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'A powerful and hopeful collection, filled with heart and beauty' Cecile Pin

'An alchemical wonder of a poet' Fiona Benson


this charms the buried light of stars –

this deflects bullets – this unblooms a war –
 
 
In some Filipino clans, parents pass down to each child an agimat, an amulet, in the hope its magic will protect and empower them. In a world of daily pain and loss, Romalyn Ante’s second collection asks how do we keep safe what we hold most dear?
 
At the dawn of the pandemic, the poet – a practising nurse in the NHS – is thrown onto the frontlines of the war against COVID-19.
 
Past conflicts swim into the now: when the poet falls in love with a man of Japanese heritage, it forces a reckoning with her family’s suffering under Japan’s brutal wartime occupation of the Philippines. Elsewhere, we meet the irrepressible goddess Mebuyan n Philippine myth, nurses the spirits of children in the underworld ere she watches over young people in crisis – a girl who can’t stop cutting herself, a teenager who has leapt from a railway viaduct. These are poems of strength and solace – they question what it means to fight, and what it takes to heal.
‘With precision, deftness, and at times playfulness, AGIMAT weaves in mythical and modern imageries, the universal with the intimate. The result is a powerful and hopeful collection, filled with heart and beauty, that illuminates us to the many forms that caring and healing can take

Cecile Pin

 
Ante is an alchemical wonder of a poet: unparalleled in her image-making, raw to both historical and contemporary damage and rich in cultures. Utterly original, AGIMAT is itself a talisman – a fiery binding of pain and a message of love to the wounded and lost. Keep these poems with you as I will – always

Fiona Benson

 
‘If translation is always physical, often joyous work – the act of carrying meaning across the chasms separating languages – then AGIMAT is about the daily embodied acts involved in this labour. To live in translation is to be estranged. Yet the joy of translation comes from this very estrangement. Romalyn Ante makes us feel this, as estrangement transforms into its own vibrant space of joy. Ante’s irrepressible inquiries into translation create a colourful linguistic sanctuary’

Jason Allen-Paisant

 
'Romalyn Ante's mesmeric new collection is deeply rooted in the dualities of life, cultural identity, and the profound interplay of personal and communal experience. Vivid, lyrical, and always surprising, it is a testament to those who navigate the complex legacies of history toward healing and resilience. It is both a balm and a call to action, reminding us of the transformative power of bearing witness.'

Nathan Filer

 
‘Romalyn Ante’s first collection introduced us to a voice both vibrant and thoughtful. This collection grows out from this - now coming with a feeling of added power and forcefulness. This is a special book - both urgent and beautiful'

Niall Campbell

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