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Diwata - BOA Editions, Ltd.

← Back to All Barbara Jane Reyes


By: Barbara Jane Reyes

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Regular price $16.00

About This Title

Tagalog is a language spoken by about 22 million people in the Philippines. Diwata is a Tagalog term meaning, “muse.” Diwata is also a term for a mythical figure or being who resides in nature, and whom human communities must acknowledge, respect, and appease, in order to live safely, harmoniously, and prosperously in this world.

In her book Diwata, Reyes uses such Filipino oral tradition devices as meter, repetition and refrain, call and response, incantatory verses which verge on song, and the pantoum (which has Southeast Asian origins). She frames her poems between the Book of Genesis creation story, and the Tagalog creation myth, placing her work somewhere culturally in between both traditions. Also setting the tone for her stories is the death and large shadow cast by her grandfather, a World War II veteran and Bataan Death March survivor, who has passed onto her the responsibility of remembering. Reyes’ voice is grounded in her community’s traditions and histories, despite war and geographical dislocation.