Thursday, March 09, 2006

International Women's day at Manilatown

Had a grand time reading with Annabelle Udo, Evelie Delfino Sales, and Janet Stickmon at Manilatown in the brand new I-Hotel. It seemed like all of us were just fighting time and traffic to get there and I'm glad we did.

Was sad to hear that Annabelle's harddrive died and took with it all her writing. But was happy to hear the writing that has come since then. Her poetic restaurant critique of a Filipino soul food restaurant made my stomach churn. May all the poems she lost return to her twice fold! And I am amazed at all the work Annabelle does to bring poets into venues all over the bay area. She is poetry.

Evelie told me she's been letting go of alot of stuff including a last name. She's looking good, lighter, brighter. I've watched Evelie sing for years, must be 10 years now. And I've heard her sing these songs before, and she's always had a wonderful voice, but I have to say her voice is coming from a different place now, a deeper place, a much more powerful place. There's somethng more that wasn't there before. And for everyone listening this is a very very good thing.

Now, Janet, I've been looking forward to hearing her read ever since Nancy Hom got her on the list of readers. I saw her perform at Pusod a couple of years ago, but then got a chance to know her when she managed to find time to take a few kali classes from me. In "You and I", even when she's dealing with the issue of a woman losing her dignity and pride to collect cans for her family, she's able to bring forth a great deal of tenderness ("But anak, I was always happy with you"). I especially liked her poem about long jump, which really captured the freedom and emotion of jumping that even a non-jumper could relate to.

We may have to do it all again, just so Janet who rushed in from class can hear the rest of us read. It was a fun event. A chance to reconnect with people and bring life to the nascent space that is Manilatown.

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