VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets
Editor: Eileen R. Tabios
Meritage Press (San Francisco & St. Helena, 2014)
Book’s Retail Price: $To Come
Online Orders: Lulu____(To Come)
To order directly from publisher, contact MeritagePress@aol.com
Super Typhoon Haiyan—known as Yolanda in the Philippines—was the largest storm ever recorded on land, affecting over 11 million people who became homeless, widowed, orphaned or saw their beloveds die or themselves died 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 homeland 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 132 poems is released by Meritage Press (San Francisco & St. Helena), and can be ordered online through the press’ Lulu account at ___[To Come]__. All of the book’s profits will be donated to those helping the survivors of Yolanda. Recipients will be listed on the book’s website as they are known—and already includes Shelter Box, a disaster relief charity that was on the ground in Yolanda’s immediate aftermath.
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
While the anthology was geared for fundraising, the result also showcases the wealth of talent in Filipino poetry, a category that has not received sufficient attention within the poetry world. While 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).
Additionally, while each individual poem may be powerful, the poems together create a sum-effect greater than its parts. What results is both novelistic in scope and urgent in communicating the news. For the news continue beyond the actual incident and aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. The news continue about how our actions degrade the environment and each other, making likely the return of Yolanda’s brethren…unless we amend our actions. 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. For the eagerness with which Filipino poets embraced this project manifests the indigenous Filipino trait of Kapwa.
Meritage Press and the poets in VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA appreciate your support. We look forward to engaging with you … including having our poems being read by you.
The anthology will take a couple of months to put together. We hope to have your support when it is released as, unfortunately, it's almost guaranteed that Typhoon Yolanda's survivors will still require support several months or years from the time of the devastation.