauntings of that era and offers back to the homeland, as in the gift of a proverbial balikbayan box, her reflections both heartfelt and wrenching.”
S. Lily Mendoza, Executive Director, Center for Babaylan Studies, Associate Professor in Culture and Communication, Oakland University, and author of Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities

In these stories Eileen Tabios explores the ways in which the collective experience of Filipinos echoes through generations, following us even if—or when—we drift worlds away from the archipelago. What is the legacy of government cruelty and greed, of poverty, struggle, unwanted uprooting? In the first story (“Negros”), the abject hunger of an ancestor reaches through time to shape the mind and body of a young boy. In the last story (“On Imitating a Rhinoceros”), a daughter watches helplessly as her old father clings to a wavering belief that leaving his homeland was the right thing to do. I recognize myself and my family in these pieces; I am seen and heard. Moving and necessary, this collection invites the reader to grapple with truths in all their difficult, complex beauty.
Veronica Montes, author of Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories and The Conquered Sits at the Bus Stop, Waiting

In this collection of short fiction, author Eileen Tabios contemplates the terrible distances (emotional as well as physical) imposed on Philippine citizens by the country’s colonial governments and postcolonial dictators, abetted by global capitalism. In protest, the central metaphor of Pagpag, “scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempt to clean and re-cook for new meals,” speaks to various forms of hunger as well as desire for transformation. Brilliantly weaving comedy, satire and elegy, the stories echo tricksterish folk tales, but with a contemporary, introspective edge. Don’t be fooled by seemingly nostalgic peeks into the Philippines’ archipelagic culture: this book cuts deep into long-held illusions, exposing painful truth.
Jean Vengua, author of Prau and CORPOREAL, and editor of Local Nomad

Available Samples Online:
An abbreviated version of “My City of Baguio” is at Positively Filipino, Jan. 22, 2020. An earlier version of the same story is at Otoliths, 2006.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eileen R. Tabios has released about 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries and cyberspace. PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora is her third fiction collection. She also recently finished her first long-form novel, DoveLion. Her wide-ranging body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku, a 21st century diasporic poetic form (whose 15-year anniversary in 2018 was celebrated in the U.S. with exhibitions, a new anthology, and readings at the San Francisco and St. Helena Public Libraries) as well as a first poetry book, Beyond Life Sentences, which received the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry. Translated into ten languages, she has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays. Her writing and editing works have received recognition through awards, grants and residencies. More information is available at http://eileenrtabios.com


Paloma books in libraries

You can check these out today! Library of CongressClose Apart by Robert Cowan (poetry)Shellback by Jeanne-Marie Osterman (poetry)*Seven Skirts by Jacki Rigoni (poetry)The Good Mother of Marseille by Christopher X. Shade (novel)Shield the Joyous by Christopher X. Shade (poetry)The Ruin of Everything by Lara Stapleton (short stories)Pagpag: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora by EileenContinue reading “Paloma books in libraries”

Osterman reads Tabios!

More information about Eileen R. Tabios’ short story collection, Pagpag, here. More information about Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s poetry collection, Shellback, here.

Maileen Hamto reviews PAGPAG

From THE HALO-HALO REVIEW: It’s an unfortunate and ugly reality that many people in the homeland are so destitute, so poor, that they make a necessary living out of garbage. The practice of “pagpag” involves going through mountains of trash to salvage food and anything else than can be saved to be resold, reused, orContinue reading “Maileen Hamto reviews PAGPAG”

Pushcart Prize Nominees

We’re very pleased to announce our 2021 PUSHCART PRIZE nominees! MARCELINAFrom Marcelina by Jean Vengua (September 2020) WHILE YOU RESTFrom Shield the Joyous by Christopher X. Shade (April 2020) THE LAWNMOWERFrom Shield the Joyous by Christopher X. Shade (April 2020) IN THE ALABAMA TOWN WHERE I GREW UP, THE TOWN SQUARE WASN’T A SQUARE. From Shield theContinue reading “Pushcart Prize Nominees”

GLIMPSES

GLIMPSES
A Poetic Memoir
(Through the MDR Generator)
Leny Mendoza Strobel

ISBN 978-1-7323025-8-7
Release Date: August 1, 2019
Pages: 114
Price: $18.00
Distributors: Bookshop, Amazon, B&N, Ingram (wholesale)

Cover art by Leny Mendoza Strobel
Book cover design by Perla Ramos Paredes Daly, Omehra Sigahne
Interior Design by C. Sophia Ibardaloza

Paloma Press is delighted to announce the release of GLIMPSES: A Poetic Memoir (Through the MDR Generator) by Leny Mendoza Strobel, which began as a daily meditation practice of reading a poetic line from Eileen Tabios’ Murder, Death, Resurrection, and then allowing the heart’s response to flow without censorship. The meditations offer us a glimpse of Leny’s life-long reflections on love, history, decolonization, healing trauma, finding belonging and purpose, and building community. 20% of book sales from today (July 27, 2019) through December 31st will go to the Center for Babaylan Studies. Get your copy now!

