In The Blink of an I, a collection of poems from emerging Filipino-American writer Ryan Jesena is now available. The poems in this book have appeared in anthologies throughout the world; from India, Australia, and Northern America. Poems in this compilation have been published in The Blindman's Rainbow, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, The New Mirage Quarterly, The Fallen Angels Anthology, The Manzanita Quarterly Review, and The Taj Majal Review. The collection has been praised as "beautiful as it is intriguing.., "...subtle and endearing in every layer", and "a relevant and ground-breaking journey."
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At its basic level, In The Blink of an I is a travel journal that compares and contrasts the two places of the poet's affection, Los Angeles and the Philippines. Ryan Jesena explores issues of identity, love, history, technology, and existentialism in the context of his return to the Philippine islands after a 15 year hiatus. It is from this perspective that the poems in this collection come to life with precise imagery and electric emotion. Beneath the surface, the collection reveals more than just a cultural or personal discourse, it is an experiment of a new narrative form, a hybrid of structures and influences that weave together playfully with a distinct focus and purpose. Its various layers, anchored by language, imagery, streams of consciousness and unconsciousness, tugs at the heart with a relentless passion.
In The Blink of an I is buoyed structurally within three chapters: Stabbing Painfully at the Wind, The Mouse that Swallowed Manila, and Looking Inside, Looking Out. The first chapter Stabbing Painfully at the Wind echoes the past through fragile moments of bitterness and frustration. The poems Bitterest, Enough, Barfly, Parasol, Metaphor, and Ravenmoon deftly pace this chapter to set the struggle and direction of the book. The Mouse That Swallowed Manila introduces poems that were written in the Philippines, poems such as Maynila, Awaiting, Pensive, Platonic, Good, and Pangs feverishly comes alive on the streets of the cities from Manila to the Provinces. Looking Inside, Looking Out becomes the solid bookend to the collection. Pavement, Revel, Sandcastles, Magnolia, Androgyny, Puddle, and Tactics succeed with an impressive reflection on epiphanies, absolution, and rebirth.
"You are like sitting in a bar with your legs crossed like swastikas," is the unforgettable opening line to the poem Enough. The snapshot of the image slowly widens to expose a panorama of a scene taking life in a landmark Hollywood bar. The location quickly shifts to a frustrated voice when he writes "...waiting for the kite, with no twine, dangling in the sky...". With images that are powerful and demanding, Ryan Jesena refuses to give an inch to the moment, swallowing his epiphanies delicately."
-- Meredith Halberstam on "Enough"