‘Aswang’ anthology to launch July 9 at AAWW

Image titled 'Fishers of Men' by Eliseo Art Silva

Image titled ‘Fishers of Men’ by Eliseo Art Silva

Melissa Sipin; Jessica Hagedorn

Melissa Sipin; Jessica Hagedorn

A new anthology of Filipino myths, “Kuwento: Lost Things,” will have an East Coast launch on July 9th at 7 p.m. at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop on 112 West 27th Street.

The anthology spotlights poets, writers and visual artists’ renderings of Philippine mythology, including creation stories, mythical beings and animals, gods and heroes, folktales, folk sayings and songs, alamat (legend), and epics. It features an introduction by Palanca Award Winner, Dean Francis Alfar.

Three contributors from the anthology will be at the event: Anna Alves, PhD student in American Studies at Rutgers University, Newark; Sarah Gambito, cofounder of Kundiman; and Melissa Sipin, co-editor of Kuwento. Jessica Hagedorn, author of the critically acclaimed novel “Dogeaters,” is moderator.

In 2011, Sipin and Cruz began “Kuwento: Lost Things” as a search, an obsession, a need to excavate the stories of anitos (deities) and engkantos (spirits) their families once told them. But, when they first indulged in the idea of curating an anthology on Philippine myths, they were struck by how diverse the retellings were. Was the Aswang a bat-like vampire woman? Or was she a shape-shifting beast, or a giant black bird with a long, fetus-eating tongue? They understood that the stories passed on to them from their fathers and mothers were varied, but also culturally inherited. It was as if their bodies knew the stories, and knew them well.

This book, a diverse collection of eclectic prose and poetry, seeks to ensure that their “invocation of the past is somehow answered, somehow quelled, somehow excavated, and thus, reborn—reborn in our own terms, in our own myths, in our own kuwentos.”

Rachelle Cruz is from Hayward, California. She is the author of the chapbook, “Self-Portrait as Rumor” and “Blood” (Dancing Girl Press 2012). Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in New California Writing 2013 (Heyday Books), Yellow Medicine Review, Jet Fuel Review, The Lit Pub, The Bakery, Stone Highway, The Collagist, Bone Bouquet, PANK Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Splinter Generation, KCET’s Departures Series, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, among others. She hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour on Blog Talk Radio. An Emerging Voices Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow and a VONA writer, she lives and writes in Southern California.

Melissa Sipin is a writer from Carson, California. She won First Place in the 2013 Glimmer Train Fiction Open and her writing has been published, forthcoming in Guernica, Glimmer Train Stories, PANK Magazine, Fjords Review, Eleven Eleven Journal, Hyphen Magazine, sPARKLE+bLINK 52, 580 Split, Plural, Locked Horn Press’s Gendered & Written: Forums on Poetics, and Kweli Journal, among others. She cofounded and is editor-in-chief of TAYO Literary Magazine. As a Kundiman Fiction Fellow, VONA/Voices Fellow, and U.S. Navy wife, she teaches at Old Dominion University. She blogs at www.msipin.com and is currently working on a novel.

“Kuwento nimbly delivers a portentous punch,” writes Allison Hedge Coke, Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. “Forty-four pieces from some of the finest and freshest writers in the field seamlessly split by 14 haunting images challenging every which way we look – this book is incredible…madly beautiful.”

red line

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: