Elvis Galasinao is currently writing his thesis for an MA in Language in Literature at De La Salle University. His research, which focuses on cultural performances, drag queen performances, and performance studies, has been presented and published at international conferences, such as the 30th International Symposium and Book Fair on English Teaching, 23rd International Conference and Workshop on TEFL and Applied Linguistics, Second Heterotopic Junction Conference on Language, Literature, and Culture, and 2022 School of Pacific and Asian Studies Graduate Student Conference at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa.
“How I Remember”: Sense of Place and Nostalgia for Homeland in Barbara Jane Reyes’s Poetry
Abstract: This paper investigates the sense of place and nostalgia for the motherland in the work of Filipina-American poet Barbara Jane Reyes (born 1971). It looks into the construction of meaning in her poetry in relation to attachment to place in five collections, Letters to a Young Brown Girl (2020), Invocation to Daughters (2017), To Love as Aswang (2015), Diwata (2010), and Poeta en San Francisco (2005). Reyes’s poetry reflects nostalgia for the northern region of the Philippines. Reyes expresses her attachment to place through a poetics of nostalgia, incorporating her childhood memories of myths, places, trees, bodies of water, and rural life. Important for her Filipina identity is the sense of place conveyed in her poetry, in addition to her conception of nature as a mother who nourishes and keeps people’s memory. As Reyes articulates in her poetry, a natural and rural life is the traditional Filipino way leading to freedom.
Keywords: Barbara Jane Reyes, poetics of nostalgia, sense of place, Filipina-American poetry, memory