Episode 38: Melinda Luisa de Jesús
Dr. Melinda Luisa de Jesús is definitely a Renaissance woman! She is a scholar, a classical singer, a poet, & a visual artist. Listen to her discuss her journey into creativity through her earlier beginnings as a classically trained mezzo-soprano. As a feminist scholar, it wasn't until she found her voice in poetry with various publications to her first poetry collection "peminology", did her world open up even more to include visual arts in her artistic and intellectual repertoire.
Order "peminology" here:
by Melinda Luisa de Jesús
Published by Paloma Press
Release Date: March 2018
Pages: 80, full-color
Available on Lulu and at select bookshops
In honor of International Women’s Day, Paloma Press is proud to announce the release of PEMINOLOGY, a first poetry collection by Melinda Luisa de Jesus, a feminist of color who teaches and writes about critical race theory, girlhood and monsters, and believes, “as did the ancients, that a poem can change the world.”
Wanting to be blonde-haired, blue-eyed,
small-boned and delicate
ivory-complexioned, sweet and ladylike
a fairy princess,
or green-eyed and red-haired
like a mermaid
Anything but brown-skinned
I love your poems
I hate your poems
I want to lick them,
chew the paper they’re on
savor each line
swallow them whole
make them mine.
Wishing I felt more connection
Planted in American soil
I long to be coconut, carabao brown.
“Melinda Luisa de Jesús’ debut collection of poems comes from a space of longing, rebellion, grief, love, poetics and politics. Bold, unafraid and uncompromising, peminology carves out a space for de Jesús’ vision and her generation of Filipinas in immigrant America. She speaks in multiple voices and registers, as a daughter, to a daughter, as a mother, to a mother, as a storyteller, dredging up a past and confronting fiercely the present. peminology is poetic auto ethnography. It must be read. It must be heard. It must be listened to. This is Asian-America. This is post-Trump’s America. This is the America we live in.”
—Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, author of The Postcolonial Citizen: The Intellectual Migrant
“peminology is bold, raw, and honest. Weaving between past and present, de Jesús creates a narrative of traumas that connect girlhood to womanhood. Charting the intersections of racial and feminist awakenings, these poems offer avenues for shame and rage to become strength and resistance. “The Tractor,” “Patriarchy,” and “Imagine That” are but a few examples of the timely critiques—anthems, even—that de Jesús situates amidst her chronology of oppression and opposition. Her experimentation with form, including the hay(na)ku, the hay(na)ku sentence, and the pantoum, interrupts Western poetic conventions as much as the language and imagery itself. The stand out poem—“Bellies”— followed by “Pantoum for Eloisa,” explores the heartbreaking complexities of brown women negotiating motherhood and white imperialism. This collection will leave you simultaneously heartbroken and empowered, ready to rise out of your seat to demand recognition, and sit down with your child to nurture self-love. A must-read for 2018.” —Linda Pierce Allen, co-editor of Global Crossroads: A World Literature Reader and Questions of Identity: Complicating Race in American Literary History
Melinda Luisa de Jesús is Associate Professor and former Chair of Diversity Studies at California College of the Arts. She writes and teaches about Filipinx/American cultural production, girl culture, monsters, and race/ethnicity in the United States. She edited Pinay Power: Peminist Critical Theory, the first anthology of Filipina/American feminisms (Routledge 2005). Her academic writing has appeared in Mothering in East Asian Communities: Politics and Practices; Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art; Approaches to Teaching Multicultural Comics; Ethnic Literary Traditions in Children’s Literature; Challenging Homophobia; Radical Teacher; The Lion and the Unicorn; Ano Ba Magazine; Rigorous; Konch Magazine; Rabbit and Rose; MELUS; Meridians; The Journal of Asian American Studies, and Delinquents and Debutantes: TwentiethCentury American Girls’ Cultures.
She is also a poet and her chapbooks, Humpty Drumpfty and Other Poems; Petty Poetry for SCROTUS Girls’ with poems for Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Obama; Defying Trumplandia; Adios Trumplandia!; James Brown’sWig and Other Poems; and Vagenda of Manicide and Other Poems were published by Locofo Chaps in 2017. Her first collection of poetry, peminology, was published by Paloma Press in 2018.
In Spring 2019 Melinda was the Muriel Gold Senior Visiting Professor at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada where she organized the Pinay Power II: Celebrating Peminisms in the Diaspora conference (see pinaypower.ca for more info).
She is a mezzo-soprano, a mom, an Aquarian, and admits an obsession with Hello Kitty. More info: http://peminist.com