Cover image for Babaylan : an anthology of Filipina and Filipina American writers
Babaylan : an anthology of Filipina and Filipina American writers
Carbó, Nick, 1964-
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Aunt Lute Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxii, 336 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR9550.5 .B33 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As the first international anthology of Filipina writers published in the United States, Babaylan reflects the complex history of a people whose roots have stretched to both sides of the globe. The voices represented in this collection offer a broad and varied perspective on the Filipina writer whose diasporic existence is a living, breathing bridge, not only between countries but also generations, as strong voices from the past fuel realities of the future. As a result, vibrant and original art, the trademark of Filipina writers perpetually emerges and evolves. With contributions from over 60 writers-both Filipina and Filipina American- Babaylan provides readers with a comprehensive view of a growing and vibrant transnational literary culture. Challenging. Innovative. Fierce and reflective. Somber and funny. No one word can capture the extraordinary range of this collection.

"The tradition of women's writing in the Philippines can be traced back to the Pre-Hispanic Era of the archipelago where in certain communities priestess-poets called babaylan (Bisayan) and catalonan (Tagalog) held sway in the spiritual and ritualistic lives of the people. These women provided healing, wisdom and direction with morality stories, myths, poems, prayers, and chants... The closing decade of this century has brought change, a new horizon, and new stars to the constellation... The Filipinas in this anthology will continue the rich tradition of Philippine literature in English and they will contribute much to the ever-expanding vista of the American global literary sky."-from the Introduction by Nick Carbó

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

In their variety, the fiction, poetry, and poetry in translation included in this exciting new anthology show the transitory nature of the literature of a people who live at the crossroads, on two continents. Here over 60 women writers evidence the rectitude of the Catholic Spanish past, Malay roots, and the steady, century-long revolutionary wind of American influence. As the storm of modernity oxygenates, it also mows down custom and tradition and unleashes cries against imperialism, odes to migration, and tales of struggle among social classes. Paradoxically, this savage wind also points women in the direction of freedom. The editors, both poets and editors of other collections, include an excellent summary of the literature of Filipinas and an equally good bibliography that lists literary criticism, Internet resources, and other anthologies and works of Filipino writing. Highly recommended for high schools with Filipino students and for larger public and all academic libraries.DRene Perez-Lopez, Norfolk P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Other than the work of such established stalwarts as Frankie Sionil Jose, Linda Ty-Casper, and Ninotchka Rosca, strong writing from the Philippines has not been easy to locate. And apart from work by poet and Pushcart Prize winner Fatima Lim-Wilson (Crossing the Snow Bridge, CH, May'96), National Book Award nominee Jessica Hagedorn (Dogeaters, 1990), and fictionalist Marianne Villanueva (Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila, 1991), good Filipina American writing has not received the high profile this exciting anthology demonstrates it deserves. Excepting Jose and Rosca, all the aforementioned appear in Babaylan alongside 60 other women writing from the US, the Philippines, and its diaspora. Prose ranges from sentimental (Caroline Cheng, "Consolation") to surreal (Tabios, "Excerpts from an Aborted Honest Autobiography"), with Villanueva's masterful "Silence" setting the benchmark and Merlinda Bobis's "Shoes," Michelle Skinner's "Angel's Story," Jessica Zafra's "Word Eaters," and Gina Apostol's "The Mistress" close behind. The poetry (just over half the volume) is better than one expects from a multivocal anthology. Works by Lim-Wilson, Marjorie Evasco, Shirley Ancheta, Joyce Alcantara, Sofiya Colette Cabalquinto, and Darlene Rodrigues ring clear as crystal. Addressing eternal verities (marriage, children, betrayal, etc.), each contribution bears an unmistakable hallmark of Filipine culture, its foods, colors, lushness, religious intensity, passion. An immensely readable volume; all collections. T. Carolan; Simon Fraser University