Verses typhoon Yolanda: A storm of Filipino poets
MANILA, Philippines – Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) was the largest storm ever recorded on land – affecting over 14 million people. Those who survived became homeless, widowed, orphaned, and saw their loved ones die 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 Philippines 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. All of the book’s profits will be donated to relief organizations and others helping the survivors of Yolanda.
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).
Each individual poem may be powerful, but the poems together create a sum-effect greater than its parts. What results is both novelistic in scope and urgent in communicating the news. 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. The eagerness with which Filipino poets embraced this project manifests the indigenous Filipino trait of Kapwa.
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. – Rappler.com