SUSTAINING THE ARCHIPELAGO

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RINA GARCIA CHUA
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Sustaining the Archipelago is the first anthology of ecopoetry in the Philippines that collates 151 poems from over 80 poets all over the islands in four distinct themes: place, species, flora or fauna, disasters, and environmental justice. These themes document the Philippines’ richly diverse environmental history through different responses that range from the admiration of the breathtaking surroundings of the tropics; wistful inquiry into the many different species discovered or undiscovered in its land, sea, and air; meditations on the surprises the country’s vegetation still offers despite years of intimacy with its topography; the silent awe at its small beauties—the colorful sunsets, pristine beaches, magical waterfalls, tips of its mountains; the many names for the country’s devastations—Sendong, Pinatubo, Yolanda, habagat; musings and anger at what natural or manmade ecological destructions in the country unearth about its societal, economic, and political structures, and the indomitable Filipino spirit that presides throughout all these verses and words.

The ecopoems in this anthology are some of the best works from established, contemporary, and beginning poets. The poets here are biologists, teachers, environmental activists, policy-makers, musicians, and so much more. This diversity, fitting for a collection about the local environment, brings about the ecopoetics that has yet to be thoroughly discussed in the literary commons—the ecopoetics of the Global South.