Tuesday, August 2, 2016

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets

Editor: Eileen R. Tabios
Meritage Press (San Francisco & St. Helena, 2014)

Retail Price: $20
Page No.: 220 pages
Publication Date: March 2014
To order directly from publisher, contact MeritagePress@aol.com

Super Typhoon Haiyan—known as Yolanda in the Philippines—was the largest storm ever recorded on land, affecting over 14 million people who became homeless, widowed, orphaned or saw their beloveds die or themselves died in the onslaught of water and wind. Rebuilding efforts are estimated to require about three years with the Philippine government estimating that such efforts will cost about US$8.59 billion.

In response to Yolanda’s devastation, Filipino poets in the homeland and the diaspora rallied to create a fundraising anthology entitled VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets. Edited by poet and editor Eileen R. Tabios, the anthology of 133 poems is released by Meritage Press (San Francisco & St. Helena), and can be ordered online through the press’ Lulu account (see above link). All of the book’s profits will be donated to relief organizations and others helping the survivors of Yolanda.

Book sales and, thus, fundraising proceeds, need not occur simply through online purchases. Meritage Press will work with fundraising organizations or individuals wishing to raise funds for Yolanda’s survivors. Specifically, Meritage Press is willing to send books at cost to fundraisers who then can sell the books at their individual retail price of $20 each. The fundraisers then are free to donate the profits to organizations of their choice who are involved in aiding Yolanda’s survivors. For more information, contact Eileen R. Tabios at MeritagePress@aol.com

While the anthology was created for fundraising, the result also showcases the wealth of talent in Filipino poetry. Although not created for this purpose, this book is a useful showcase of contemporary Filipino poetry. Most poems are written in English, but a few also present examples of some of the Philippines’ languages: Filipino, Cebuano or Bisaya, Waray, and  Hiligaynon (with excerpts from their English translations).

Additionally, while each individual poem may be powerful, the poems together create a sum-effect greater than its parts. What results is both novelistic in scope and urgent in communicating the news. For the news continue beyond the actual incident and aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. The news continue about how our actions degrade the environment and each other, making likely the return of Yolanda’s brethren…unless we amend our actions. The sum of these poem-stories also reflect a different reality from what’s mostly been presented in the media, attesting once again to the importance of Filipinos speaking up on their own behalf.

A Foreword is provided by poet-scholar Leny Mendoza Strobel, whose presence is appropriate due to her ground-breaking studies into the decolonized Filipino self and how pakikipag-kapwa/building-a-beloved-community is an indigenous part of Filipino identity. For the eagerness with which Filipino poets embraced this project manifests the indigenous Filipino trait of Kapwa.

 Here are some “Advance Words” from poet-scholar-critic-editor Susan M. Schultz:

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets:  
This is a book about a destructive typhoon named Yolanda, or Haiyan, which caused massive damage to the Philippines in November, 2013. This is a sprawling book of poems about family, loss, art, economy, greed, love, grief, theft, militarism, colonialism, typhoon tourism, deforestation, stray dogs, survivors, rubble, donations, propaganda, looting, journalists, dead children, helicopters, rain, disembowelment, black bags, conquerors, catastrophe, “the republic of the drowned” (Luisa A. Igloria). This is a book in English, Filipino, Cebuano, Waray, Hiligaynon, Bisaya. This is a book by poets who teach, poets who study, a poet who drives a tricycle for a living, poets who work for NGOs, poets who are school children. This is a book by 133 Filipino poets who live in the Philippines, the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, South Africa, elsewhere.  What is diaspora but the aftermath of storm? All profits from this book will be donated to relief organizations. “Aid is art,” writes Simeon Dumdum, Jr. Now art will aid survivors of the storm.                                                
—Susan M. Schultz, poet and editor of Tinfish

Meritage Press and the poets in VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA appreciate your support. 

CONTACT: MeritagePress@aol.com

For more info on Meritage Press books: http://meritagepress.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Meritage Press is delighted to share that Verses Typhoon Yolanda has been picked up for U.C. Santa Cruz's course "Typhoons, Hurricanes and Tsunamis: Global Disaster Narrative" in their Cultural Studies Department.

Editor Eileen Tabios addressed the book's 133 poets by saying, "You wrote and donated poems to create not just a fundraiser but a needed alternative-to-mainstream-media coverage of Typhoon Haiyan that encompassed colonialism, environmental damage, political corruption, the limits of education and parenting, misogynism ... who knew a typhoon could cover so much? And now you're being studied. Well done!"

Here also is a note from the course's Prof. Danielle Crawford : "I wanted to thank you for sending me a desk copy of Verses Typhoon Yolanda... The collection is both beautiful and moving. It will definitely be a wonderful addition to my class, and will be useful for my research in general.” 

Sunday, May 8, 2016


It's great to know Verses Typhoon Yolanda made it to the collection of POETS HOUSE in New York City!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Congratulations to Arlene Biala who has been appointed the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate for Santa Clara County, CA. Go HERE for the official announcement which mentions her appearance in Verses Typhoon Yolanda!

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Verses Typhoon Yolanda will help inaugurate a new Filipino-American Literature section at the Panorama City Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library System!

VTY will inaugurate the section with several of the editor's books as well! Here's the list:

1 - VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets edited by Eileen R. Tabios
2 - PINOY POETICS: A Coll. of Autobiographical & Critical Essays on Filipino & Filipino American Poetics edited by Nick Carbo
3 - THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New (1998-2010) by Eileen R. Tabios
5 - DAWAC And Other Memoir-Narratives by Beatriz Tilan Tabios
6 - THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY edited by Jean Vengua and Mark Young
7 - THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, VOL. II edited by Jean Vengua and Mark Young
8 – INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems & New 1996-2015 by Eileen R. Tabios

Saturday, October 3, 2015


VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA was represented at the 3rd Filipino American International Book Festival!  Editor Eileen Tabios presented and briefly discussed the anthology at her panel on "Filipino American Literature in the 21st Century," moderated by Cecilia Brainard. Here is a photo coverage:

At Third Filipino-American International Book Festival with Karen Llagas (2nd from left) and starting with 5th from left, Edwin Lozada, Cecilia Brainard, Eileen Tabios, Luis Francia, Barbara Jane Reyes, Erin Kelly, Nikki Alfar, Lisa Suguitan Melnick and Dean Alfar.


Here are some photos from the Book Festival at the Meritage Press Book Table with the fetching assistance of Michelle Bautista's daughter, Gabriella:

(Poet-fictionist Oscar Penaranda with a copy of VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA!)

VTY contributor Amy Pabalan peruses Meritage Press' books!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


We're pleased to announce that Kusog Tacloban is the latest recipient of funds raised from sales of Verses Typhoon Yolanda! From their website:

Join us in our plans for 2015 – providing sustainable, integrated community interventions in Leyte in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan. 
 The goal is to build back better lives. 
 Focus of Kusog Tacloban's next round of projects will be small, rural barangays in Leyte, with the goal of community empowerment and an emphasis on organic farming, sustainable health practices, education, and training in good governance and citizenship.
Some of Kusog Tacloban's projects are described HERE.