Two old, one new

‘Pried’ was written in 1997 on a cold, monsoon-season night. ‘Sun in My Eyes’ was written in 2002, shortly after the birth of my only child. Both poems appear in A Roomful of Waiting,  published in 2007, by The Big Dipper Printing House via

Copies of Roomful are available for purchase at and The Hong Kong Book Centre.  Copies for circulation in the Philippines are available at the UP Diliman Main Library, Filipiniana Section at Gonzalez Hall, the UP Mindanao Library Reserve Section, and The National Library of the Philippines.



Here’s one I composed while in transit this afternoon, amidst Metro Manila traffic. 



“Interea medium ÆNEAS iam classe tenebat

certus iter fluctusque atros Aquilone secabat
moenia respiciens, quæ iam infelicis ELISSÆ
conlucent flammis. quæ tantum accenderit
causa latet; duri magno sed amori dolores
polluto, notumque furens quid femina posit
triste per augurium Teucrorum pectora ducunt .”

– ÆNEID 5: 1-7 (caps mine – Note: ‘Elissæ’ is Dido’s alternate name.)


“It is Æneas’ frown that ends my days.
If he forsake me not, I never die;
For in his looks I see eternity,
And he’ll make me immortal with a kiss.”
– Dido, Queen of Carthage, 
Act V


Mythologies die
When the mirror meets the sky
And reflections of the sun’s rays—
Beaming joy and symmetry—
Swoop your sails, and sway
You away from your doldrums,
Air empty, waterbed cemetery,
Your Scylla and Charibdis ceased at sea
For Lavinia, by prophecy, to set you free:
‘I must return to Sicily.’

Carry on, Aeneas.

The sun in my eyes
Burns, sears, a-light and
Funereal, fun and real,
Oh, the joy, idolatry—
Oh, but for the drowning song
Of nereids, nymphs and Dido clones,
I would remember all this fire
To set alight my funeral pyre.

The garden green, the grand allure,
Pavilions great, the Lotus cure
Are all no competition for
The Trojan Gnosis—Oh, Aeneas:

Carthage smouldered,



*after Christopher Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage.


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Commas for Beattie, Dashes for Nin


This is a poem included in A Roomful of Waiting, published by The Big Dipper Printing House, Manila, Philippines. You can find copies of Roomful at the UP Main Library Filipiniana Section, the Ateneo ALIWW section, and the National Library. Copies for purchase are also available at Amazon and Swindons.

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CATACLYSMAL: Seventy Wasted Poems – The Manila Launch

Click here to download and invite a friend!

When: Thursday, the 16th of July – 3-5 pm
Where: F. Arcellana Reading Room, FC 1088, UP Diliman, QC

Refreshments will be served. All are welcome.

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The Magnolia Girl


The Magnolia Girl was published in the Manila Times on Sunday, 31st May, 2014.

You will recall an ice-cream house commercial that was aired in December of 1986 that began with the line,
‘There’s always a reason …”

Had I not passed the audition, I suppose I would have gone quietly unnoticed. Perhaps being unnoticed was the best recourse at the time.

Click this link for the poem.

‘The Magnolia Girl’ is published in CATACLYSMAL: SEVENTY WASTED POEMS. Available at these bookstores:

a. Dymocks Bookstore (Discovery Bay)
b. Swindon Books
c. on Kindle



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The Sun-HK reviews CATACLYSMAL: Seventy Wasted Poems

Poet, journalist and activist Vir Lumicao reviews Cataclysmal: Seventy Wasted Poems in Service to the Filipino Sun-HK in Mid-July 2014. Click this link for the article.

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Where ‘Cataclysmal’ is sold in Hong Kong

You can find ‘Cataclysmal: Seventy Wasted Poems’ in Hong Kong at Dymocks Discovery Bay and Swindon Books. Alternatively, you can purchase copies in Kindle Format at or at this website’s online shop. Choose the PayPal option and you get your orders delivered for FREE anywhere on the planet!

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Interview with Jan Yumul

Listen to a recent interview with Jan Yumul here about Pinoy youth in HK and how they cope with Filipinitude whilst having been born and raised in Hong Kong.

