Release date: December 2007
Distributors: Small Press Distribution, Amazon.com
For more info: MeritagePress@aol.com
Meritage Press is delighted to announce the release of Prau, the inaugural full-length poetry collection by Monterey Bay Area-based poet Jean Vengua. Prau is also the winner of The Filamore Tabios, Sr. Memorial Poetry Prize which was a global competition open to Filipino poets.
Jean Vengua's poetry has been published in many print and online journals and anthologies, including Going Home to a Landscape, Babaylan, x-stream, Interlope, Returning a Borrowed Tongue, Fugacity 05, Sidereality, Moria, and Otoliths, and in her chapbook, The Aching Vicinities (Otoliths). With Mark Young, she is editor of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology and Hay(na)ku Anthology, Volume 2. Jean's essays, articles and reviews on literature and music have been published in many journals including Jouvert, Geopolitics of the Visual (Ateneo Univ. Press), Pinoy Poetics, Our Own Voice, Seattle's International Examiner (Pacific Reader), and CultureCatch.com.
ADVANCE WORDS from prominent poets attest to Prau's power and beauty:
Jean Vengua is a poet of the typo, the missed step, the happy and unhappy accident; in short, she is a poet of linguistic and global migration. Prau moves its reader from the Philippines to the Bay Area and back, "always mining past present tenses." In her aptly titled prose poem, "Momentum," Vengua links Gustav Mahler, her mother, Buffalo Soldiers, Marie Curie, Roberto Matta, and Jose Rizal in a dance of histories real and imagined. The momentum of her writing brings together what is otherwise ripped asunder: "That is to make beautiful where the dissonance begins to tear."
--Susan M. Schultz, Editor of Tinfish Press
Prau sets forth on its courageous voyage through time and spirit with a meditation on the year 1911, the date of the author's mother's birth, that sails us through the worlds of Mahler, Marie Curie, Moses Browning (who invented the M-1911 Colt 45 to kill intransigent Filipino "moros" in Mindanao), the H - Bomb, Matta, the polymath Rizal, Dapitan and the migratory routes of her father's wandering ukulele. Vengua's poems gently yet firmly navigate us towards yet to be explored spheres of psychological and lyrical revelation where "by turns and in rounds we are angry, indifferent and in love" and "without ghosts, the obscurity of night becomes real." This is page-turner, addictive poetry that never falters in its gaze at the integrity of dream and the dream of integrity.
--Nick Piombino, author of Fait Accompli
At last, this pioneer of the literary blog scene who I have followed through cyberspace since the nineties has a book of poetry that I can take home with me! Vengua's poetry delves into the very nature of culture and custom. An ordinary postage stamp triggers a multi-racial dilemma. A personal memento unlocks a sequence of historic ramifications witnessing the first ever explosion of a hydrogen bomb. This is poetry tempered by the movements of New Historicism, Postmodern irony and the culture clash of living in California. Languages abound. A typo or a footnote can become central to the themes she navigates in her agile prau, sorting through truth, folklore, dream, memory, and pure desire.
--Catalina Cariaga, author of Cultural Evidence