Invocation to Daughters

Invocation to Daughters
City Lights Spotlight Series No. 16

Invocation to Daughters selected to 2019 Amelia Bloomer List
Feb 1, 2019

The Amelia Bloomer list are feminist books recommended for girls under 18. Judges citation for Invocation to Daughters: "Poems condemn physical, emotional, and structural violence against women and girls with a focus on Filipina experience and resistance."

- Amelia Bloomer Project

RHINO Poetry
Feb 1, 2019

"Barbara Jane Reyes' anguished and incantatory fifth collection, Invocation to Daughters, feels like a City Lights book for a new generation. . . . As in her previous collections, Reyes sometimes chooses not to translate everything into English, a small reversal of linguistic privilege as it typically operates in the U.S. Righteous rage characterizes many of these poems, but the collection closes on notes of tenderness, with poems mourning a father and celebrating women as powerful, wise and free."––Chloe Martinez

Marías at Sampaguitas
Jul 27, 2019

"In Invocation to Daughters, Reyes recreates language as a call to community and as call to protest, or collective action. The very structure of the book echoes this call for gathering, as seen in Reyes's multiple sonnet crowns and poem-suites."––Carla Sofia Ferreira

Barbara Jane Reyes interviewed on Letras Latinas
Sep 28, 2018
- Therese Marie Konopelski

Letras Latinas

"Invocation to Daughters is an intimate account of the Pinay woman experience. Reyes invites the reader to gain an understanding of the female identity in Philippine culture, from a religious, economic and familial context. The invocation to daughters could be understood as a prayer for these women, part of the third-largest Catholic population in the world. The mythos of liturgy with its manifold purposes of contrition, thanksgiving, adoration, and petition are reshaped into human psalms, gospels, and even apocryphal poetry. In her diction, Reyes uses stylistic conventions from scripture. It offers a deeper spiritual reflection on the feminine spiritual identity and the call to action from the New Testament. Echoing Christian theology, words dwell among us in the flesh for Reyes, a living testament itself to the multicolored, nuanced, anti patriarchal and deeply joyous celebration of feminine will."––Therese Konopelski

Post No Ills

"Barbara Jane Reyes' fifth poetry collection Invocation to Daughters is a missal for Filipino women, one that uses Western poetic forms to utter an unapologetically transnational feminist poetics. In this collection, Reyes pushes against Spanish and American influences, the two patriarchs that have kept the Philippines abject for much of its history. The poems subvert Western tradition through the use of those same Western traditions, all while bringing in multiple languages, as well as ruminations on Filipino and Filipino-American culture. . . . The poems in this collection are unsparing in their righteous anger, attacking the patriarchs with a remarkable stamina. . . . Invocation to Daughters is a rallying cry disguised by the hypnotic lull of the Catholic mass, as if saying that the masters' tools are precisely what are needed for the masters to pay attention while their house is being dismantled. Isang bagsak."––Soleil David

Barbara Jane Reyes interviewed for California Magazine
Aug 29, 2018

Part of the Cal Alumni Association.

- Emily Wilson

"A Showcase of 'Young Blood' Asian American Writers"
Aug 28, 2018

Coverage of the Pilipinx American Library and the celebrations at the Asian Art Museum, of which Barbara Jane Reyes was a part.

- Emily Wilson

Cultural Weekly

"Reyes's meditations not only apply to Filipinas, they are relevant for women everywhere and a real education for all men smart enough to listen."–Mike Sonksen

"Pilipinx American Library Pops Up at SF Asian Art Museum"
Aug 11, 2018

Barbara Jane Reyes featured in this piece about the opening of the Pilipinx American Library in San Francisco.

- Wilfred Galila

"Invocation to Daughters among finalists for California Book Awards"
Mar 28, 2018

"Barbara Jane Reyes interviewed on Words on a Wire about Invocation to Daughters"
Mar 18, 2018
- Barbara Jane Reyes & Daniel Chacon


"Language is fraught for Reyes, and her poetry crackles with her attempts at breaking out from the binds of colonialism, gender, and history. . . . The language Reyes creates is one that brings together anti-colonial and anti-capitalist feminist thought and Catholic forms. There are psalms, prayers, and gospels written to and for Filipino women."––Yasmin Majeed

Berkeley Times

"Reyes' writes hypnotic incantations, sonorous anthems, edgy psalms and cannonade denunciations that hex and crack Western patriarchal culture, religion and relationships of dominance in sex, law, literature and the rest, customarily enforced humility seething with secret, extrusive, venomous rage."Wyndy Knox Carr

The Mercury News

"In its Spotlight series, City Lights publishes poetry by established artists and emerging voices. This new volume, by Oakland poet Barbara Jane Reyes, is a slim but powerful collection that speaks directly to the #MeToo movement. Writing in an English inflected with Tagalog and Spanish, Reyes delves deeply into the many challenges faced by girls and young women in these difficult times."––Georgia Rowe

"State Lines: Barbara Jane Reyes' 'The Gospel of Juana de la Cruz’"
Jan 24, 2018

An excerpt from Invocation to Daughters appears in the San Francisco Chronicle with a commentary by David Roderick. 

"Our Favorite Poetry Collections of 2017"
Dec 31, 2017

Invocation to Daughters appears on this end-of-year list on Lit Hub, 48 poets chose their favorite poetry collections from 2017.

- Literary Hub

"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

"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

"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