barangay: an offshore poem
Adrian De Leon
November 9, 2021
72 Pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-36-7
As beautiful and varied as an archipelago, barangay is an elegant new collection of poetry from Adrian De Leon that gathers in and arranges the difficult pieces of a scattered history. While mourning the loss of his grandmother who "lived, loved and grieved in three languages," De Leon skips his barangay, which is both a boat and an administrative unit in the Philippine government, over the history of both his family and a nation. In these poems De Leon considers the deadly impact of colonialism, the far-reaching effects of the diaspora from the Philippines and the personal loss of his ability to speak Ilokano, his grandmother's native tongue. These are spare, haunting poems, which wash over the reader like the waves of the ocean the barangays navigated long ago and then pull the reader into their current like the rivers De Leon left behind.
“In barangay, Adrian De Leon traverses continents and oceans and various histories of struggle and forced movement and he does so with immense wisdom and poise. His poetic sensibilities are global and critical and geographical, and so the book amounts to a wondrous feat of both imagination and political solidarity.” – Billy-Ray Belcourt, author of A History of My Brief Body and winner of the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize
“This is a book where urgent questions live – and keep living, despite the ‘answers’ typically imposed on such questioning. Here is poetry that examines and sings of Filipino diaspora while refusing white supremacist empire and a reductive representational politics. Here is a poet who takes no word, no sound for granted; each carries history, kinship, future, loss, ‘a wayward library’ of new maps and the un-mappable.” – Chen Chen, author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities
“barangay: an offshore poem by Adrian De Leon is a haunting and lilting elegy in fragments. Like Nathaniel Mackey’s Andoumboulou poems, these poems collect to a voyage song where migrants of the Philippines never land, never find peace; they are both survivors and ghosts drowned out by the victors of colony; they are ancient mariners who sing their wake in a constellation of broken languages that are lost and adopted; De Leon has turned these once marooned speech acts into poetry that is indelible and subversive and gorgeous.” – Cathy Park Hong, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
"This unforgettable collection journeys into the tributaries and offshore currents of Filipino history, culture and migration. Through multilingual and innovative poetic methods, Adrian De Leon traverses intergenerational, diasporic, archipelagic and transoceanic spaces. Be prepared, reader, to navigate the deepest routes and roots of memory and legend.” – Craig Santos Perez, author of Habitat Threshold and winner of the 2015 American Book Award
45 Canadian poetry collections to watch for in fall 2021 (CBC Books, 24/08/2021)
Adriand's collection makes this CBC list!
Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Poetry Preview (49th Shelf, 09/08/2021)
Adrian's collection makes the 49th Shelf's Most Anticipated Fall Poetry Preview.
About the Author
Adrian De Leon is a writer and educator from Manila by way of Scarborough, Ontario. He is the author of Rouge (2018) and co-editor of FEEL WAYS: A Scarborough Anthology (2021), both published by Mawenzi House. His poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Puritan, Joyland Magazine and Catapult. His research has been featured in VICE, the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, ABC Nightline, The Guardian and Rolling Stone. Adrian currently lives in Los Angeles, where he is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.