I’m a writer, researcher, and ukulele freak. I moved to Elkhorn in 2008. I’ve lived in the Monterey Bay Area most of my life. While completing my Ph.D. dissertation (update: done!) on the early writings of U.S. Filipinos published in their newspapers on the West Coast during the Great Depression–and how they nurtured and formed writing communities–I became interested in exploring in depth several small communities (Pajaro Valley, Elkhorn, Moss Landing, and Castroville) that have recently become the center of my everyday life. That exploration has lately focused on food (related to my restaurant reviewing gig and my boyfriend aka the excellent cook), but increasingly includes forays into local activism, neighborhoods, and businesses, the DIY movement, down country and suburban roads, and into books.
See also my blog, BiblioShock, which examines how everything related to books–libraries, jobs, publishing, bookstores, print and online text–is changing.
Click on “Articles & Essays” just under the header to see my longer articles and essays. See http://www.commonwealthcafe.info for information on my literary history research.
Photo by Michael A. Fink for Local Nomad
Published books I have written or edited:
Cover design by Michael Fink.
Published by Meritage Press in 2007.
Prau. A collection of poetry. Meritage Press.
From the back cover:
Jean Vengua is a poet of the typo, the missed step, the happy and unhappy accident; in short, she is a poet of linguistic and global migration. Prau moves its reader from the Philippines to the bay Area and back, “always mining past present tenses.” In her aptly titled prose poem, “Momentum,” Vengua links Gustav Mahler, her mother, Buffalo soldiers, Marie Curie, Roberto Matta, and Jose Rizal in a dance of histories real and imagined. The momentum of her writing brings together what is otherwise ripped asunder: “That is to make beautiful where the dissonance begins to tear. — Susan M. Schultz, Editor of Tinfish Press.
Vengua’s poems gently yet firmly navigate us towards yet to be explored spheres of psychological and lyrical revelation where “by turns and in rounds we are angry, indifferent and in love” and “without ghosts, the obscurity of night becomes real.” This is page-turner, addictive poetry that never falters in its gaze at the integrity of dream and the dream of integrity. — Nick Piombino, author of Fait Accompli.
Vengua’s poetry delves into the very nature of culture and custom. An ordinary postage stamp triggers a multi-racial dilemma. A personal memento unlocks a sequence of historic ramifications witnessing the first ever explosion of a hydrogen bomb. This is poetry tempered by the movements of New Historicism, postmodern irony and the culture clash of living in California. Languages abound. — Catalina Cariaga, Author of Cultural Evidence.
The Aching Vicinities. Chapbook, Otoliths Press.
The First Hay(na)ku Anthology. Meritage Press. Co-edited with Mark Young.
The Hay(na)ku Anthology Vol. II. Meritage Press. Co-edited with Mark Young.
The Flipside, by Rod Pulido. Screenplay and diary of author’s experience at the Sundance Film Festival. Tulitos Press. Publisher, co-editor, with Elizabeth H. Pisares.
the Debut: the Making of a Filipino American film. By Gene Cajayon and John Manal Castro. Screenplay and essays. Tulitos Press. Publisher, co-editor, with Elizabeth H. Pisares.