October is Filipino American History Month!

It’s been over a month since my last post, and we’ve seen Summer fold into Fall –

I’ve been busy teaching – but have by far not slowed down in the creative process!  Here’s a little reportback on recent events, forthcoming poetry releases, and events – most notably the next chapter in the A History of the Body project, merging the staged reading of a few scenes from the play (fresh from the Atlantic Center) with a talk from scholars/writers who are right in the center of the dialogue around the politics of skin color.  (Can’t attend?  Make a DONATION towards the project by clicking here!)

See you soon!



AMPLIFY! and the Filipino Book Festival: In August, I featured at the youth intern-run event at the Mink Bar, in SF, which was attended by poets who kept the open mic blazing!  Then,just the past Sunday, the first Filipino International Book Festival took over a part of the Civic Center.

OAKLAND PRIDE appearance: A last-minute slot opened up for me on the Main stage – a blast, even though there were very few in the audience!  Shoutout to Ramona Webb, who hosted the main stage.

FOOD & FREEDOM RIDERS event at the New Parish, Sept 1:  I was invited to share a poetry set at this event that welcomed back a group of young people who visited farms and factories, “investigating how people on the frontlines of the industrial food system are surviving its dark side, and thriving in the light of their own alternatives.” With fellow guest performers, Jenn Johns (Go Live), Ashel “Seasunz” Eldridge, BRWN BFLO, and inspiring speakers including Hank Herrera (Dig Deep Farms), it was an inspiring event.  During my set, I called out the Filipino farmers who often go unacknowledged, and felt the ancestors.

MILLS PANEL: It was great to be on a panel at the Mills College Community Teaching Project alongside Kenji Liu, Lisa Marie Rollins and Leah Lakshmi Samarasinha.  Kiala Givehand, instructor, hosted us and facilitated a discussion about teaching and writing and the life of a working artist.

NOW: BOOKING! Interested in having me speak, perform, or lead a writing/performance workshop at your school, university, community center, large event or private gathering?  NOW BOOKING in California and beyond – specifically looking for booking out-of-state.  Please contact alicia1kester@gmail.com and cc: booking@aimeesuzara.net OR (better) go directly to my website, www.aimeesuzara.net and download a BOOKING REQUEST FORM to send with your request!


  • Tayo Literary Magazine, http://tayoliterarymag.com: two poems will be published this year, one in the online edition (“It can be a bad thing to be lost”), and one in print (“sometimes we would find bones”)
  • Hanggang Sa Muli, Homecoming Stories for the Filipino Soul, edited by Frances Ong and Reni Roxas, an anthology by Tahanan Books (Philippines) will include one of my poems, “this house.” http://tahananbooks.com
  • Conversations from the Wartime Café: A Decade of War 2001-2011`, edited by Sean Labrador y Manzano, was recently released and includes one of my pieces, “All Time,” which was written specifically to the theme of the book about 911 and post-911.


October 22, 2011: I’ll be the Brunch Speaker at 10:30 am at the ECCTYC (English Council for California Two Year Colleges) Conference. “Meeting in the Margin: Discourses on Reading and Writing” Location: Doubletree Hotel San Francisco Airport, Burlingame, CA. Registration required for the conference. Visit www.ecctyc.org .

OCTOBER 23, 2011, 7:30pm: A History of the Body Staged Reading and Story Circle

Here’s the chance to catch a staged reading of NEW scenes from my multidisciplinary play, A History of the Body. And learn too about skin color(ism) and skin whitening from scholars Joanne Rondilla and Margaret Hunter! Bios below. Be a part of the dialogue!

A History of the Body: Staged Reading & Story Circle

Sunday October 23, 2011, 7:30 pm
General Admission $10
Students and Seniors $8

1310 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-2060

A History of the Body, a new multidisciplinary theater work by Aimee Suzara (founder of the Pagbabalik/Return Project) explores the impacts of colonization on the body, using the particular history of Filipino Americans to illuminate universal experience. The play, in development, addresses beauty, skin color and whitening, and exposition. A short staged reading of a segment / scene will be shown followed by a facilitated, lively dialogue about the themes with the writer, director (Tracy Ward), Visual Designer (Aimee Espiritu), audience members and guests, Joanne Rondilla and Margaret Hunter.

“A History Of The Body” was an important, informative, beautiful, visceral journey into how colonization affects female bodies. It is Filipina history, it is American history, and resonates deeply with all colonized people of color.” – Richard Wright, Audience member, November 21, 2011

MARGARET HUNTER: Margaret Hunter is Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology at Mills College in Oakland, California. Her areas of interest include skin tone stratification in the African American and Latina/o communities, racial attitudes and colorblind racism, and the representation of women of color in hip-hop. Some of her published work in these areas includes Race, Gender, and the Politics of Skin Tone (2005, Routledge), “Buying Racial Capital: Skin-Bleaching and Cosmetic Surgery in a Globalized World,” in the Journal of Pan African Studies and “Women of Color in Hip Hop: The Pornographic Gaze” in Race, Gender, & Class.

JOANNE RONDILLA:Born and raised in Dededo, Guam, Joanne L. Rondilla is finishing her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation examines Filipino women and perceptions of beauty and skin color in the Philippines and the U.S. Joanne is the co-author of Is Lighter Better? Skin Tone Discrimination Among Asian Americans (with Paul Spickard, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007) She is the co-editor of Pacific Diaspora: Island Peoples in the United States and Across the Pacific (with Paul Spickard and Debbie Hippolite-Wright, University of Hawai`i Press, 2002). She also wrote a chapter in Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters (edited by Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Stanford University Press, 2009). Her publications can be found online or bought locally at independent bookstores such as Arkipelago Books and Eastwind Books of Berkeley.

NOVEMBER 10th: Featured Poetry Set at LUNADA at the GALERIA DE LA RAZA , San Francisco.   LUNA LLENA BIRTHDAY FIESTA for Lunada host & curator Sandra García Rivera. Featured poet AIMEE SUZARA & musical guest D.J. SPECIAL K.