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Radio Gaga

Listen to this recent RTHK3 Radio Interview with Phil Whelan.

And then listen to this  wacky DBC5 Radio Smiles interview with Celia & Cris  tomorrow, June 17th, from 3-6 pm! Poems to be read include “Newness,” “Attending to the Chill,” “Persistent,” “Drama in Safer Places” and “The Cold Left Behind”. I get to talk in Tagalog – a lot! Thanks very much for having me, Phil, Celia & Cris!

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FREE Workshop Registration

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE: The Sunday workshop at Peng Chau now runs from 4-6 pm. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you so much, Daisy  & Leo at The Sun-HK, for including these events in your SUN CALENDAR!

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Rocket Science

You are invited to the launch of my second poetry book

Seventy Wasted Poems

Saturday, 28 June – 12 noon
North Committee Room, 7/F
High Block, City Hall
Central, Hong Kong

RSVP +852 5527 2606
Enquiries: azada@bigfoot. com


I do this for charity almost every year, when resources permit:

FREE Writing Workshops for Pinoy Helpers in HK
Bookings essential. Max 30 pax. +852 5527 2606

a. Saturday, 28 June – 10:30 am to 12 noon
7/F HK City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central

b. Sunday, 29 June – 2-4 pm
1/F Peng Chau Municipal Building
#6 Po Peng Street, Peng Chau, HK

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Mother’s Day Present

I have given myself a Mother’s Day present. I am shutting myself away from undesirables on social media.

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Excerpts from Forthcoming Chapbook

Three poems from Cataclysmal: Seventy Wasted Poems pre-press have been featured in the Sunday Times Magazine of the Manila Times (est. 1898). Links below.

1. A Blur of Beautiful Things

2. Plane View

3. A Villanelle for Eros

Questions, reviews, and replies are most welcome. I would be truly grateful if you would let me know what you think. Thanks very much for visiting my site!

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70 Wasted Poems

The draft is now with people in charge of front and back matter. I’ve been looking for a book design and it turns out the cover may just as well be right under my nose at home.

Literally now, hanging above my head where I write, is a painting I conjured up years ago at a place called ‘Art Jamming’ on Wellington Street, Central.

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The Next Great Filipino Novel

There’s  a part of me that feels akin to Edith Wharton. If I can’t write my novel just yet, perhaps I should help someone who can.

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Brewing Ideas, Itching for a Show

It is funny how, when the time is right, all things and events conspire to bring out one’s penchant for conceptualising and developing a show. I learnt much of this in my early twenties’, while working in Monique Wilson’s New Voice Company. Ana Valdes-Lim gave the whole company a master class in mask, voice, physical theatre, and it was the realm of physical theatre that I wanted to explore.

Theatricality isn’t always fixed, or orderly, quipped my other acting teacher at LAMDA, John Link. He said that there was something more interesting in a messy scene.

I’ve never quite been in such open and vulnerable messiness in a theatre piece before, and it would be quite the curious cat in me to find out.

And then there’s the amazing Judith Halberstam, part of a triumvirate of amazing minds (Halberstam, Taylor and de Groot) at the Women’s History Network.

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Two books will be published in early 2014.

  • Cataclysmal is an exploration of the vulnerability of the human condition when, quite literally, exposed to the elements.
  • About Time is pretty much my stab against having taken far too long at publishing my fiction and travel pieces.
  • A third book is in the works…It should most likely be my PhD dissertation.


I’m thinking of experimenting with coffee table books, perhaps to bring in some visuals into the writing. Perhaps I could write about home decoration–which is precisely why I must have been so obsessed with Edith Wharton for so long. What’s interesting about this kind of writing is that the author should not shy away from the word STYLE and DESIGN. Unfortunately, I don’t consider myself a person with that much STYLE or an expert with an eye for DESIGN.

It is, however, a plan. Plans are quite useful for carrying things out and getting one’s life in order. The next time I hear someone tell me, ‘That sounds like a plan,’ I guess I will no longer take it a euphemism for ‘Dream on,’ or ‘Hell, bloody likely.’ I’ll actually delude myself into thinking that the person believes in what I’m capable of doing.

