Sunday, April 6, 2014


De Anza College: “Unnatural Disaster: Typhoon Haiyan” is a cross-disciplinary curriculum project involving faculty participants from the English, Women’s Studies, Political Science and Environmental Studies departments.  The project will include a teach-in, a research project, an action project and a Spring 2014 Benefit Concert. 

[UPDATE: VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA Editor Eileen R. Tabios and contributors Michelle Bautista and Aileen Ibardaloza will participate in the May 31, 2014 Benefit -- scroll below.]

We’re delighted to share that several poems from VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA are being used in this project.

(click on image to enlarge)

The organizers are affiliated with South Bay Task Force Haiyan and work with
 National Alliance for Filipino Concerns-USA for donations.


Poets from VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA will participate in the May 31, 2014 Benefit at De Anza College, from 7-9 pm.  The VTY poets will do a reading and the anthology will be available for sale.  Participants are:

Michelle Bautista is a poet and 3rd degree black belt in the Philippine Martial Art of Kali. Her current projects include a memoir/instructional martial arts book tentatively titled, Mandirigmang Babae: journey of the woman warrior and multi-lingual children's ebooks. Author of Kali's Blade (Meritage Press, 2006), she lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and newborn daughter.

Aileen Ibardaloza is the Associate Editor of Our Own Voice Literary Ezine ( Her works have appeared in various online and print media including the anthology, Hanggang sa Muli: Homecoming Stories for the Filipino Soul. Her first poetry collection, Traje de Boda, was published by Meritage Press in 2010.

VTY Editor Eileen R. Tabios has released more than 20 print, three electronic and 1 CD poetry collections; an art essay collection; a “collected novels” book; a poetry essay/interview anthology; a short story collection; and an experimental biography. Recipient of the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry for her first poetry collection, she has crafted an award-winning body of work that is unique for melding ekphrasis with transcolonialism. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Tagalog, Japanese, Portuguese, Polish, Greek, computer-generated hybrid languages, Paintings, Video, Drawings, Visual Poetry, Mixed Media Collages, Kali Martial Arts, Music, Modern Dance and Sculpture.  She also has edited, co-edited or conceptualized ten anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays.  She maintains a bibliophilic blog, “EileenVerbs Books“; edits Galatea Resurrects; steers the publisher Meritage Press; serves as Library Director for BIBLIOTHECA INVISIBILIS; and frequently curates thematic online poetry projects including LinkedIn Poetry Recommendations.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


by Eileen Tabios

…the largest storm ever recorded on land, with winds nearing 200 mph and gusts up to 235 mph … unleashing massive waves … more than 11 million people affected … homeless … starving … over 6,000 dead (officials reluctant to estimate higher for bad political P.R.) even as 20-30 corpses a day continue to be  discovered under the debris, over half a million missing, about 6 million displaced … not just “dead city” Tacloban but also Samar, Iloilo, Panay Island, ... a newly-born girl dying days after the typhoon despite her mother and father trading shifts in manually blowing air into her lungs because there is no power …

I conceptualized and serve as editor for this anthology—I wish this book did not exist. 

I’m reluctant to write on Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines.  My mood seems to be akin to what’s addressed in this anthology by the poems of Angelo R. Lacuesta and John Robert Luna. I did think of an idea for a poem—I would have titled it “Storm Cloud” and, punning off the term “cloud computing” for describing computing concepts that involve a large number of computers connected through real-time communication networks like the Internet, would have gathered phrases taken from media coverage of the disaster.  It could have been a powerful poem, annotating from survivors’ stories to the lack of body bags to the hunger strike of Yeb Sano (the Philippines' lead negotiator at the United Nations climate change summit in Warsaw) to warnings about corrupt politicians using relief donations to promote themselves or punish perceived government rebels to the mobilized return of volunteer nurses who had been part of the Philippines’ “export” of health care workers to Western countries to the generous (thank you!) U.S.-American relief activities also serving its government’s military public relations in Asia to the suddenly new orphans…  Well, it was promising but I chose not to write it—instead, my poem-contribution to this book is one written in 2006 after a landslide in Leyte. The older poem relates to Typhoon Yolanda because both events reflect adverse effects of climate change—symbolically, I also choose to “recycle” a poem in a nod for reducing one’s footprint on earth.

Still, a poet’s job is to make a poem and poets are moved to write by what moves them—Typhoon Yolanda and her aftermaths are certainly resonant.  By sharing their poems through this anthology, the Filipino poets were also moved to contribute their efforts towards a fundraising: all book sale profits will be donated to relief organizations helping the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.  (If you would like to use this book as a fundraiser for Yolanda survivors, feel free to contact me at  I’m sure I speak for all the poets when we share our hope that our modest contribution helps, and in this fashion also extend our love to our kababayan.  

