A search for identity is the current that runs through Dela Torre, Dani Putney’s intimate reflection of personal family histories.
Both tender & condemning, these poems are conversations with the speaker’s Filipina mother & American father, through which the speaker interrogates & celebrates aspects of their origin. Recalling an American childhood juxtaposed with their mixed-race identity, the speaker searches for recognition in everything from Asian grocery stores to classic art to chromosomes & subatomic particles. Caught between all-American images of Las Vegas, candy shops, & national parks & the mangoes & “Cebu’s finest puff pastry” of the Philippines, the speaker mourns that their “picture of Asia / was painted in America”—& yet, Dela Torre shows us that remembering the past is an act of love.
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