As you can very well see, if I don’t believe in my own writing capacities (even if at times I do think I still live as I do on this planet to WRITE), then who will?

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Essays and articles

I look forward to an article that explores Being Filipino elsewhere. Given my 1000-word limit, I know that some statements may sound harsh, but something needs to be said about the Pinoy who wants a quiet life devoid of prejudice or presumption, whether either tendency comes from friend or foe, from foreigner or fellow. And we best get on now with the thesis chapters.

The link here, and the article is due to be uploaded soon.

As I mentioned in one social media post, I seem to have loads of gunk in my head. While I’ve been writing lengthy email essays to friends who have become a bit too busy–and understandably so–to reply these days, I’ve decided to convert them into essays instead. At least, with the occasional left-field compound-complex sentence (which I hope editors will navigate properly and not spoil the flow of thought), there’s someone bound to need clarification, which one would gratefully supply on an online forum.

And the great conversation continues.

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S needs to learn a few speeches, especially this one, so she won’t forget her origins. The speech here.

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CFP: Mixed Race 2.0

Yes, there’s an essay I’ve been meaning to write, but I need to finish Chapter 5 first, then do this during Holy Week, as it is time to contemplate about a lot of things during this period anyway.

Deadline: 16 April 2012

“Mixed Race 2.0: Mixing Race, Risk, and Reward in the Digital Age” is a project dedicated to examining the intersections of multiracial identities that lurk behind the scenes of everyday life in an increasingly networked world. In recent years, multiracial identities have seen increased representation in media, politics, art and activism. To explore these exciting transitions…, “Mixed Race 2.0” will pose questions and provide analyses that strike the core of what multiracial identities have meant, currently mean, and will mean to generations across the globe.

The primary question is: What does mixed race 2.0 mean to you? Potential themes with which to address this question include, but are not limited to:

2010 v. 2000 US Census
Digital v. Analog
“Hapa” v. “Mulatto”
Book v. e-Media
One Box v. Check All that Apply
Consumers and Marketing
The Ivory Tower v. The Real World
America v. The World
History v. Future


There is a significant market for a contemporary and analytically engaged, yet very accessible, book and media project on the meanings of multiracial identities in the digital age. The target audiences are both popular and academic consumers. The general consumer interested in race, identity, politics, demographic shifts, popular culture and media subject matter will find “Mixed Race 2.0” interesting and engaging. The academic consumer will find this text to be multi-disciplinary, and suitable for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as researchers and practitioners in the fields of communication studies, journalism, critical cultural studies, racial/ethnic studies, popular culture studies, mass communication and media studies, media literacy, sociology, and education.


We welcome the following formats of submission: essays, high-resolution images of artwork, short films no longer than 3 minutes, and music in mp3 form no longer than 3 minutes. Essay contributions should be approximately 2000 words, Chicago formatted, in 12-pt Times New Roman font. All submissions are due on or before Monday, April 16, 2012. Submissions should include contact information and a brief 50-word bio for each author. Authors of accepted projects will be notified no later than Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

All inquiries and submissions should be sent to the editors below:

Marcia Alesan Dawkins (
Ulli K. Ryder (
Alexandrina Agloro (


For inquiries:

For submissions:

Taken from the Asia Writes website

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The lecture’s done. I have a few revisions to make and another paper to write. All should be in place by April. It helps to have visited EuroDisney, in which–after the thrills of roller coaster rides–one is reminded about “imagineers” and Walt’s famous neologism: stick-to-it-ivity.

It helps to have a can-do attitude at this stage.

Note to self: PhD CAND by June 2012. Chapters down by June 2012: Brunton, More, Wollstonecraft, half of the Austen chapter and the introduction. Chapters to be done by December 2012: Edgeworth and Smith. Target date for final draft submission: February 28, 2013.

I’m quite eager to get back to full-time work soon before I think about having more children.

