Please join us for a reading with poet Randy Gonzales featuring his latest collection, Settling St. Malo, followed by a booksigning.
“The poems in Settling St. Malo challenge us to rethink the American narrative in all its narrowness, to rethink poetics we are comfortable with, even complacent about… these poems shift and shape the new essential story of who we truly are.” -Darrel Bourque, Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2007-2011
Settling St. Malo brings readers back to a time when Louisiana had the largest Filipino population in the United States—when Filipinos fished out of St. Malo, dried shrimp on Barataria Bay, and designed Mardi Gras floats in New Orleans. Randy Gonzales explores the history of Louisiana’s nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Filipino communities and his family’s story of migration and assimilation through a blend of documentary and lyrical poetry. Settling St. Malo is a history of Filipino Louisiana in verse and an ode to the struggles of our immigrant ancestors, a collection of poems whose substance, language, and rhythms are informed by oral histories, diaries, letters, and government documents—poems infused with cultural and visual landscapes and driven by a poet’s desire to account for a lost heritage.
A native New Orleanian of Filipino descent, Randy Gonzales is a poet, writer, and community historian who researches and shares the stories of Filipino Louisiana. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he holds the Dr. James Wilson/BORSF Eminent Scholar Endowed Professorship in Southern Studies.