Thursday, October 22, 2009


I always appreciate being invited by U.C. Berkeley to do something or other. Throughout my high school days, I'd always hoped to attend UCB. Though they accepted me, I thought to go to Barnard College just because I was curious about New York City. I thought I'd transfer to UCB after my freshman year but it took me 20 years instead to move to the Bay Area. Still, U.C. Berkeley is a sentimental favorite...

...which is another reason I am so gratified and honored that I've been asked to speak next Wednesday at the UC Berkeley Day of Filipino Women 2009. Maraming Salamat!

After I finished bragging about this singular honor to Achilles (that's moi dog slumbering by my ankles who barely flapped a tail in response), I got curious as to why they asked me -- well, apparently, it's for my "empowering poetry." Now that really made me preen. I generally refuse to tell people (tho occasionally lapse on) how to engage with/through poetry (whether it's the writing and reading of, let alone the responding to, poems) -- so when they themselves read mi poemas and the effect is empowerment, I raise my hands in a Mabuhay! Didacticism loses again!

I'll be carpooling to UCB with fellow speaker Leny M. Strobel, which is not just fortunate for the Berkeley audience but for me. Because the theme this year is "On Becoming Matalina" (which latter word is a feminizing of matalino, or intelligent). I am sure Leny has got intelligence covered...I'll just, as is moi wont, blather. I have the beginning of my speech -- I'ma thinking along the lines of:
There is a particular difficulty to being a "Filipina poet" -- a position I've observed to be outside of historical/current praxis of so-called "ethnic" or "ethnic-American" poetry....

Wait, that sounds boring. Perhaps I'll just dance. In any event, because I'm not intelligent, I have to interrupt moiself here to look up the definition of "praxis"...all these words so love to jam into the Chatelaine's Brain and then when she finally spits them out, she's forgotten what they mean -- so focused is she instead on, on, on... why, yes: CHAMPIONSHIP SOCCER!

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