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. 

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.

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.


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
author site

Barbara Jane Reyes

poeta y diwata

I was recently informed by a fellow UC Berkeley Pinay alum, that she will be teaching a Filipino Women Writers course next semester. This, of course, makes me very happy, and it makes me even happier that she is interested… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: October 24, 2014, 8:23 pm
Indeed, I think I had a pretty intense lecture yesterday evening in Pinay Lit, while discussing two stories, Marianne Villanueva’s “Special Research Project,” and “Memorial,” which I think of as companion stories, handling Master Narrative and Counter Narrative, respectively. Master… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: October 17, 2014, 11:08 pm
Goddess of Lost Things Help me to find my innocence. I may have dropped it on the bus last week. I also lost my iPod, and a notebook full of poems. I keep dropping things. I can’t hold it together.… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: October 13, 2014, 8:05 pm
    Friends, I am a Filipino Literature teaching machine! Seriously though. I am so happy to have been offered and scheduled two iterations of Filipino Literature courses next semester for Philippine Studies at USF, who have been treating me… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: October 2, 2014, 5:51 pm
Who was it that got me on alliteration? Anyway. Some things I’ve been thinking, as we’ve spent this week talking about Jessica Hagedorn’s poetry in Danger and Beauty in USF Pinay Lit class. I have decided, as I’ve happily revisited Hagedorn’s… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: September 26, 2014, 9:36 pm
in the old century, a patriarch proclaims, una doctora, no daughter of mine. ambition is for the men to wrangle, viscera of others out of bounds. blood is men’s work, little one. fixing of bodies too big for such small… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: September 22, 2014, 8:56 pm
This semester of teaching Pinay Lit is really affecting me. I believe this has everything to do with the fact that as I am teaching first year (first semester) college students, I am also conducting the much more independent online… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: September 19, 2014, 5:16 pm
Hey, so I have some questions. I feel I am taking a lot for granted right now; it’s been a couple of decades since first encountering Filipino American Literature and Filipino American authors, and there’s so much baggage I’ve worked out… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: August 29, 2014, 6:35 pm
So, it’s been another exhausting beginning of the semester, stressing out about whether or not my First Year Student Seminar (FYS), Pinay Lit, at USF was going to be canceled due to low enrollment numbers. The good news is that I… Continue Reading
Author: Barbara Jane Reyes
Posted: August 25, 2014, 7:05 pm
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