Swimmers Club

Originally from Misfits Mag, 2016


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Municipal Pool

Check which is the shallow end and note the point where you will be out of your depth.


Who: B.B.P Hosmillo
Where: Quezon City, Philippines
What: Writer

Hi. Who are you?

My name is Bry. I write poetry as B.B.P. Hosmillo.

Where are you from?

I’m born & raised in the Philippines. I’m convinced, however, that the country is not necessarily my home.

What time is it where you are? What's going on?

5:16 a.m. Before answering this Q&A, I read the first part of the poetry submissions for the June 2016 issue of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, an English publication based in Hong Kong & co-founded & perennially co-edited by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming & Jeff Zroback. After this Q&A, I will go back to reading the rest of the submissions. It’s going to be a wonderful issue!

Can you tell us a bit about your piece/pieces in Cassette 68?

I have three pieces in Cassette 68: one of which is from my debut collection, The Essential Ruin, & the other two from my second collection, Breed Me: a sentence without a subject, to be published by AJAR Press this year with Vietnamese translation by Hanoi-based poets Nha Thuyen & Kaitlin Rees. Both books are forthcoming.

How do these pieces differ to what you've written before or don't they?

They don’t. Or maybe they do.

Can you tell us a bit about what you're working on next?

I’m currently working on my third full-length collection of poetry tentatively called you cannot go back. This project explores the linkages between memory, disability, & queerness through a speaker talking to & about a persona named “paul.” Initially, I thought I could already pursue a project that deals with war victimhood, specifically the disability of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims. Unfortunately, I can’t pretend that I’m mentally prepared to do it by now. In late February 2016, my Vietnamese _________ friend suggested a title for that project, Giâc Mơ Tật Nguyền, which in English means something like “crippled dreams.” It’s a project that’s been growing in my heart & mind. Soon.

I don’t know why but war & disability have deeply, deeply engaged with me. Perhaps it is because war is loudly everywhere & I find myself as either politically impaired by my very own culture or the spoken impairment of my culture. In other words, the world outside of me relates to my difference & rarely to the attributes I can share with it. Hence, my desire is othered, my dreams often can’t make it to life, my loss is unrecognized, if not devalued. This is most probably the reason why I feel my body has very little use: that my very own existence opposes me.

I believe for a long time I will devote my creative efforts into making a certain poetics of disability. I don’t have any grand explanation of what it is & I don’t intend to arrive at anything grand, but my writing will certainly attempt at every possibility to capture the spirituality in being broken & the energy of difference in making its subject & the patience, the beautiful patience of the queer body for its unlivable world. I’m doing my best to make you cannot go back a memorable beginning in this pursuit.

Also, I’m co-editing a new publication, Queer Southeast Asia: A Literary Journal of Transgressive Art, with Southeast Asian dope writers & intellectuals namely Cyril Wong of Singapore, Hendri Yulius of Indonesia, J. Pilapil Jacobo of the Philippines, & Pang Khee Teik of Malaysia. The inaugural issue of the journal will be released in September 2016. Collectively, we want the journal to be an expansive platform for creative works produced in differently reimagining Southeast Asia. Further, we are very open to welcoming queer women writers from/of the region to join our editorial team. The website of this initiative is still under construction so for more information, please visit this temporary site.

Heard any good music this year?

Absolutely! Check out the following albums: Grace by Jeff Buckley, What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress by Sara Bareilles, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill, & Currency of Man by Melody Gardot. I don’t actively search for music so I appreciate it when people recommend new & old songs. In the past, some of my friends like Ria Chua Bautista, Deborah Chow, Warisara Ou Tangkawanich, & Ladan Osman have suggested songs to listen to & I will never forget how their suggestions saved at least one of my days. Maybe you could recommend one? Email the title to me at bryphosmillo@yahoo.com. I will kiss you when we meet. Or maybe I will just say thank you.

Do you fancy yourself as some kind of artist or what?

Well, instead of referring to myself as some “artist,” I’d rather entertain the question “what’s the use of art” & naturally it follows to understand what I do when I do art. If my writing qualifies me as an artist, then that’s alright. I’m really just surviving to engage with possibilities of seeing pain [of others & myself], otherness, & queer love through poetry. Honestly, my experience of writing is not at all enjoyable & I’m saying this without bitterness or regret. The fact is: it’s emotionally difficult especially when I’m writing about someone else’s trauma or experience of oppression. My imagination is held by moments of guilt, cruelty, & soft privilege altogether. Most of the times, I want to write a poem that does not suffer, I want to hide evilness, like “that thing should not be addressed” I’d say. But poetry is responsible & poets have to trust the honesty of their poetic language that’s why I write without unnecessarily censoring myself; devoid of any pretension that this world loves me back or that this world is truly lovely. In this kind of “difficult” discipline or practice, I find so much meaning, like I’d be pleased to have another year for it, like I could tell my future self “there’s essentially nothing non-corrosive here, but you can write again!” 

Finally, have you read anything good this year?

A lot. Let me just mention the last seventeen strong books I’ve intimately had my eyes on:

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking(2006) by Joan Didion
  2. Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America(2002) by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  3. Senses of the Subject(2015) by Judith Butler
  4. State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious(2015) by Isabell Lorey [trans. by Aileen Derieg]
  5. In Mad Love and War(1990) by Joy Harjo
  6. northeast asia’s difficult past: essays in collective memory(2010) edited by mikyoung kim & barry schwartz
  7. Ozone Journal(2015) by Peter Balakian
  8. Flowers of Evil(1964) by Charles Baudelaire [trans. by Wallace Fowlie]
  9. Faithful and Virtuous Night(2014) by Louise Glück
  10. The Book of Goodbyes(2013) by Jillian Weise
  11. Beauty Is a Wound(2002) by Eka Kurniawan [trans. by Annie Tucker] 
  12. Return to My Native Land(1969) by Aimé Césaire
  13. Kingdom Animalia(2011) by Aracelis Girmay 
  14. Selected Poems of Paul Celan(1972) translated by Michael Hamburger & Christopher Middleton 
  15. Poems Under Saturnby Paul Verlaine [trans. & introduced by Karl Kirchwey] 
  16. Loss: Politics of Mourning(2003) edited by David L. Eng & David Kazanjian
  17. The Sting of Death & other stories(1985) by Toshio Shimao [trans. by Kathryn Sparling]


B.B.P. Hosmillo is the founding co-editor of Queer Southeast Asia: A Literary Journal of Transgressive Art to be launched in late 2016. Anthologized in Under the Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry (2011) and Bettering American Poetry (2016), he is the author of two forthcoming books, The Essential Ruin and Breed Me: a sentence without a subject; the latter of which will be released in summer 2016 by AJAR Press with Vietnamese translation by Hanoi-based poets Nhã Thuyên and Kaitlin Rees. His writing has appeared or forthcoming in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Margins (Asian American Writers’ Workshop), Palaver Journal, and minor literature[s], among others. 

His work is due to appear in Cassette 68, Guest-Edited by Nat Baldwin (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2016)

N.B In response to Bry's request to recommend him a song, Richard recommended "Golden Days" by Whitney and Victoria recommended "Run Fast" by The Julie Ruin.