Web Del Sol presents Jon Pineda as a Featured Poet for the 2005 National Poetry Month.

The Poet Behind the Word

The Poetry Chapbook

Cinque Terre

My Sister, Who Died Young, Takes Up The Task


Broken Images

This Poetry

In A Room of Unlit Candles




On The Nature Of Things: An Apology For The Starlings

Jon Pineda's Birthmark is a welcome and in some ways auspicious collection of poems by a young writer who will not be long in making his name and his poetry known. Possessing the delicacy of early James Wright and the improvisational bravura of Forest Gander, Pineda's strength lies in an unusual music and his feel for tidewater Virginia and the marvelous stories it tells him. Among these stories is the beautiful homage to family and the brave character of Filipino culture making that all-too-familiar journey toward new life in America. Birthmark is, like its namesake, tender, bright, lasting, and filled with identity we are called to remark is, if not our own, close enough to feel our own. This is a fine beginning for a splendid poet.
Dave Smith



No matter what path it takes, though, the world of the poem—its sounds and turnings and intimacies and actions and communions— eventually ends, and there, waiting for you, is that inevitable silence all readers
(and poets) must face.
Poetry seems to me born out of one’s relationship with that silence.


My Sister, Who Died Young,
Takes Up The Task

A basket of apples brown in our kitchen,
their warm scent is the scent of ripening,

and my sister, entering the room quietly,
takes a seat at the table, takes up the task

of peeling slowly away the blemished skins,
even half-rotten ones are salvaged carefully.

She makes sure to carve out the mealy flesh.
For this, I am grateful. I explain, this elegy

would love to save everything. She smiles at me,
and before long, the empty bowl she uses fills,

domed with thin slices she brushes into
the mouth of a steaming pot on the stove.

What can I do? I ask finally. Nothing,
she says, let me finish this one thing alone.

Jon Pineda is the author of BIRTHMARK (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004), winner of the Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry Open Competition. A recipient of a Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, he is a graduate of James Madison University and of the MFA program in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received an AWP INTRO Award for Poetry. His recent work has appeared in PRAIRIE SCHOONER, SOU'WESTER and various anthologies.

website: http://www.jonpineda.com/

Email Jon Pineda: info@jonpineda.com  




photo credit: melissa nolledo-cristoffels


Jon Pineda's Birthmark is one of those rare first books that will make its mark on their generation just as James Tate's The Lost Pilot and Tony Hoagland's Sweet Ruin had on their peers. These masculine poems explore the father/son dynamic in a mixed race context. The son is half Filipino and half white and this cultural conflict colors his interaction with his family members and the white American society of Hampton Roads, Virginia. This is a book which many poetry anthologists will turn to for years to come.
—Nick Carbó


In this elegiac first book, memory takes the shape of a swimming lesson and of a house made of doors. Loss takes the shape of a scar, intimacy of a birthmark. Whatever marks a life changes, in the alchemy of this poet’s language and vision, to moments that open, beyond coming and going, into the present. These are poems of great tenderness and grace.
—Margaret Gibson


Jon Pineda's first book is brimming with a wisdom that seems not contrived from literary ambition, but born of a joy for life quite incidental to such ambition. It is the wisdom of Telemachus, the prototypical son, gained from long hours contemplating the missing father, then reconciling to the father's return. It is a wisdom that begets tenderness, and broadcasts, with strength and humility, a vision of contraries reconciled at the core of longing. Birthmark is a fine and absorbing book, I'm sure the first of many. —Richard Katrovas


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