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Upgrade, for real

I am excited about my forthcoming upgrade lecture. I hope things bode well. Feb 8, 2012. Please pray for me. Thank you.

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EVENTS: 28 July-3 Aug 2011

Free admission. All are welcome!

1. Cataclysmal Conversations: Tell-All Poems, Tell-Tale Music and a One-Act Play
Thursday, 28 July 2011 – 7:00-8:30 pm
Black Soup Cafe + Art Space
154 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City

2. Interim Scenes in Cataclysmal Conversations:
Elegies, Apostrophes and Tolerable Rhapsodies with ‘Connexion’ (a one-act play)

Friday, 29 July 2011 – 7:00-9:00 pm

3. ‘What to Do with a Public Library’
– a talk chronicling 20 years of active bibliophilia in a public space

Quezon City Public Library
Quezon City Hall
Date and Time: TBC

4. Not a Reprise…More Cataclysmal Conversations:
New Poems and a Staged Reading of ‘Gale’ (a one-act play)

Part of the Conspiwriters Series on Tuesdays
Tuesday, 2 August 2011 – 7:00-8:30 pm
Conspiracy Garden Cafe
59 Visayas Avenue, Quezon City

5. Female Corporeality and Childbirth in the English Romantic Period
– working papers
Wednesday, 3 August 2011 – 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
2/F Gonzalez Hall, Main Library
The University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City
RSVP: (as seating can be limited at certain hours)

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It is such a difficult experience to go on with one’s normal life in public while worrying about people in one’s home region whose lives are at the mercy of natural forces…and there’s nothing one can do about it except hope and pray. The super-tsunami has entered Philippine territory; my father lives in Davao. 🙁

Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers.

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Upgrade preparation

I am in the middle of writing a chapter consisting of some 7,000 words of mine and 3,000 words from references. This 10,000 word chapter is meant to be my upgrade paper. Besides this, I need to finish a report about my progress and an outline of the chapters of my dissertation (US)/thesis (UK).

After which, perhaps in July before the summer holidays, I might be scheduled for another talk.

All this sounds daunting, but I’ve lived with two ideas that seem to have worked since I was a kid:

a. Work hard – finish what you’ve started; and

b. You don’t choose a book; the book ‘chooses’ you.

I know I wouldn’t be in London if it weren’t for these two personal directives. The drive behind the first statement is self-explanatory; this is how we get things done. The second, however, is how I manage to spot interesting passages which I can somehow explain while the thought is being illuminated to me as I read. Such practices can take a lot of time, as opposed to locating passages actively. The thing is: if we’re looking for parts and passages that have never been quoted or noticed by anyone else before, we need to feel as relaxed as possible upon reading. Why? Only then will the words that matter–the words that ring true to you, the singular reader–jump out and tell you to take notice.

Locating information and relevant parts in reading material is an initial requirement, but the kind of ‘illumination’ that comes with the great ‘Ah, I see!’ and sudden realisation that something that you didn’t notice before is worth noticing at this moment is what we try to achieve each time we write papers for PhD work.

It seems daunting at this stage. It does.

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Research in the Fall

This is the place I call Heaven.

And this is another place where I feel welcome.

I look forward to signing up for research groups and associations, as well as renewing my membership with my old favourite, IGA.

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Conferences and Events

It looks like we’re going to be busy till 2011. Here’s my share of conferences to attend. Some may include presentations.

For a recent presentation, click here for a video. Pardon the momentary technical difficulty.

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Welcome to England

I think Tori Amos’ latest hit Welcome to England is my theme song for the year. Last year, I was fortunate enough to win a research grant to commence PhD studies at Roehampton University. After six months, I’m ready to move to London, probably my favourite city in the world.

Follow me and my adventures in London on Twitter and Multiply. Some of my written work this year will be featured at the 17th International Conference on Learning in Hong Kong, in Inside DB and in a publication in Manila which I cannot mention just yet.

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A Roomful Bargain

Get a copy of the book on for US$ 12.80 in time for the holidays! Click here!

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I’ve uploaded my musical compositions on a MySpace page here. Enjoy your visit!

