The spring 1992 issue features new writing from the Philippines, compiled by writer Alfred A. Yuson. The work of all eight Filipino poets has a sense that Luis Cabalquinto lyrically describes in his poem “Alignment” as a clarity that overtakes the traveler in the world. All of the stories lead us to arresting moments: Jesus begins to argue with us from the Cross, a debutante’s evening dress goes up in flames, the mystery in the forest is revealed, a boy who says nothing sings everything—and a coming eclipse foreshadows the spiritual transformation of an entire city.

Three of the works-in-progress are excerpts from novels—David Michael Kaplan’s “July Nineteen Fifty-nine,” Joyce Carol Oates’s “You Can’t Catch Me,” and Molly Giles’s “Iron Shoes.” One, Edward Smallfield’s “Secret Lives,” is a one-page work of fiction that may develop into a chapbook. Boonie Pike’s “The Homecoming” is a memoir in progress.

Also included are works by American poets—from the Alaskan Range of Ken Waldman to the Cuban memories of Ricardo Pau-Llosa. New poems by Michael McPherson appear here, as well as the work of regular MANOA contributor Walter Pavlich.

The visual art in this issue was created by late Filipino filmmaker Lino Brocka and by photographer Michael Nye. We include stills from Brocka’s movie sets to accompany film critic Augustin Sotto’s note, “Remembering Lino Brocka.” The photos by Nye record the toll that the Persian Gulf War took on the Kurdish people in Kurdistan, Iraq, and are described in his essay “Portraits: Don’t Forget Who We Are.”

Spring 1992 (vol. 4, no. 1)
213 pages

“It isn’t so much that our heritage has seen an opulence of small opportunities, rather that we have remained vulnerable, as a former colony twice over, to an apparently inexhaustible feast of influences. And we have come to believe that our relatively young and mixed-up culture invites some compensation, such as the luxury of a choice between the vernacular and a second language. In this regard, the matter of bilingualism, though often perceived as a problem, is also regarded as a source of strength.”

—from “The Carnival That Leads
to Deep Silence” by Alfred A. Yuson

“What I am about to set down consists of three stories I had originally wanted to write separately. How I came to think of weaving them together is not easy to answer. The first two were stories I had heard almost twenty years ago and could not get around to writing for such an unbelievable length of time. One day I understood that I'd never be able to write them and that perhaps this was the story I could write.…When days passed and the terror of the empty, white paper began to grow on me, when I began to suspect that this new story—the story of a writer and the two stories he could not get around to writing for twenty years—was headed for the same fate, the same limbo, I decided to hurl myself into the wilderness. In the confusion I involuntarily recovered two memories—one resplendent and the other shameful.”

—from “Stories” by Cesar Ruiz Aquino

“Knuckles whitened on the railings
as the ship listed, and all they saw
on one side was ocean and on the other sky.
Was this la hora de los mameyes,
the moment of truth? How can one pass
the test of certain doom
when the outcome is determined by chance?”

—from “La Hora de los Mameyes”
by Ricardo Pau-Llosa

“The Kurdish portraits appearing here were made in Zakhu and surrounding villages, in Iraq, in May and June of 1991. The reports suggest that after the major fighting in the Persian Gulf War was over, one faction of the Kurds living in Iraq resisted Saddam Hussein’s rule, and declared Kurdish independence. They wanted human rights. The Iraqi army responded by indiscriminately bombing the Kurdish villages. Thousands died. The Kurdish families fled over the mountains into Syria and eastern Turkey. By the time I arrived in Iraq, most of the families had returned to camps in northern Iraq. Outside Zakhu, there were some 40,000 families in in tents. There were no homes to return to.”

—from ““Portraits: Don’t Forget Who We Are” by Michael Nye

Photographs of Kurdish girls
by Michael Nye

Michael Nye is a recipient of a 1991–1992 mid-American NEA photography fellowship. He has a one-person exhibition forthcoming at the Memphis Brooks Musem of Art.

 

About the guest editor: Alfred A. Yuson is the author of two poetry collections, Sea Serpent and Dream of Knives, and a novel, Great Philippine Jungle Energy Cafe. Two other books, a collection of short fiction and a collection of journalistic essays, were published last year. He is also a contributing columnist for the Manila Chronicle an chairman of the Philippine Literary Arts Council, which publishes the poetry quarterly Caracoa.