One of my contributions as editor is the order in which the 132 poems are presented.  The order reflects a narrative that I started to feel surface as I read through all of the poems.  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.  These damaging actions even confuse our young—one of the poets in this book is 19-year-old Jasmin Ado and she appropriately asks: How can elders (parents, teachers, friars) teach the youth “to treat people nice and kind” when “my eyes witness // how indulgence / squandered the / consciousness of many— // I see their victims / through the television, / newspapers and even / my windows & / my windshield”?  How, indeed?  The answer, or part of it, can certainly be read in Von Torres’ poem “tahimik” (which translates from Tagalog as “quiet” or “silent”):

quiet ourselves from money
quiet ourselves from fear
quiet ourselves from shame
quiet ourselves from time
quiet ourselves from religion
quiet ourselves from power
quiet ourselves from silence


North American Review (NAR) is the oldest literary magazine in the U.S., founded in Boston in 1815 by journalist Nathan Hale and others.  And NAR has taken notice with a review which we reprint below, with NAR's and Editor Vince Gotera's permission:

Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets, ed. by Eileen R. Tabios, Meritage Press, 2014, 220p, paper $20.00 • Note: I review this book although I am in it because all profit from the book goes to groups engaged in disaster relief in the Philippines. • This anthology collects literary poems by Filipinos at home and also in the diaspora. Many of the "big names" of Filipino poetry are here along with many emerging and also beginning poets; I won't name them because of the occasion of the gathering. What's important is that these poets came together in community and solidarity so that poetry can achieve what it often does better than other genres: to witness, to sing of beauty and of loss, to give solace and succor. Eileen Tabios has ordered the poems into a narrative that includes not only the immediacy of the typhoon and its destruction but also the environmental damage that surely led to its birth. Please buy this beautiful book for yourself and your friends. Thank you.

From "Synecdoche: Brief Book Reviews" by Vince Gotera, North American Review, Volume 299, Number 2, Spring 2014, page 48.

To remind, Verses Typhoon Yolanda can be purchased from Meritage Press' Lulu account HERE

Friday, April 4, 2014



“Lament” by Jennifer Madriaga

Untitled by John Robert Luna

“The Night Before the Storm” by Dante O. Cuales, Jr.

“An Invocation After Haiyan in News Reports” by Janice Lobo Sapigao

“FOR TACLOBAN” by Melissa Rae Sipin

“Dearest Lola Yolanda,” by Cristina Golondrina Rose (Smith)

“SAGBOT” (in Hiligaynon) by Bryan Mari Argos

Aftermath” by Cynthia Buiza

“Hopeful Father” by Yasmin Aguila

NAMES” by Joel Vega                          

“The Diwata” by Mel Garcia Boquiren

Decoupled Couplet” by Leny Mendoza Strobel

“it's cold in the shade” by Hari Malagayo Alluri

SUMPA NG KAWAYAN” (in Filipino) by Joi Barrios-Leblanc

excerpts from “These Days” by T. De Los Reyes

“my wish for you” by Kiana Lin Aiko Del Rosario


"To Survive an Apocalypse, a Girl Needs Light and Power" by Barbara Jane Reyes

“IKMAT SA DAGKO'N BALUD” (in Waray) by Nemesio S. Baldesco, Sr.

Fault Lines” by Chris Santiago

“you bury me” by Arlene Biala

The Basket” by Almira Astudillo Gilles

“Anatomiya ng Paglimot” (in Filipino) by J. G. Dimaranan

“PASTORAL” by Angelo R. Lacuesta

“Green Elegy” by Luis H. Francia

“Panangis San Usa Ka Kaingero Ngan an Balos san Libong Niya” (in Waray) by Ryan Labana

“After the Typhoon” by RA Cruz

“tahimik” by Von Torres

Shh” by Adriene Gail C. Gerolaga

“Bagyo” (in Tagalog, Cebuano & English) by G. Mae Aquino

Where is Lucy?” by Mary Rose B. Manlangit

“Blue” by Emeniano Acain Somoza, Jr.

“AMONG THE LOST AND MISSING” by M. Protacio-De Guzman

“How to Battle a Wind Goddess” by Michelle Bautista

Laro nina Yolanda at Ondoy” (in Filipino) by Ernesto Villaluz Carandang II

“Yolanda” by Amy Ray Pabalan

“Beloved” by Maria Amparo Nolasco Warren

“There was a Purer Time, Love” by Nerisa del Carmen Guevara

Where in the Cloud Are You” by Marc Gaba

“’Balikbayan’” by Lisa Factora-Borchers

Western Eyes on Eastern Skies” by Mary G. Betsayda-Petrie

Sound Bridge” by Sean Labrador y Manzano

“WALANG PAMAGAT” (in Filipino) by Roy Mark Azanza Corrales

“’But you did not die, right?’” by Gracele Canilao-Nieva

“Bagyo” (in Filipino from the Bikol) by Rea Robles

“On First Hearing of Typhoon Yolanda” by Abigail Licad

“To the Donors” by Roger B Rueda

“YOLANDA” by Angelo B. Ancheta

“Original Tempest” by F. Jordan Carnice

“Lahing pagtan-aw sa akong balak nga ‘gikan sa kusog nga hangin ug ulan’” (in Bisaya) by Gratian Paul R. Tidor

