Thinking out loud, wishing softly: an open letter

In the past few weeks, I have no idea how or why, I gained a number of new followers to this little blog. Some look like legitimate poetry lovers, others probably liked a single post they found at random and decided to follow what I write anyway. Whatever each reader’s reasons may be, I would like to say THANK YOU. I hope to one day hear from you.

A bit of looking back, looking forward now.

My first book of poetry, Beneath an Angry Star (Anvil Publishing, 1992), came out two years after I graduated from university. The book was one of the first in that publisher’s series of titles which appeared with, literally, back-to-back authors. Each poet had his/her own front cover. You had to flip the book to read the other. Romulo Baquiran, Jr’s Filipino poetry appeared with mine.

Two years later came Salimbayan (Publikasyong Sipat, 1994) a poetry book which I shared with two good friends, Argee Guevarra and Neal Imperial.

After a long gap, two books came out at the same time in 2011 (I had already been living in South Africa since October 1994). University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, with Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo at the helm, launched Alien to Any Skin and Baha-bahagdang Karupukan. As far as I know, no other Filipino poet has published two poetry books in two languages (not just translations of the same set of poems) at the same time. It was a great year.

This year, if all goes as planned, that is bound to be repeated with the publication of Sound Before Water (by end of August or early September) and Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran (September or October). I believe I have found my ideal publisher in UST Publishing House. The care they showed to both author and book has impressed me to such an extent that I find it unimaginable not giving them first look at future manuscripts.

There are plans to eventually put these titles out on digital format. I am hoping to convince them somehow that it will be worth their while to do that sooner rather than later. I want to ask them to take a leap with my poetry books – to begin with, the two titles in English (Alien to Any Skin and Sound Before Water) – and make them accessible to possible readers (buyers!) outside of the Philippines.

This is me hoping against hope that a small wish will be heard by the few followers of this blog. But one can’t just expect kindness and support out of thin air, one has to offer something. Here goes.

I’m busy putting together two new poetry manuscripts in English. One of them (tentatively called Sky for Silent Wings) has a section called “Endings are Beginnings” which contains a nine-poem cycle I am very proud of. I will send you the whole section if you send me a request in the form of a comment to this post. Your message should have your email address – which I promise not to make public – to which I shall send the file. If, after reading the poems, you think my poetry deserves to reach a wider audience, then please return to this post and show your support.

There is no obligation for you to buy my books – in print or future digital format. Although doing so would obviously make my publisher happy to continue supporting my work.

Is this too much to ask? 🙂 I wish to thank you in advance.


endings are beginnings cover page

And for those who may want to see some of my poems which appeared in ALIEN TO ANY SKIN, a number of them are featured in The Houseboat.

About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. His latest book is BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, published by Deep South in South Africa. Check out the official blog page for Bloodred Dragonflies. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. San Anselmo Publications released HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS in 2019 followed by CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS in 2020 - both books can be purchased through their Facebook page. View all posts by matangmanok

11 responses to “Thinking out loud, wishing softly: an open letter

  • Gerry de Asis

    Thanks, Jim, by inviting me to this process through email. I am not a follower of blogs, tweets, etc. (I stopped at Facebook.), but I do wish to join you in supporting “Endings are Beginnings.”

    Please send me the section. Thank you.

  • Belly Peterson

    Please send me the section. I see no reason why your collections aren’t available globally in, at least, eBook format.

  • Ryan

    Hi Jim,

    Your poetry is fresh, vibrant and simply beautiful. It is also a relevant and insightful glimpse at many events taking place in our world from a keen observer. My exposure to your writing has been, for me, one of the most valuable things to come from Goodreads and the WSS. I enjoy my chance to interact with you there and also following your blog here.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think there is definitely a market for digital copies of your work. I’m looking forward to buying a print or digital copy of Sound Before Water.

    I’ll stop rambling now, Jim, I just wanted to let you know your writing brings me great pleasure and enjoyment.

    Kind Regards from your friend in Australia,


  • Syrian Dawn | Matangmanok

    […] is a LINK to a previous post where I offer a free set of poems for anyone […]

  • matangmanok

    Reblogged this on Matangmanok and commented:

    I posted this as a NOTE on my Facebook account and have had good feedback so far. The offer is still up. 🙂

  • Rise

    I am making this up as I go along,
    borrowing from memories
    decades gone.

    A great closing sequence for a future collection. The playfulness of form, images, language–brilliant. A fluid take on the enjambment of closing/opening lines/titles. Creates something like the convergence of the multi: each one reads, each piece consummates, each jars the hemispheres.

  • Yasmin Idris

    Amazing imagery deriving from the depth of Jim’s poems. He takes us to another dimension into the glimpses of social unrest, ecological injustice, human nature and past.
    It’s riveting, subcutaneously-achingly beautiful. It has a kind of feel which leaves lasting impression. Looking forward to see this in print Jim , and this time, next to a glass of nice crispy Sauvignon Blanc :)))

  • van

    Magandang umaga po!

    Magpahanggang ngayon po, nakikita ko po na parang wala masyadong limelight ang mga aklat ng tula ngayon. Hindi ko rin po alam kung paano ko mababahagian ng enthusiasm sa poetry ang mga kaklase ko. Pero po may paniniwala pa rin ako sa Philippine poetry. Sana po’y maipadala ninyo po sakin ang tula. Salamat po!

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