Jessica Hagedorn"Scavenge from the best."

Day 9: Inspiration from Jessica Hagedorn (National Poetry Month)

Excited for this weekend’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books! Will you be there? Come find me; I’ll have copies of the tiny poetry book Epiphonia for sale.

Poem A Day

the Typewriter Poetry edition

All of April, we’re sharing Typewriter Poetry made by poets around the world for National Poetry Month. If you’d like to be featured, submit your typewritten poem-a-day by tagging #typewriterpoetry & @typewriterpoetry on Instagram.

Thanks for joining us for Day 9, Poem 9 of April 2016’s National Poetry Month!

Day 9, Poem 9

The daily poem-a-day gallery continues to grow! Take a peak at the Daily Typewriter Poetry post to read featured typewriter poetry.


Writing Quotes

Starting off the weekend with daily inspiration from the amazing Jessica Hagedorn. Previous inspirational poetry writing quotes include:

Today’s Quote

This quote is a clip of her full answer, which was published in an interview with Tribe in 2006:

Being of mixed parentage where you describe your roots as being “dubious,” hybridity has always been one of the essential aspects of your art, how has that also influenced your writing?

Hybridity keeps me from being rigid about most things. It has taught me to appreciate the contradictions in the world and in my life. I scavenge from the best.

Jessica Hagedorn

A poet, novelist, screenwriter, multimedia, and playwright–otherwise known as doing all the things I love to be doing.

Scavenge from the best.”

Jessica Hagedorn

Born & raised in the Philippines (specifically Manila, which is one of the places I visited for family), Hagedorn has produced amazingly poetic and sincere work, all while navigating the spaces of ambiguity and contradiction. A poet, novelist, screenwriter, multimedia artist, and playwright, her work includes one of my favorites, “Dogeaters,” as well as numerous collaborations with other writers, like Ntozake Shange (who wrote “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf”).


“Filipino Boogie” by Jessica Hagedorn

Filipino Boogie is a dance through Hagedorn’s childhood and adult consciousness. Reminiscent of Langston Hughes’ work, this gorgeous poem reminds us that words are merely the companion piece to the true essence of poetry, otherwise known as music.

Give it a read. If you’re on mobile, you might want to check out “Filipino Boogie” on at The Poetry Foundation for proper formatting.

Filipino Boogie

by Jessica Hagedorn


Under a ceiling-high Christmas tree
I pose
          in my Japanese kimono
My mother hands me
                                      a Dale Evans cowgirl skirt
      baby cowgirl boots

Mommy and daddy split
No one else is home

I take some rusty scissors
                                               and cut the skirt up
                little pieces

(don’t give me no bullshit fringe,

Mommy and daddy split
No one else is home

     I take my baby cowgirl boots
                                                        and flush them
(don’t hand me no bullshit fringe,

I seen the Indian Fighter
Too many times
                              dug on Sitting Bull
                                                                before Donald Duck
In my infant dream

These warriors weaved a magic spell
           more blessed than Tinker Bell

(Kirk Douglas rubs his chin
and slays Minnehaha by the campfire)

Mommy and daddy split
There ain’t no one else home

                          I climb a mango tree
                                          and wait for Mohawk drums
(Mama—World War II
is over . . . why you cryin’?)

Is this San Francisco?
Is this San Francisco?
Is this Amerika?

buy me Nestle’s Crunch
                  buy me Pepsi in a can

Ladies’ Home Journal
                            and Bonanza

I seen Little Joe in Tokyo
I seen Little Joe in Manila
I seen Laramie in Hong Kong
I seen Yul Brynner in San Diego
and the bloated ghost
                                       of Desi Arnaz

               in Tijuana

Rip-off synthetic ivory
                                         to send
                                                       the natives
        back home


               North Beach boredom
               the barber shops

on Kearny street
                                         they spit out
                                                                red tobacco
                                 in 1930s suits

and in another dream

                                       I climb a mango tree
and Saturday
                                          Jack Palance
                                                            the krauts
       the YELLOW PERIL
                                                         Pearl Harbor



Donate to Tupelo Press


For #NationalPoetryMonth, I’m fundraising on behalf of Tupelo Press, a small literary publisher. Tupelo’s 30/30 Project is an all-year monthly round of writing a poem a day. Check out their website. You can read the collection of poetry I volunteered to write for the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project. I also encourage you to donate in my name to Tupelo Press. 100% of proceeds go to their literary press, it’s tax-deductible, and you’ll be a patron of the arts!


suck myself out the heart i give it back


Enjoying the work I’ve been steadily producing for National Poetry Month? It’s for my upcoming art book, suck myself out the heart i give it back. Tag along for the ride! You can watch my artistic process unfold at