“These Days Every Time It Rains My Mother Trembles” by Jim Pascual Agustin

“Here I am” by Xiao Pinpin

“On how to treat people nice and kind” by Jasmin Ado

“Jazmin” by Aileen Ibardaloza

“Saan tayo nagkulang?” (in Filipino) by Rogene A. Gonzales

“Mechanical Heart” by Alex Alvarez

“After the quake” by Denver Ejem Torres

“Mother,” by Tiny Diapana

“Fragments” by Kervin B. Calabias

“Asin Offering” by Clifford Rivera

“After City” by Shane Carreon

“Refraction: A Lesson in Compassion” by Rina Caparras

“Remember Our Dead” by Natalie L. Pardo

“Ecology” by Brylle Bautista Tabora

“disaster” by anggo genorga

“Haiyan Haiku” by Felix Fojas

“’Lito Pa Kung Kulang’” (in Filipino) by Krysha Lyn A. De Juan

“After the Storm” by Lina L. Vergara

“Where Does It End?” by Ronaldo Recto

“Pangutana sa bana ngadto sa nagmug-ot niyang asawa sukad niabot si Yolanda” (in Bisaya) by Jondy M. Arpilleda

“Search” by Glen A. Sales
“Lament on the Roadside” by Luchie Maranan

“TATTOOS” by Jeannefer G. Escandor

“A Storm Advisory (DD/MM/YYYY)” by Tilde Acuña

“Mula rito, hindi ito pagkain pero ipapaabot pa rin” (in Filipino) by Ivan Emil A. Labayne

“An Ode to My Child” by Miguel Cortez

“Watch” by Ivy Alvarez

“Maganda Sampaguita” by Tasha Strand

“Unos” (in Filipino) by Mayu Joaquin

“Dance It” by Julienne M. Urrea

“Death, writing.” by Joyce Marisse Amon

“Beloved” by Yvva Svhovan

“LOST” by Joel Pablo Salud

“Blame Game” by Jose Lorenzo Lim

“’How Many Islands Does Your Country Have?’” by José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes

“By Squander” by Mark Angeles

“A Letter to Conquerors” by Anne Carly Abad

“Dying of Hunger, Dying of Cold” by Allen Severino

“Never give up Juan” by Alain F. Razalan

“The Tempest” by Leonardo O. Munalim

“A Little Hope” by Jomari Micah Laguardia

“Look Ma, No Hands!” by Josiah Deus B. Tiongson

“Sunshine” by Emmanuel Codia

“A poem for Loon” by Juaniyo Arcellana

“Afterward” by Luisa A. Igloria

“Safe” by Pia Marie Besmonte

“Fill the Void” by Crzthlv Bisa

“195MPH Rapture/Malacanang Stall-vation” by Paul Carson

“First trip, last trip” by David S. Maduli

“I was not there” by Raymund P. Reyes

“The Rain Will Keep Us Together” by Hans Lawrence Malgapu

“Hungry, Yes” by J Likha Yatco

“The Flooding That Writes Itself” by Eileen R. Tabios

“Mostly in monsoon weather” by Alma Anonas-Carpio

“Tuklapin Natin ang Langit” (in Filipino) by Joshua Carlo T. Pile

“Sun Shines in the Soul” by  O.H. Vanine

Gumising Ka, Anak” (in Filipino) by Danica Lalimarmo Dela Cruz

“for what it's worth” by Vincent Dioquino

“’through the eye/of a/storm’" by Glynda T. Velasco

“ONE COCONUT TREE” by Melisa Morados Tadeo

“Bamboo Song” by H. Francisco V. Penones Jr.

“Emptiness of Air” by Marianne Villanueva

Bangon kababayan” (in Filipino) by Michiko Karisa M. Buot

“The Discovery of Laughter” by Kristine Ong Muslim

“’Nangumpisal si Yolanda’” (in Sebuano-Bisaya) by Cindy Velasquez

“Hay(na)ku for the Survivors” by Vince Gotera

“About 10,000 Characters” by Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo 

“Hawakan Mo Ang Aking Kamay (Hold My Hand)” By Aimee Suzara

“poem for my people” by Lolan Buhain Sevilla


“‘Nay, ano nangyari?’” by Maria Geneva Reyes

“Rest Your Head, Little Bird” by Natassja Mullen

“Why Were They the Ones” by Weisley Wong

“Before I Go” by Jacob Tolentino

“A Bird Says Danger in the Philippines” by Neil B. Castro

“Poem for Yolanda” by Richelle Anne Caranto

“The Little Voice Lost in Tacloban” by CJ Navalta

“To Those Who Feel” by Richard Caranto

“Isang Bagsak” by Leonora Cruz

“The Waiting Game” by Hali Saldajeno

“Help Become Human” by Raeven Fernandez

“Hunting” by Anonymous

“It Was You” by Lorenzo Finau-Cruz

“Community Poem in the Time of Yolanda”—an exquisite corpse poem by Skyline College’s Fall 2013 PCN Class

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Please enjoy an advance look at the book cover designed pro bono by Michelle Bautista, and utilizing the lovely watercolor image of "Sun. Flower. Storm" by one of the book's contributors, G. Mae Aquino. You can click on images to enlarge them:



The back cover features 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

For more information: