|Author||Joseph O. Legaspi|
IMAGO is a stunning and, at times, painful love poem to the poets Philippine childhood. Set predominantly in a rural landscape, where folk remedies and beliefs still govern the ways of the locals, these remarkable poems are filled with riveting images and paradoxesscales of milkfishes are otherworldly raindrops while boys wear their sisters or grandmothers skirts upon circumcision. Reading them is like witnessing a sequence of beautiful rituals. They remind me, once again, of just how much the culture of my and the poets first homelandthe one I never conceived/ of leavingis built solidly on preserved customs and rescued traditions: being baptized by green waters of boiled guava leaves to remedy the first wounds of manhood, a consultation with a faith healer, a son burrowing his face in his mothers hair, how it tickled/ my ears, deadening/ the skeletons/ of nightmares. Like a shaman, Legaspi returns the commonplacethose everyday moments we take for granted or have forgottenback to the ceremonious, and the scars and memories to their dreams.
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