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THE NOLI at the Peak Galleria: A Reading of Jose Rizal’s magnum opus

Come join Filipino writers, poets, journalists, editors, publishers, artists, media professionals, performers, actors and their friends to a reading of Jose Rizal’s NOLI ME TANGERE. 

When: Saturday, 20 June 2009 – 2 pm onwards
Where: 2/F The Peak Galleria, beside the view-deck staircase

Admission is free.

SMS 6712 7319 for more information or post a message below, please.

Part of the 4th Philippine Arts Festival in Hong Kong. More information here.

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Measure for Measure: Thank you

The 7-day run was a successful one, and the team would not have done it without your support. To our families, thank you for putting up with the late nights, the lack of focus while in your company and the endless nights in which we seemed to have internal conversations with no one save ourselves. To our friends, thank you for understanding why we had to decline your invitations to lunch, dinner, brunch or our usually frequented bar. To our bosses and officemates, thank you for indulging our attempts at being artists in arguably the worst time in financial history to play ‘pretend Patrick Stewart.’ To our beloved, significant others, thank you for being the inspiration of our tawdry lives; without you, our voices would sink, our spirits would weep, and our bodies would melt into sheer exhaustion. Thank you, Mr. Shakespeare, for a wonderfully written comedy; know that your play would not have been fully appreciated, understood and well-conceived until the 20th century, so we’re happy to be doing it in the 21st, which is all too willing to welcome it back to the stage.

To everyone who has lent a hand, foot, leg, arm or cuticle to this production, we humbly thank you; and we hope for your unwavering support in the next productions to come.

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Measure for Measure: Opening Night, 25 March 2009

Dear friends and family,

It has been a long journey for the ensemble of Measure for Measure, and even now, I shall not warp from the task at hand. Many of you are witness to my anxieties, fears, joys and excitement at taking the helm of ‘Director’ of this wonderful play, and I hope that you would continue to support us (albeit in spirit) with your kind wishes and thoughts. 

I’ve never asked for this before, but please pray, pray  pray for us and with us. Thank you.

And to treat everyone here to a free ‘BACKSTAGE PASS’ for moment to moment goings-on tonight at opening night, I invite you all to…


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Vocal power and ‘the speed of thought’

‘It must not be ponderous; it must run like the speed of thought.’ – Ralph Fiennes, on the speaking of Shakespeare’s text in an interview on Inside the Actor’s Studio.

Vocal power is the primary skill this production focuses on–not facial contortions, or swift leaps and strides, or the spontaneous breaking out into song and dance, or the gasps and ‘ahs’ that naturally make for believable modern drama. No, it is not the ability to shout, because we do not shout when we speak of our darkest fears in private.

As Lucio says, ‘Dark deeds must be darkly answered.’ The sound of the dark is soft, still, almost like silence. Similarly, Shakespeare’s text must proceed like the gradual (Latin rhet. ‘gradatio‘) yet lightning-quick unfolding of a mood–the way poetry works.

The actors work long and hard on their iambic rhythms, the ability to sustain focus in one, long 4-5 line thought–the way a sonnet works–and their breathing.

The power of Shakespeare lies not in the actor’s ability to demonstrate (for that is precisely what good actors avoid–flinging out 20 hints when only 2 are required), but in the clarity of his words when spoken in an enclosure. To do this, the chest must be open, the torso made strong but not stiff, and the solar plexus activated whilst connected to the breath in order to achieve that ‘clean’ voice (as described by vocal coach Melanie Mehta) devoid of a singer’s vibrato, a child’s squeal or a teenager’s croak. I can think of Ralph Fiennes in his recording of Pablo Neruda’s ‘Ode to the Sea,’ Robert Stephens in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie or the beguiling Vanessa Redgrave.

This is why the ensemble is made up of people who specialise in finding nuances in the spoken word and whose voices are heard–and listened to–on radio and television, resounding with gentle persuasion and an almost seductive enchantment that draws you in without warning.

