Monday, November 07, 2016

[Poet Spotlight] Janice Lobo Sapigao

Photo by Kirstie Mah

Janice Lobo Sapigao is a Pinay poet, writer, and educator born and raised in San José, CA. Her first book microchips for millions will be forthcoming from PAWA, Inc in Fall 2016.  She's been doing some amazing work engaging the next generation in poetry, including speculative poetry through a hip-hop lens. There's much to admire in her journey.

microchips for millions is "a documentary and exploratory poetry collection about the exploitation of immigrant women in the Silicon Valley and those who built it all – those like the author’s mother. Through the use of binary code, the Filipino language, Ilokano; personal observation, and scholarship, microchips for millions draws out the social layers of the microchip, which are central to the global economy." 

Her book challenges perceptions of Silicon Valley as "an ideal place of innovation, technological advancement, and a highly populated concentration of computer-based startups." She uses her poems to address the concerns that Silicon Valley is also home to social injustices that endanger the lives of workers through exposure to toxic chemicals and less publicized hazards of “clean” energy.

She is a VONA/Voices Fellow and was awarded a Manuel G. Flores Prize, PAWA Scholarship to the Kundiman Poetry Retreat. Her work has been published in the anthologies Kuwento for Lost Things (Carayan Press, 2015), Anthropocene (Naropa Press, 2014), Empire of Funk: Hip Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America (Cognella Academic Publishing, 2014), Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets (Meritage Press, 2014), Next Words 2013 (CalArts MFA Writing Program), and NAMJAI: A Tribute Anthology of Bay Area Asian Pacific Islander Poets (The ReWrite, 2013).  She is also the author of the chapbook toxic city (tinder tender press, 2015).

Here, you can see her 2013 performance, "Where My Name is From":

Her work is also published in online publications such as CCM-Entropy, Quaint Magazine, Broad! Magazine, and, among others. She is the Associate Editor of TAYO Literary Magazine. She has been a reviewer for The Volta Blog and Jacket2. Her poetry is forthcoming in Talking Back and Looking Forward: Poetry and Prose for Social Justice in Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

She earned her B.A. in Ethnic Studies with Honors and she was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar at UC San Diego. She earned her M.F.A. in Critical Studies/Writing at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). She co-founded an open mic in Los Angeles called the Sunday Jump and was a Finalist in the Katipunan Poetry Slam.  She is an alumna of the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) Conference and Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program. She’s also been a Kundiman Poetry Fellow.

She lives in the Bay Area and teaches at Skyline College in the Kababayan and CIPHER Learning Communities and at San José City College where she co-coordinates the Puente Project. She enjoys playing with stuffed animals, drinking green tea, running and cooking, and you can see more of her work at

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