Two Poems: Magdaragat

An anthology of Filipino-Canadian writing Magdaragat (Cormorant Books) collects poems and other writings that highlight Filipinx experiences, histories, and identities in Canada.

Read two poems from the collection from Steffi Tad-Y and Karla Comanda.


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Two Poems from Magdaragat

Islands Among Mount Pleasant by Steffi Tad-Y

Pockets out of quarters

past Pedal Heads
              & a row of daffodils

you misheard flawed
             as flowered and filled

what was missing
             in the air with Yes

             people flower.

We left an archipelago
             whose elders weather

attack &
stroke as
if illness

were a cluster of islands
we kept crossing.

Water rising
           up to our hips.

Here we live
             in a city that thinks
it can bury the city
             it stands on.

Here we live
             in a city that unroofs
as often as it rains.
Under a glass awning
               we trace patterns
               on our palms.

arrival by Karla Comanda

o canada

i didn’t come to take ownership

of anything (except the clothes

i have on my carabao back (and

maybe the ones in my overweight

luggage)) because i don’t belong

to this glacial hell you call

winter & i don’t understand how

your airports can be so deceptive,

fooling me that your sun

is just as good as the one i left


can i call

you mine

except my blood isn’t rooted

here — you iced it over so now

it can’t circulate around my sun,

crippling me from returning

to coconut rays. i have no choice

but to stay here

so perhaps i should start calling you

our home and na[]ive land

* * *

Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Steffi Tad-y is a poet and writer based in the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, also known as Vancouver, British Columbia. Her chapbook of poems Merienda published by Rahila’s Ghost Press was nominated for the 2021 bpNichol Chapbook Award. In 2022, she published her debut book of poetry, From the Shoreline, with Gordon Hill Press. Steffi’s poems often reflect on kinship, diasporic geographies, and formations of the mind.

Karla Comanda is a Vancouver-based poet, playwright, editor, translator, educator, and arts administrator. Her poems have appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, filling station, decomp, Poetry is Dead, Room Magazine, and others. She is the 2017 recipient of the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop’s Jim Wong Chu Emerging Writers’ Award for Poetry. She has taught writing workshops for the UBC Philippine Studies Series, Vancouver Public Library, Migrante BC, La Salle University – Ozamiz, Co.ERASGA, and other organizations and institutions. In 2019, she hosted the Sinag-Araw Writing Workshop, a poetry workshop series created for Filipino youth in the diaspora.

* * *

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