My poetry site, Local Nomad, is a journal of writing and art; it includes a blog, and that’s where you’ll find most of my writing/blogging about poetry.


My first collection of experimental poetry, published by Meritage Press, 2007

From the back cover:

* 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.

Other responses:

* 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, but the one that strikes me the most is the hay(na)ku. There are only four, but Vengua handles them well.

the sentence
there is breaking

in space
subject to sentience

to sentience
upon another’s whim.

Vengua makes it feel that we’re slowly stepping through an idea that clings to us and grows more significant as we keep reading. The repetition of the “s” sounds in this passage, of the words, and the shift from sentence to sentience helps create that feeling.

Bill Allegrezza, author of Fragile Replacements.

Review of Prau by Joey Madia, New Mystics Reviews.

The Aching Vicinities. Chapbook, Otoliths Press.

The First Hay(na)ku Anthology. Meritage Press. Co-edited with Mark Young.

The Hay(na)ku Anthology Vol. II. Meritage Press. Co-edited with Mark Young.

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.


Interview with Jean Vengua, by Tom Beckett, in e-values.

Interview with Jean Vengua at Baymoon.

Reviews I have written

Review of Jose Garcia Villa’s Anchored Angel for OOV.