ADVANCE WORDS

Leny Mendoza Strobel has created diary tracks in which the warm luminosity of her words emerges at the fertile intersection of the intimately personal and our historical and cultural stories. Her poetic sentences catalyze disturbances in our habits of perception and thought that open doors to healing in surprising ways and places. Hers is a voice urgently needed in our polarized times.
Jurgen W. Kremer, Ph.D., author of Ethnoautobiography: Stories and Practices for Unlearning Whiteness, Decolonization, Uncovering Ethnicities

In her innovative memoir, Glimpses: A Poetic Memoir (through the MDR Generator), Leny Strobel reveals connections that run deep in our collective memories in a collage of personal narratives. Through an intimate conversation between the author’s experiences with lines from poet Eileen Tabios’ Murder Death Resurrection (MDR), Strobel assembles a complex montage of a woman’s life, fully lived. This inventive form challenges conventional approaches to memoir writing as it is born of a collaborative act that is at once as courageous and vulnerable as it is inventive and beautiful.
M. Evelina Galang, author of Lolas’ House: Filipino Women Living with War

Leny Mendoza Strobel writes as she lives, with fierce, heartfelt inquiry and an ethic of generosity. In this precious collection, her wisdom is a spiraling dance, owing within, between, and beyond mundane and sacred, self and kapwa, prosaic and poetic. Leny continues to feed us all — ancestors, spirits, and kindred — at this altar of the word, powerful and vulnerable offerings.
M.Rako Fabionar, Regenerative Entrepreneur and Healer

For three months, before going to bed, Leny Mendoza Strobel made a date with Poetry. Glimpses: A Poetic Memoir, contains what emerged from her listening to “what’s to come in the sacredness of it all.” The root of the word memoir—a kind of record, a memory—is cleverly positioned with poetry lines which begin with, “I forgot…” and which also serve as the catalyst for characteristically deep contemplations [her “holy tunganga” (gaze)], and the emergence of stories between forgetting and remembering again. Many of the pieces muse about learning: “learning that we are energy and consciousness”; “learning to tune in more closely to the scientific fact… that we are made of stars and stardust”—the attunements of a scholar and her deeply beautiful sensitivities toward nature’s rhythms and message.
Lisa Suguitan Melnick, author of #30 Collantes Street

As soon as I started reading Leny’s journal entries, triggered as she puts it by Eileen Tabios’ poems, I immediately felt I was in for an intimate journey with an old friend who has been a fount of wisdom through her own research, revelations and reflections. Her book, Coming Full Circle, opened my eyes that welled with tears when I realized for the first time why Filipinos believed they were doomed to fail, and how this insidious belief defined our outlook, making us feel small and inferior. Leny’s latest book, Glimpses: A Poetic Memoir, reminds me yet again of the power of “indigenous consciousness,” of recovering our memories, and of remembering and rewriting our stories. In this context, I am able to view past incidents and images in my life with a deeper understanding of my own history and what that means moving forward. Leny’s honest and open evocations of her own truths as she crafts “a new way of being in the world,” profoundly speak to me as I sort through my own encounters and entanglements, particularly as they relate to our shared passion of building community.
Jon Melegrito, Civil Rights Advocate and Editor-in-Chief of Manila Mail (Washington, D.C.)

GLIMPSES provides an insightful, poetic journey into Leny Mendoza Strobel’s memories, musings, reveries, impressions, perceptions, and inventions as encouraged by Eileen Tabios’s MDR poetry generator. Journal entry for 4.3.18 struck a chord: “I forgot when memory became a colander with generous holes / And perhaps we need those big-holed colanders as sieves for unwanted memories of a broken past / But wait / Why call the past ‘broken’? /…Sure the past reeks of colonial ventures that trampled islands and archipelagos / But we are still here / We have not been made to disappear /…Everything can be reframed / Stories can be edited /…I’ve been pondering this for a while now / I think of Tongva elder, L Frank, saying: They’ve taken nothing from us. We are still stardust / Remember your strength / Remember your Source / How do we tell this to each other?” Maraming salamat for sharing your heart with us. Yes, we are still stardust.
Abraham Ignacio, Librarian, Filipino American Center, San Francisco Public Library

Liberating. Poetic. So beautiful that each page choked me with different emotions—love, pain, happiness, anger, hatred. She reminds me that wherever we are, our ‘womanity’ and the strength that we have inherited from our ancestors cannot be taken away from us. Through her poetic memoir, Dr. Strobel speaks to us through her beautifully and painfully woven experiences. And we can talk back. She has the answers. Dr. Strobel’s journey mirrors the diaspora of a Filipino woman in search of the self and finding the self that has become stronger in a foreign land despite the struggles and questions. I read her words with my heart.
Eunice Barbara C. Novio, educator, journalist, and recipient of the 2017 Plaridel Award, Philippine American Press Club

Taking another poet’s lines as her starting points, Leny creates mediations and meditations within which she tells her story and invites her readers to come in and dwell a while to contemplate what she has created: a retreat, a cocoon, a place in which to see oneself and to be seen, from which to spin forward and inspire other poetic awakenings.
Myriam J. A. Chancy, Guggenheim Fellow, author of The Loneliness of Angels, and HBA Chair in the Humanities, Scripps College

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leny Mendoza Strobel is Professor Emeritus of American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University. She is also one of the Founding Directors of the Center for Babaylan Studies. Her books, journal articles, online media presence reflect her decades-long study and reflections on the process of decolonization and healing of colonial trauma through the lens of indigenous perspectives. She is a grandmother to Noah and she tends a garden and chickens with Cal in Northern California. More information is available at https://www.lenystrobel.com/.


Racial Justice Allies features Leny Mendoza Strobel’s GLIMPSES

In Glimpses: A Poetic Memoir (Through the MDR Generator), Filipino-American author, academic and local community leader Leny Mendoza Strobel takes an arguably more personal approach to this work than in her previous writing. However, as the reader soon learns, the distinctions between the personal and the political, between poetics and polemics, and between the individualContinue reading “Racial Justice Allies features Leny Mendoza Strobel’s GLIMPSES”

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DIASPORA: VOLUME L

DIASPORA: VOLUME L
Ivy Alvarez

ISBN: 978-1-7323025-5-6
Release Date: April 2019
Pages: 62
Price: $16.00
Distributors: Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram (wholesale), Paloma Press, & others

Paloma Press is pleased to release Diaspora: Volume L by Ivy Alvarez.

Ivy’s concept of reclaiming and engaging past and current Tagalog idioms, and re-defining them creatively using poetry, is invaluable given that Tagalog has been standardized and/or code-switched owing to purism, systematic drifts, and recent migrations. For example, “Lígaw-tingín” (courting look), a colloquial phrase most likely popularized before the Fourth Republic, has become an elevated literary idiom, laden with tradition, history, and culture. “Lumang tugtugin” (literally, old music), however, is redolent of a postcolonial past, an idiom favored around the time Bienvenido N. Santos left the Philippines as a pensionado. Ivy gilds it with a rhythm that rises with belly strength:

What are these seconds you bring and sing? Can’t even remember when last I sinned. This morning? I’m full of questions. Split my belly and you’ll find ‘em, stem to stern. Around the kernel, a corner of truth, sharp as tax. When humidity burns, it’s time to get out, time to subtract myself from danger’s path, steam-rollering like a curling iron set too hot on my neck, your neck, our all-too-tender necks.

Ivy approaches her lexicographic work inventively and with absolute command of her craft, “Every sense amplified to the level of prey, skittish, almost British, endangered, barely keeping the heart at bay from one’s throat.”

ADVANCE WORDS

Diaspora: Volume L wanders beyond the bounds and parallels of what we imagine translation can do. Ivy Alvarez revels in new forms and fictions, disquiet and desire. And she affirms that our words and wants are far from static, that we are “some foreign matter // a movement / from one state / to another.” I am reminded of Fernando Pessoa’s musing that “nothing is, everything coexists” in reading these poems: how Alvarez illuminates that promise, writing with “the door / opening and closing,” inventing her own lyric vernacular, its meanings in-flux and brilliant.
R.A. Villanueva, author of Reliquaria

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ivy-Alvarez-photo-by-Veronika-Mironova-600x904Ivy Alvarez is a Fellow of MacDowell Colony (US), and Hawthornden (UK). Her work is widely published and anthologised, including two appearances in the Best Australian Poems series. With poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean, she is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and a recipient of grants from Creative New Zealand, Literature Wales, and the Australia Council for the Arts. She is also a mentor for the New Zealand Society of Authors’ Youth Mentorship Programme; an editor for the NZ Poetry Society’s magazine, a fine line; a guest co-editor for Verity La.’s Discoursing Diaspora; and a former international editor for the first Aotearoa New Zealand edition of Atlanta Review. Born in the Philippines and raised in Australia, Ivy Alvarez lived in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, before moving to Auckland, New Zealand in 2014.


Paloma Press’ 2020 Pushcart Prize Nominees

Congratulations! DIASPORA: VOLUME L BY IVY ALVAREZ “Lalabasan” ELSEWHEN BY ROBERT COWAN “Advice for Ninjas” THE GOOD MOTHER OF MARSEILLE BY CHRISTOPHER X. SHADE “The Two Men of Rue Saint-Ferréol” “The Stationer” GLIMPSES BY LENY STROBEL “#62” “#1,155”

Harana Poetry reviews Ivy Alvarez’s Diaspora: Volume L

Ivy Alvarez’s fifth collection, Diaspora: Volume L, is made up of beautiful vignettes with Filipino sayings at their cores, which portray charged moments in romantic relationships and everyday interactions with the world. Each title is an idiom, and acts as the linguistic scaffold around which a poem is deftly built… continue reading.