Invocation to Daughters
Invocation to Daughters
City Lights Spotlight Series No. 16





The Rumpus

"The directness of these [poems] feel to me very much in tune with the moment we're living in, where women in particular, led by women of color, are responding to those people who looked at the election of Donald Trump as evidence that their time had returned, that the fact that the country elected a man who had bragged about sexually assaulting a woman meant it was open season on women everywhere, with middle fingers and public truth-telling and lawsuits."––Brian Spears


"A Poem from Invocation to Daughters Is Excerpted on Poetry Society of America"
Dec 15, 2017

The poem "An Apology" appears on the PSA website with an accompanying commentary by the author.


"The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Barbara Jane Reyes"
Dec 12, 2017

An edited transcript of the Rumpus Poetry Book Club club discussion with Barbara Jane Reyes. Hosted by Brian Spears.

- The Rumpus Book Club

Publishers Weekly, starred review

"'I am not your ethnic spectacle,'" declares Reyes in her powerful fifth collection. 'I write whether or not you invite my words.' Reyes fuses elegy, psalm, prayer, and the language of protest as a challenge to hegemonic, patriarchal, and colonialist narrative-making. Moving among English, Spanish, and Tagalog, Reyes chronicles the ways legal and judicial systems fail to protect Filipina women such as Mary Jane Veloso, who sits on death row in Indonesia, and Jennifer Laude, a trans woman murdered by a U.S. Marine stationed in the Philippines. She boldly exposes and documents violence against Pinay women while also embracing a liminal, transitory, trilingual identity: 'This lyric-making me, now a dazzling we.' Reyes writes with conviction about the various ways imperialism transforms women into 'capital, collateral, damaged soul.' However, the women that appear throughout the book are not merely victims; in Reyes's radical cosmology, these women—these daughters—are rebels, saints, revolutionaries, and torchbearers, 'sharp-tongued, willful.' This book is a call to arms against oppressive languages, systems, and traditions, all that 'strips us of our kick and grit.' In choosing to be ethical, and by refusing to submit to oppression, Reyes writes, 'We rise/ And in writing, we restore our lives.'"


Library Journal, starred review

"San Francisco–based, James Laughlin Award–winning poet Reyes uses incantatory language to speak to Filipina girls and women, and her words will resonate with many, many readers. 'Daughters, our world is beyond unkind' opens an early poem; the collection as a whole then details the arduous female condition ('We are fed up being groped, being entered, being punished, being/ trashed. We are nobody's fucking things'), then strikes back sharply ('Why does my outrage inconvenience you?'), and advises ('let us create a language so that we know ourselves'). Individual poems apostrophize Filipinas like the murdered transgender Jennifer Laude. Infused with Spanish and Tagalog, Reyes's beautiful, angry verse shines throughout. For a wide range of readers."


Small Press Distribution

"I feel like Reyes has found yet another gear in Invocation to Daughters. While it is still built on that same tension, where the beauty of expression crashes against the brutality of the world as it is (especially for women, especially for people of color) I find it here integrated and crystallized so deeply it awes me. Maybe I'm only noticing her maturity in a way, but it's sure not maturity in the sense of softness or acceptance: these poems are fire. Eternal fire, really, but also a highly specific and located fire: these are Filipino poems, periodically breaking into Tagalog, into Spanish, very much located in San Francisco, and very much everywhere too. It's a mystery to me how they can be so universal yet so immediately topical—so much so it seems impossible they were written before all the #metoo headlines, but that just shows again how sexual harrassment and police shootings and grief and anger sure didn't start this month. Or as Reyes puts it: 'You walk hand-in-hand with your damage, into the world.' She also writes 'Fuck your fences and your applause' but I'm going to applaud anyway—this book is the news for real."—Brent Cunningham, SPD Operations Director

"I am so grateful that Barbara Jane Reyes is in the world and that I have her latest book in my hands. I cherish each poem, the anger, the power. Reyes' book calls out rape culture, violence against women—especially brown women, immigrant women, and working women—and the system that perpetuates and even encourages this violence, but she also calls out the violence we do to ourselves to survive as long as we can in this system. Part of that violence is silence, which Reyes shatters with her multilingual tongue. . . . This book of she-beasts, bitches, and monsters is radiant with its claws out. This book is a reminder, an invocation, a blessing, and a war cry. It is the friend who teaches you how to throw a punch when everyone else tells you to keep collecting bruises."—Janice Worthen, SPD Sales & Marketing Manager


"13 New Books by Asian Diasporic Writers"
Nov 30, 2017

Invocation to Daughters appears on this list.


"Barbara Jane Reyes Q&A published in Shelf-Awareness' 'Reading With . . .’ column"
Nov 9, 2017

"Invocation to Daughters appears on list of November 2017 releases by Asian Authors"
Nov 4, 2017

"Why I Chose Barbara Jane Reyes's Invocation to Daughters for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club"
Oct 17, 2017

Brian Spears details decision to select Invocation to Daughters for The Rumpus Poetry Club.

- Brian Spears

"Barbara Jane Reyes reads a poem for the PoetryNow podcast series"
Oct 10, 2017

Barbara Jane Reyes reads the poem, "Psalm for Mary Jane Veloso" for the PoetryNow podcast series that was also broadcasted on WFMT Radio.


"Fall 2017 Announcements: Poetry"
Jun 23, 2017

Invocation to Daughters featured in the seasonal poetry preview.

- Alex Crowley

"City Lights to Publish 'Invocation to Daugthers' by Barbara Jane Reyes"
Apr 10, 2017
- Creative Work Fund

"For Better, for Verse: Poetry 2017"
Mar 31, 2017

Invocation to Daughters is included in this list of books that are "urgent as ever" in todays' political climate.

- Publishers Weekly