Saturday, June 16, 2007


Jennifer Bartlett is writing on identity in poetry, such as HERE. A thoughtful post -- she goes into the conflicted state of *nonetheless* agreeing for her first poetry book to identity her as a disabled poet: "UNM Press has decided (and I have too) to make it clear that I am disabled in the hopes of making the book stand out. But, again, I'm not entirely comfortable with this, ..."

Identity has often worked for me in a different way -- perhaps an opposite way from Jennifer's and her publisher's hope that it will help promote her book. When I overtly identify my book as from a Filipino poet, that tends to make that book less attractive. I once sent a book description over to a wholesaler for its catalogue, presenting that book as relating to Filipino decolonialism. That reference was edited out.

So what does it mean that when I promote myself as a Filipino poet, my book becomes less palatable (at least to the U.S. market which is my books' primary market)?

It's a rhetorical question. I know what it means.

It'll be interesting to see if THE LIGHT will blind people, or open their eyes...

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