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With this 15th issue we bring to you, dear readers, our first guest columnist: poet, fictionist, and essayist, Luisa Igloria. Welcome her as she welcomes you to our pages.

Luisa is no stranger to OUR OWN VOICE. Her poems were featured early on in OOV's second issue. She is Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Program and Department of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where this year, she served as the coordinator of ODU's 27th Annual Literary Festival. She is a Fulbright Scholar and a Palanca Hall of Famer. She was a finalist in the 2003 Larry Levis Editors Prize for Poetry from The Missouri Review and has published five poetry books, including Blood Sacrifice (Univ. of the Philippines Press, 1997) and In the Garden of the Three Islands (Moyer Bell/Asphodel, 1995). Her most current publication in the role of editor is an anthology of writings on the diasporic theme, Not Home But Here (Anvil, 2003).

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In the nation's capital, what began innocuously in 2000 as Pinoyfest, Celebrating the Heritage of Americans of Filipino Descent evolved into The HERITAGE SERIES initiated with aplomb by The Embassy of the Philippines in tandem with the extended communities of Filipino Americans from Maryland and Virginia. OUR OWN VOICE teamed up with the Embassy Cultural Division headed by Consul Joy Quintana, partnered with Linda Nietes, Philippine Expressions Bookshop of Los Angeles for this year's October HERITAGE2.

HERITAGE2 highlighted the Filipino American writers' community in America and paid tribute to the accomplishments of authors, their published works and their dogged determination to make their mark in literary mainstream.


Poets, Jon Pineda and Paolo Javier
(photo: Melissa Nolledo Christoffels)

At HERITAGE2, Bino Realuyo, author of The Umbrella Country and the event's keynote speaker, led the following authors in presenting their books to Ambassador Albert del Rosario:

Mamerta de los Reyes Block (VA), author at 92, former journalist, who chronicled her WW2 days as an intelligence courier in The Price of Freedom, Jon Pineda (Norfolk, VA), Poet & Crab Orchard Awardee for his first poetry collection, Birthmark, Glenn Sevilla Mas (DC), playwright, 2004 Palanca Awardee and author of In The Dark; fiction authors, Gina Apostol (NYC), Bibliolepsy, Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier (MD), Autobiography of a Stranger, Lara Stapleton (NYC), The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing, Querico Samonte (TX), At the Table with The Family, Melissa Nolledo Christoffels (OR) for Cadena de Amor & Other Stories, a posthumous anthology by her father, Wilfrido D. Nolledo, Luisa Igloria (Norfolk, VA), Not Home, But Here, Ricco Siasoco (Boston), contributor to the anthology, Screaming Monkeys, Gad S. Lim (Ann Arbor), contributor to Intsik: An Anthology of Filipino-Chinese Writings, Rod Garcia (MD), The Right Place & Other Stories, Marcie Taylor (NYC), Missing Mangoes, Paolo Javier (NYC), The Time at The End of This Writing, Tim M. Saguinsin (Virginia Beach), Buhay sa Angono, Patricia Afable (DC), The Japanese Pioneers in the Philippines, Romeo S. Munoz (Illinois), Filipino Americans: From Invisibility to Empowerment, and children's literature writers, Almira Astudillo Gilles (Chicago), Willie Wins, Lara Saguisag (NYC), There's a Dwende in My Brother's Soup, and Natasha Vizcarra (Minneapolis), Si Super T: Ang Baboy na Sige ng Sige / Super T: The Unstoppable Pig.


HERITAGE2 Authors at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC
(photo: Frank Celada)

HERITAGE2 happened in Washington, D.C. and I am left with nothing to say about it. The process of assimilating what happened, after all the minute planning and coordinating, has left me "blank." Then along came a friend of mine who put her experience into words, and I am left in even more of a vacuum, slightly stunned:

Alone with your own thoughts, your own words, for a year or two or five, hundreds of hours, thousands of words—alone. Then you find yourself with other writers who have had this same aloneness and you understand how strong, how sacred, and how widespread the desire to write really is. The aloneness disappears and you realize you are part of something nearly cosmic, and you are lifted up and connected. Experiencing HERITAGE2, I was lifted up and connected not just to other writers but to Filipino-American writers who were striving to express a particular experience that, upon hearing it, we realize is universal and personal at the same time. As a writer, as a Filipino-American writer, the weekend of HERITAGE2 provoked me into thoughts that surprised me and made me happy. What the other writers said about their work, what the other writers read aloud, what the other writers joked about or were angry about or just said off-handedly—any of these expressions could have hit home, could have, as they did almost all day long with me, pushed me deeper and lifted me higher as I understood I was not alone.—Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier

Remé-Antonia Grefalda
October 27, 2004

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THE STAFF

EDITOR
Remé-Antonia Grefalda

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR FOR THE ARTS
Eileen Tabios

EDITORIAL BOARD
Geejay Arriola
Seb Koh
Victoria Paz Cruz
Aileen Ibardaloza

GRAPHIC AND WEB DESIGNER
Geejay Arriola

PROOFREADER
Carla Stephanie Cadorniga

COPYRIGHT
2004

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