Feminist experimental poetry in the tradition of Audre Lorde and Theresa Kyung Cha from a prominent Filipina American poet.
The fifth collection from Oakland poet Barbara Jane Reyes, in the tradition of Audre Lorde and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Invocation to Daughters is a book of prayers, psalms, and odes for Filipina girls and women trying to survive and make sense of their own situations. Writing in an English inflected with Tagalog and Spanish, Reyes unleashes this colonized tongue against sexualized and racialized violence towards Pinay women. With its meditations on the relationship between fathers and daughters and impassioned pleas on behalf of victims of brutality, Invocation to Daughters is a lyrical feminist broadside written from a place of shared humanity.
"Against violence against women, Barbara Jane Reyes rips and runs, jumping off Audre Lorde's 'the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house,' Invocation to Daughters recombines registers––prayers, pleas and elegy––braiding a trilingual triple-threat, a 3-pronged poetics that enjambs and reconfigures the formal with the street, utterance with erasure, the prose sentence with the liminal. Invocation to Daughters reminds me of the 70's in the East Bay, when Jessica Hagedorn met Ntozake Shange and ignited a green flash seen from horizon to horizon. Barbara Jane Reyes is one of the Bay Area's incendiary voices."––Sesshu Foster
"Invocation to Daughters is a space for multitudes, a hypnotic collection that draws from family history—particularly the complex cultural gendered dynamic between father and daughter—in order to create a manual for emancipation from the interior and exterior binds that keep us from ourselves. Through prayers, calls to actions, and testimonies, Reyes invents 'a language so that we know ourselves, so that we may sing, and tell, and pray.'"––Carmen Giménez Smith
Born in Manila, Philippines and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of four previous poetry collections, including Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books, 2003), Poeta en San Francisco (Tinfish Press, 2005), which received the James Laughlin Award, Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010), which received the Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry, and To Love as Aswang (PAWA, 2015). She received her B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and her M.F.A. at San Francisco State University. She teaches at University of San Francisco's Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Philippine American Writers and Artists (PAWA). She lives with her husband, poet Oscar Bermeo, in Oakland, where she co-edits Doveglion Press.