Fault Setting: Poems

“Here’s to homecoming, my friends,” Joel Toledo writes in his magnificent new book, Fault Setting. “Cheers to resistances.” Each poem in this collection is indeed a form of homecoming and an essay in resistance, a map of the heart that will guide readers into new worlds and ways of being. He is a poet who believes that “Sorrow can be alleviated.” And this book is proof of that.— Christopher Merrill, author of BoatToledo’s Fault Setting is propelled by the tentative: grave enunciations—stories, soliloquies, musings—tempered by subtle wit, conceits, tangents that reveal a strange eye through which the world’s fallibility is understood, in the meantime. There is no longer that surefooted voice of insight one might have loved in his early poetry, making this collection even more haunting, dangerous, and powerful—precisely for its ellipses, for its idiom, for the necessary slippages.— Allan J. PastranaLuminous, wizened, and witty—and that’s just the first ten poems. In, for instance, a poem centrifuged on silver and its many cultural implications and references, the skill is in hopscotching from history to geopolitics to sports to something as heartbreakingly personal as a tear on a dying mother’s eye, only to end with “(t)hat quiet jubilation behind the gold.” These new poems radiate a renewed confidence in tone and stride, rhythm and rhetoric. Toledo’s strange genius is for startling declaratives. And the turns of phrases have the impact of a fist to the gut, or in the poet’s own words, “neither breeze nor sunray” but “something gradual, like anesthesia / kicking in, a letter understood / years after.”— Lourd de Veyra

Joel M. Toledo holds a Masters degree in English Studies (Poetry) from the University of the Philippines Diliman, where he likewise finished two undergraduate degrees (Journalism and Creative Writing). He has previously authored three collections of poetry – Chiaroscuro , The Long Lost Startle, and Ruins and Reconstructions. Toledo was the recipient of the 2006 NCCA Literary Prize and has won various awards for his poetry in English, including the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, the Philippines Free Press Literary Award, The Meritage Press Poetry Prize in San Francisco, USA, and the Bridport Prize for Poetry in Dorset, United Kingdom. He was a recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Creative Arts Residency at the Bellagio Center in Italy in March 2011 and was the Philippine delegate in the 2011 International Writers Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa, USA. Toledo teaches Literature at Miriam College.