Read the title poem, “The Saints of Streets,” here.
Luisa Igloria’s The Saints of Streets overlays the landscapes we see with many more vanished. Houses, town halls, and cathedrals are held up by spires of memory; the past erupts and spills over when the poet focuses on particulars, “…nose pressed to the doorway between worlds/ lit by the same fire that singes the wings of bees.” Igloria begins, as we often do, with a yearning: followed by question, meditation—but the power of her gaze sets these poems apart. Observation magnetizes worlds into radical juxtaposition, and in these poems, measured, intuitive music splendidly unleashes the bewildering in the everyday.
~ Kristin Naca, author of Bird Eating Bird (Harper Perennial 2009, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the mtvU National Poetry Series)
In poem after poem, Luisa Igloria deftly reminds us of the relevance of an art form at the shore of irrelevance, where the “water writes what it erases, then writes again.” The erased—hungry ghosts, Pigafetta, the Saints, Yamashita, and Filipino public figures long-forgotten—find their memories re-lived in Igloria’s poetic timeline. Here is a full display of Igloria’s extraordinary ability to become a vessel for muted and fading voices returned to the shores of our historic imagination with an “overflowing urgency of words.”
~ Bino A. Realuyo, author of The Gods We Worship Live Next Door (University of Utah Press, 2005 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry) and The Umbrella Country (Ballantine Books, 1999).
“…Luisa Igloria establishes herself as a singular and revelatory voice in American poetry. Here, she explores the dichotomy of Filipino: interwoven yet hermetically singular, acquisitive yet inventive, docile yet amok. Her engrossing poems hide, behind their gorgeous scrims, a bristling wall of spears.”
~ Sabina Murray, author of Tales of the New World: Stories (Grove Press, 2011; New York Times Editors’ Choice and O, The Oprah Magazine Book of the Week selection), A Carnivore’s Inquiry, and The Caprices (Grove Press, 2007)
In Luisa A. Igloria’s twelfth and newest book The Saints of Streets, hungry ghosts, mullahs, would-be assassins, carnival queens, Hell Girl, Dante riding Geryon’s back, and a host of other figures guide us through the dioramas and exhibits of personal and collective memory: they’ll be our chauffeurs, psychopomps, tourist guides, our sweet and difficult familiars. These poems are love letters, phone calls disrupting our day to remind us of the strange and beautiful mysteries of living in the postcolonial moment.
Book Cover Design: Jennifer Patricia A. Carino Book Cover
Photograph: “Reverence to the Moon” by Elmer Borlongan