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By Oscar Peñaranda
2004, 74 pages, Paperback.

Descriptive Comments from Inside the Book
Comments From the Back Cover
About the Author

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Descriptive Comments from Inside the Book

This book of poetry by Oscar Peñaranda has been long awaited. It's a marvelous and touching collection of work by a poet who has been at the forefront of Filipino and Asian American writing, activism and culture for decades. He has lived the life, and his words give us fullproof of the struggles and yearnings of Filipinos in America.
- Jean Vengua,
Tulitos Press

Peñaranda's poems and stories are evocative of past days spent laboring in the fields of California and in Alaskan canneries, but they are told with a voice that transcends time and place. His poems allow readers to co-create, to make meaning of their own by bringing their individual experiences and perspectives to the poems, thereby deriving personal interpretations of each word, each line.
- Tina Bobadilla-Mastel
high school teacher

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Comments From the Back Cover

The poet tells you many things-a mirror reflecting ourselves. And underneath it all, like a hidden stream, reveals all you need to know about life. His beautiful poems have been long overdue.
- Al Robles,
Poet, Carabao chaser, S.F. Manilatown

Peñaranda's poems, like his stories, are lyrical testimonials of what is, what isn't, and an intense longing for what can never be. His voice is mature and sensitive, lamenting yet sure. His experience of laboring in the fields of California and in the Alaskan canneries provieds him deep respect for the first generations of Pinoys who paved the path before him. Following in the footsteps of Carlos Bulosan, Peñaranda gives witness to the struggle of daily life with dignity and compassion.
- Jeff Tagami

Oscar Peñaranda chose Poetry to tell stories, most notably of the Filipino American experience. So why didn't he choose fiction? Because the stories resonate beyond what can be expressed by words. What breathes between the lines of his poems is an ache-ridden love borne of the mating of loss and desire -- a haunting that transcends such references as "There was this/ ragged iron bar/ that by accident crushed my/ toe/ when I with leathered gloves/ worked with steel/ in Alaska..." Fortunately, Poetry also chose Oscar Peñaranda, as evident in a poem like "A Song" where he sings, "So long as the world/ touches me/ my heart strings will never stop/ playing the music."
- Eileen Tabios

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About the Author

Oscar Peñaranda was born in the seacoast town of Barugo on the Island of Leyte, Philippines. His family moved to Manila when he was five years old, returning to Barugo almost every vacation time - Christmas, Easter, Summer. In Manila he absorbed Tagalog (from the streets) and English (from the schools). He was trilingual and tricultural at a young age. With Waray as his first language, then Tagalog and English his second and third. When he was twelve years old, his family moved to Vancouver, Canada (1956) because his father (a foreign service officer) was one of about ten other officers assigned by the Philippine government to open the first Philippine Consulate in Canada. The families of these Filipino officers would be the only Filipinos they would ever know in Canada. He lived in Vancouver, Canada for five years, between the ages of 12 to 17. On his senior year of high school his family was transferred to San Francisco where he went to St. Ignatius High School. From this time on, Peñaranda has pretty much called San Francisco home. Yet, not really. He explores, among other themes, this ambiguity in his works. He earned his B.A. (in Literature) and M.A. (Creative Writing) at San Francisco State University where he became part of the struggle to establish Ethnic Studies in the schools.

In the summers, he held many odd jobs including hotel help in Las Vegas. He was there when Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) won the heavyweight championship of the world. He worked in the fields of California picking all sorts of x fruits. He also worked in Alaskan fishing canneries for 15 consecutive summers. Some of his farmworker colleagues joined him in Alaska. His work clothes and gear are still there waiting for him.

From San Francisco State University, he received his B.A. in Literature and M.A. in Creative Writing. He taught at San Francisco State for 12 years, Everett Middle School for 10 years, and is currently teaching at James Logan High School in Union City, California.

He helped found the San Francisco Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) as its first president. He also belongs to the Filipino American Educators Association of California (FAEAC). He advocates for the teaching and creation of Filipino Heritage Studies and Filipino (language) in all his educational efforts. He now lives in San Leandro, Califrnia, with his wife Luisa and daughter Milena.

He has also written a collection of short stories - Seasons by the Bay.

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