Congrats to Joseph O. Legaspi on the UST Press (Manila) publication of his collection Imago!
Imago by Joseph O. Legaspi
Php 350.00 (please send order inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org)
IMAGO is a stunning and, at times, painful love poem to the poet’s Philippine childhood. Set predominantly in a rural landscape, where folk remedies and beliefs still govern the ways of the locals, these remarkable poems are filled with riveting images and paradoxes—scales of milkfishes are “otherworldly raindrops” while boys wear their sister’s or grandmother’s skirts upon circumcision. Reading them is like witnessing a sequence of beautiful rituals. They remind me, once again, of just how much the culture of my and the poet’s first homeland—the one “I never conceived/ of leaving”—is built solidly on preserved customs and rescued traditions: being “baptized by green waters” of boiled guava leaves to remedy the first wounds of manhood, a consultation with a faith healer, a son burrowing his face in his mother’s hair, how it “tickled/ my ears, deadening/ the skeletons/ of nightmares.” Like a shaman, Legaspi returns the commonplace—those everyday moments we take for granted or have forgotten—back to the ceremonious, and the scars and memories to their dreams.
—R. Zamora Linmark