I learn that the writer's pen is a microphone held up to the mouth of ancestors and even stones of long ago.Alice Walker
I am a poet, essayist, and K12 arts-in-education advocate. Since 2004, I have taught creative writing for community organizations across the Mid Atlantic, and led poetry classes in New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and at the University of Delaware as a professor of poetry. I coach Delaware high school students in their performances for the annual Poetry Out Loud national recitation contest. Bringing poetry and the arts into schools is crucial! I know this because both saved me.
Poetry & Nonfiction
My first full-length book of poems, Words for House Story was a 2015 Best Books selection at Beltway Poetry. Earlier chapbooks are Forage, winner of the 2011 Whitebird Chapbook Prize, and Your Heart and How It Works, awarded the 2010 Global Filipino Literary Award. Poems and prose appear in Asian American Literary Review, Poetry, The Common online, McSweeney’s, About Place Journal and Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience.
A self-educated writer
I feel fortunate for the community I’ve found at Hedgebrook and VONA/Voices of Our Nations as well as other retreats and residencies over the past decade. If you are working on a complicated story and want to finish your book (that’s me!) I recommend The Unicorn Author’s Club for their leadership in applying anti-racist principles to sharing our work. The Unicorns helped me grow as a writer, reader, activist and person.
My story about surviving violence and loss, including both parents at the young age of sixteen. Most importantly, it is about the complexity of growing up biracial as a Filipina American in a white world where the Filipinx community has often been rendered invisible by an imperialist view of history. Lastly, my work is about the tenacity of sibling love and the healing bonds of belonging.
I love long road trips, hikes, hanging out with family. Plants, amphibians and reptiles, surfing, drunken noodles and the smell books at the library bring me joy. My “Decades” sisters and community of writers sustain me. I live in the woods of northern Delaware on unceded Leni Lenape homeland, and am grateful for its conservation and stewardship.
I teach creative writing classes such as, for example, Harvest; Practicing Poetry; and The Eye, the World and the Self: Ecopoetry. And for Poetry Month 2022, Visualizing the Work. I continue to teach for Delaware Libraries where we most recently focused on visual poetry and hybrid forms. To request info on virtual classes, contact me.
Read my extended bio.