For The City That Nearly Broke Me

For The City That Nearly Broke Me by Barbara Jane Reyes

Posted on July 23, 2012

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Incantatory, gritty, at times heartbreaking, and, yes, celebratory, these poems are amulets for our broken world.
R. Zamora Linmark, author of Drive-By Vigils and The Evolution of a Sigh. 

BJReyes Photo_credit Shirley Lim

Scribe of global soundscape, Reyes builds upon the heartbeat of literary and blood ancestors, feeding her “mythic thirst for home” as she journeys back to cities devastated and torn by the politics of race, history, class and sexuality, greeting her like an outsider. And still, despite the cities’ fall from grace, each gritty image, drawn on multiple languages and rhythms, is a love song, a reflection, a naming of the self. Bittersweet, powerful and precise, I adore this important book and the work of Barbara Jane Reyes.
M. Evelina Galang, author of Her Wild American Self and One Tribe.

In this fierce, feisty, anaphora-filled shakedown serenade, Reyes hard-scrambles our senses to position us firmly in poetry meant to electro-charge our attention real. This is a fine book of verse, reminiscent of Juan Felipe Herrera, yet singly Reyes. The supple lines ring endless rounds, bringing us bits of battle-singing and words wound true. Packs an amazing delivery and guarantees impact.
Allison A. Hedge Coke, author of Dog Road Woman and Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer.


The subversive discourse in the street verse of her latest chapbook For The City that Nearly Broke Me reads like a Cosmopolitan-cadenced “Howl,” wherein the best minds of Reyes’ generation have not at all been destroyed by machismo and an antiquated but ever in effect old boys’ system, but have become determined to invert this chronic chauvinism on all shores.—Roberto Ontiveros, Current

Reviews and Other Links
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Barbara Jane Reyes

poeta y diwata

This is the final push, folks! Here is the latest flier for Pinay Lit at University of San Francisco.
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: August 8, 2014, 11:15 pm
There is a widespread perception of “the editor is the enemy because he is the gatekeeper,” that editorial process stifles our true voices and our truths. And rather than rush to debunk the perception of the editor as gatekeeper and stifler of truth, I want to say that I am interested in how experienced, knowledgeable readers, teachers, mentors work to support us by bringing us into focus, by pushing us into more pointed, more thoughtful exploration of language, speaker, perspective-position-argument, nuance, complexity, layers, texture. This goes much deeper, well beyond expressing one’s truth. In a well written, well composed, well edited work, one’s truth is laid bare and tested. Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: July 28, 2014, 7:13 pm
From Vince Gotera: The “virtual blog tour” is an excellent, friendly way for writers, artists, and other creative folks to bring attention to their own work as well as that of others. It begins with an invitation from another artist… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: July 15, 2014, 7:41 pm
Elsewhere on the interwebs, someone asks how our Filipino American community orgs. are evolving with the times. Given technology. Given other innovations. Given all of this change, how do we garner community engagement, and (how) can we sustain it? How… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: July 1, 2014, 7:59 pm
PAWA PINAY Lit and Creative Writing: 10-week online course In this ten week online course, we will be reading, viewing, and hearing Pinay narratives (and some narratives about Pinays), writing creative responses, formulating questions and generating writing prompts from our… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: June 28, 2014, 5:57 pm
Some questions I’ve been cataloguing, for Pinay Lit class: What is women’s work? Who gets to write books? Who has access to literacy? Who has access to formal education? To secondary education? To college education? Who has access to (constitutional… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: June 16, 2014, 7:48 pm
Anthem recently interviewed me for his Art Of Hustle podcast (this is forthcoming in the next couple of weeks), and this was a great conversation as always. We remembered that I was the first working artist interviewed for Art of Hustle, back… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: June 12, 2014, 3:56 pm
Yeah, lately I have been averse to talking about the work, versus just working. But today, I’d like to inventory or outline some things I am thinking, and/or planning on doing. I haven’t taken any writing workshops since I graduated.… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: May 27, 2014, 7:00 pm
They seem to come out in 14-line measures: We are devastated by the thought of you, Sweetie We are rooting for you to defy the odds, Sweetie We are entitled to your story is ours too, Sweetie We are deconstructing… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: May 20, 2014, 6:13 pm
Revision: When Sweetie was born, the soundtrack of fetid rain clacking on corrugated roofs. Not roofs, really, but slattern shacks tied with plastic shopping bag rope binding Corner posts, not really posts but demolished parts stacked, rebar reaching as Petrified… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: May 16, 2014, 6:16 pm