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ALWAYS MOVING TOWARD JUSTICE: A Review by John Streamas

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ALWAYS MOVING TOWARD JUSTICE

A review of Balikbayang Mahal: Passages from Exile, by E. San Juan, Jr. Morrisville, NC: Lulu.com, 2007. 155 pages.

by John Streamas


Fairly commonly these days, poets end their volumes with a short prose section, usually footnotes or glosses on the poems. Likewise, except for a short epilogue-poem at the very end, the closing section of the new book Balikbayang Mahal: Passages from Exile, by E. San Juan, Jr., is a work of prose. But it is not brief, nor is it made of footnotes or clarifications of the poems. It is a 31-page essay, part scholarly, part autobiographical, and all enjoining, on the state of exile. And what it urges us to do, by way of analyzing the history of the colonizing of the Philippines, is work for the revolution that alone can save the world’s targeted and vulnerable peoples from occupation or exile. “Revolution,” writes San Juan, “is the way out through the stagnant repetition of suffering and deprivation.” At stake is of course…