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by William Shakespeare

25-31 MARCH 2009 – 8 pm

12 Hing Ning Road, N.T.
View map here

$200, $180

Tickets available w.e.f. 25 FEB 2009
online at URBTIX or its outlets.
Credit Card Hotline: 852 2111 5999
Ticket Reservations: 852 2734 9009

For enquiries and/or group bookings,

This production responds to the call to

Presented and Directed by A.M. Azada

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‘We are all frail.’

I must keep this line in mind. Funny how while Angelo and Isabella were quibbling away while the scene was being blocked, I couldn’t stop thinking of how the line really meant:


I hear echoes of Hamlet: ‘Frailty, thy name is woman.’ Shakespeare had just written and staged _Hamlet_ a few years before moving to the Mountjoy’s residence on Silver Street in 1604 where he wrote _Measure for Measure_.

Angelo later says, ‘Nay, women are frail, too.’ But he really meant to say it with a full stop. We shall see, then.

Visit Measure for Measure‘s LCSD webpage.

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Book Tour Launch, December 2008 – Manila

The year-long book tour A Roomful of Waiting will be launched formally in Metro Manila on Saturday, December 20, 2008. 

Click here for details.

Get your copy of A Roomful of Waiting NOW!

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A Roomful of Waiting: MAG:NETised

While I shall be launching the “book tour” at my friend Jippi’s shop in Ortigas (details later) on SAT, 20 Dec 2008, 7 pm, I shall also be reading and performing some excerpts from the book at MAG:NET, Katipunan.

by A.M. Azada

22 DEC 2008 & 5 JAN 2009 – 7 pm
MAG:NET Café, Katipunan

Featuring poems from her 2007 release,
and NEW poems from CREATURES OF ILIUM (working title)
RSVP by FRI, 19 DEC 2008 (for MON 22 DEC) and
SAT, 3 JAN 2009 (for MON 5 JAN).

Email us for more info.

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Asian Actors Wanted

This should be interesting. After much thought, I have decided to mount a theatrical production: to direct, produce, write dramaturgy for, design sets for and, when human resources are scarce, ACT in.

Audition details are as follows.

What: Auditions for Asian Actors
For: a comedy to be staged in April 2009
When: WED, 19th Nov 2008 and FRI, 21st Nov 2008 – 7-9 pm
Where: 4/F HK Visual Arts Centre, 7A Kennedy Road, Central. Please see map below.

View Larger Map

Sign up now!
Contact or +852 6712 7319.

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Workshops a success!

A big thank you to everyone who has signed up for the workshops! I’m so happy to have worked with you. Watch this update page for more workshops in the future!

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Dramatherapy Workshop for Helpers FULL! Free on Saturday?

All places for the Sunday Workshop for Helpers have been filled! However, there are ten (10) places available at another free workshop on SATURDAY, JUNE 28TH from 8-11 pm. Interested parties may sms (852) 6712 7319 for details and registration.

See you then!

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Dramatherapy Workshop for Helpers…FREE!

In celebration of the 3rd Philippine Arts Festival in Hong Kong, Lofty Projects is offering a special workshop designed for Filipino domestic helpers who would like to experience upliftment and release with the help of dramatic techniques and movement for the stage.

Armida Azada facilitates this three-hour workshop in English and Tagalog.

When: Sunday, June 29th – 1-4 pm
Where: Dance Practice Room, 7/F Sheung Wan Civic Centre
            345 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

Places are limited to a maximum of 20 participants, so sign up now!
To register, sms 6712 7319 or email
Don’t forget to leave your name, contact number and information about previous or present injuries.

Visit: for related events.

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Reading on the Peak

The Third Philippine Arts Festival in Hong Kong shall be launched with a reading of poems, essays and short fiction featuring Isabel Escoda, Armida Azada and other Pinoy writers living in Hong Kong. Details are as follows:

What: Opening ceremony, The Third Philartsfest-HK
Where: The Peak Galleria, The Peak
When: Sunday, 8th June 2008 – 2 pm

Copies of A Roomful of Waiting will be available at the Dymocks Peak branch.

Visit the Philippine Arts Festival-HK website for more details.

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A suitable gift

Five copies left on

Click here to give a friend a gift.

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