Synopses & Reviews
Electric new verse from the winner of the 2005 Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry.
Both surrealistic and urgently on-point, these boisterous poems comprise an identity crisis in the age of New Media. Sarah Gambito writes with verve on the complicated collision of ethnicity, sex, immigration, and nationality, her playfulness and pop-culture savvy offering cover for her surprise attacks of direct, even confrontational engagement: "Am I frightening you?" she asks. "I'm frightening you. // Good and good and good and good."
"'I play on my america xylophone/ and the kids drop peach hat by aching peach hat,' says Gambito midway through one of the giddy, fragment-filled, enthusiastic, sometimes flirtatious odes and self-portraits of this second collection, attendant simultaneously to Gambito's Filipino-American heritage and the outlook of 21st-century youth. 'I am the new bathing suit that I am,' she declares in 'Immigration,' one of a few poems by that name: this one takes an epigraph from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and an interlinear exclamation from the Filipino language Tagalog. Gambito (Matadora) evokes a carnival of multiethnic references, intuitive leaps and fiery existential queries: 'I like God alright but I don't understand anything he's talking about.' She might be likened to such other cosmopolitan poets as Matthea Harvey or Mark Bibbins: Gambito also excels in one-line stanzas, in long knockout titles ('A Borderless Ethos Would Please Everyone') and in dreamy one-paragraph prose poems. Yet if such forms make her seem solitary or disconnected, her topics make her memories, and her loyalties, multiply clear: 'You were born here. I was born there.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Sarah Gambito is the author of a previous collection, Matadora. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Fence and other journals. She is co-founder and Executive Director of Kundiman, an organization that promotes Asian American poetry. She lives in New York City.