I’m a poet, mostly experimental, and author of Corporeal (Black Radish books) and Prau (Meritage Press), both collections of poems, and The Aching Vicinities, a chapbook (Otoliths). My e-book, The Little Book of Haptic Drawing, is available for free on this site in the Haptic section (see menu). I’ve also co-edited several anthologies; two of them (coedited with Mark Young and Eileen Tabios), The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, and The Hay(na)ku Anthology, Vol. II, are pictured below.
* Jean Vengua is a poet of the typo, the missed step, the happy and unhappy accident; in short, she is a poet of linguistic and global migration. Prau moves its reader from the Philippines to the bay Area and back, “always mining past present tenses.” In her aptly titled prose poem, “Momentum,” Vengua links Gustav Mahler, her mother, Buffalo soldiers, Marie Curie, Roberto Matta, and Jose Rizal in a dance of histories real and imagined. The momentum of her writing brings together what is otherwise ripped asunder: “That is to make beautiful where the dissonance begins to tear. — Susan M. Schultz, Editor of Tinfish Press.
* Vengua’s poems gently yet firmly navigate us towards yet to be explored spheres of psychological and lyrical revelation where “by turns and in rounds we are angry, indifferent and in love” and “without ghosts, the obscurity of night becomes real.” This is page-turner, addictive poetry that never falters in its gaze at the integrity of dream and the dream of integrity. — Nick Piombino, author of Fait Accompli.
* Vengua’s poetry delves into the very nature of culture and custom. An ordinary postage stamp triggers a multi-racial dilemma. A personal memento unlocks a sequence of historic ramifications witnessing the first ever explosion of a hydrogen bomb. This is poetry tempered by the movements of New Historicism, postmodern irony and the culture clash of living in California. Languages abound. — Catalina Cariaga, Author of Cultural Evidence.
* Jean Vengua’s Prau explores the personal from migration to navigating the present; thus, a prau, a boat, is an appropriate symbol for the book. On the whole, it’s a collection rich in poetic forms. . .Vengua makes it feel that we’re slowly stepping through an idea that clings to us and grows more significant as we keep reading. — Bill Allegrezza, author of Fragile Replacements.
Interview with Jean Vengua, by Tom Beckett, in e-values.
Reviews I have written
Aside from poems, I’m interested in Filipino American print culture (newspapers and magazines) of the 20th century, and you can see what that’s about at The Commonwealth Cafe. I also write for the Asian Cultural Experience (ACE) site; I’m the co-chair of the organization, based in Salinas Chinatown.
I also co-published and co-edited two screenplays:
The Flipside, by Rod Pulido. Screenplay and diary of author’s experience at the Sundance Film Festival. Tulitos Press. Publisher, co-editor, with Elizabeth H. Pisares.
the Debut: the Making of a Filipino American film. By Gene Cajayon and John Manal Castro. Screenplay and essays. Tulitos Press. Publisher, co-editor, with Elizabeth H. Pisares.
Finally: need an editor? I do both copyediting and developmental editing.