Tilt Me and I Bend

Tilt Me and I Bend, Ned Parfan’s second collection of poetry, is the quintessential topography of contradicting desires. Unlike its precedent that forays into self-reflexivity (an open challenge for the darker Id to surface, or at least amend its misgivings), this collection is one that—literally—blooms as unexpectedly as the pink flowers on its cover. However (and oh, believe me), it does not bloom without strife—no one would expect easy from Parfan. Entitled with what appears like submission, the poems are actually a calm defiance of existing monoliths. The challenge here is not anymore with the self, but with the universe—to which Parfan navigates, with his trademark dark complexity. What he confronts here is what sensual poetess Anne Sexton explains: “The great theme we all share is that of becoming ourselves, of overcoming our father and mother, of assuming identities somehow.” The identities assumed in this collection are those that bubble to the surface, yet are pushed back down due to sociocultural obstructions: subcultures, mythologies, sex. At this point, the poet knows who he is and what he wants; now, he wants to see what’s out there, and how he will force the universe to submit and allow him to navigate these desires. The poet says, “tilt me and I bend,” but in truth, he is saying, “I’ll tilt and you bend” … and with this imaginative collection, it is easy to bend to submission: sit back and let the poet do what he desires with you.
– Rina Garcia Chua

With a “voice the weight of an island,” Desire calls us into her heady tropical surreal. An anthropomorphic deity permeates the sequence with her presence: her creation, her lingering trauma, her irresistible beauty, her wild pain. On the mouths of men, ADORE. And we must put this collection of poems on a pedestal, to be watchers of the fleeting fires, the sparks, the drama, and the true. For whatever is here is you and me: the lost, meandering against velvet folds of the dream that once we burned more than we should, and burned well.

Ned Parfan is the author of The Murmur Asylum (UP Press, 2014), a Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award finalist. His works have appeared most recently in Tomás and Kritika Kultura, and will appear in the forthcoming anthologies Sustaining the Archipelago and The Achieve of, the Mastery. He received his MFA from De La Salle University and is a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He is an instructor at the University of Santo Tomas and a Resident Fellow of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies.