Tanaga

My work appears in Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine for the first time! I am completely astounded. My heartfelt thanks to the editors who read and curated the issue with such care and thoughtfulness.

My poem is part of a collaborative work with former Virginia Poet Laureate Sofia Starnes, former Delaware Poet Laureate JoAnn Balingit and the current Poet Laureate of Virginia Luisa A. Igloria. It’s so moving to see how our poems are linked by the indigenous Filipino poetry form Tanaga as well as the mighty Pacific from which we all came.

This poem pays tribute to Ms. Katy de la Cruz, Queen of Philippine Jazz (and my grandmother’s favorite singer) back when the Philippines was the Jazz Capital of Asia. But I also drew from my father’s love and deep longing for the ocean and the small fishing village of his youth.

This poem is also about ecosystems, and I’d like to dedicate it to the late Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III (Noynoy Aquino / #PNoy) who “stood up for countries most vulnerable to climate change” and “for a world that is more just and more sustainable.”