"Even at their best, the poems leading up to the book’s final offering, the title poem, feel like rehearsals that preface an earth-shattering performance; once there, Rosal seamlessly stitches together history, mythology, etymology, and autobiography in a winding narrative that begins with a teenage boy commenting on the speaker’s sweatshirt and transforms into a treatise on colonialism and all that a name can and cannot hold."
Carter G. Woodson went to the Philippines in 1903 to help establish a new school system there (The first group to do this traveled aboard the U.S.S. Thomas and were therefore known as Thomasites.) Woodson, a Black educator, saw how the books and subjects that Filipino kids were being taught were completely outside of their own circumstances, their own story. The Filipinos’ lives and landscapes were excluded from the books and curriculum written and designed by white Americans.
To state the obvious: love is what matters. Where there is love, there is strength. Strength is not power. Power is often handed down or passed surreptitiously under a table from one hand to another. One acquires power from somewhere outside the self. But strength–one reveals strength through a deep, difficult inner looking. You can be powerful and loveless. if you are strong, though,you are loving and loved; your love sees itself in relation to beloveds and therefore resonates/resounds. Your strength, then, becomes legible. Your love becomes eloquent.
“…[T]he decisive actors here are the adventurer and the pirate, the wholesale grocer and the ship owner, the gold digger and the merchant, appetite and force, and behind them, the baleful projected shadow of a form of civilization which, at a certain point in its history, finds itself obliged, for internal reasons, to extend to a world scale the competition of its antagonistic economies. “