Galatea Resurrects Review of ESL or You Weren't Here

Galatea Resurrects Review of ESL or You Weren't Here

We're overjoyed to share Eileen Tobios review of ESL or You Weren’t Here in Galatea Resurrects!


“There’s a tendency among many Filipinos to slang-icize Western brand names to articulate various objects or acts. For example, “Kodakan” means to take photographs. Valdez’s use of “Colgate” is not mere metaphor for the referenced inability of the persona’s relatives to accurately identify the persona’s disease. The insertion of Colgate is a vestige of colonialism such that the word’s presence also raises the issue of whether a Filipino can ever be at “home” in English, can ever fully/successfully assimilate (or pass for), or (should) become fluent in a language whose relationship began through colonialism and imperialism. It’s a complicated matter, as complicated as the disease referenced in the poem whose identity can’t quite be revealed.