New Chapbook: toxic city by Janice Lobo Sapigao (December 5, 2015)

SapigaoJanice_photoWe at Woodland Pattern are very excited to announce the upcoming publication of toxic city, a chapbook by Janice Lobo Sapigao, a writer and educator from San Jose, CA.  

toxic city, which will be released on December 5 of this year, is part of a documentary and exploratory poetry collection, microchips for millions, 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. The chapbook interrogates Silicon Valley as an ideal place of innovation, technological advancement, and a highly populated concentration of computer-based startups. What is not popularly known is that the Silicon Valley is also home to flagrant and covert injustice where toxic chemicals and “clean” energy risk the lives of workers.

“In poetry, prose, binary code, and Ilokano, toxic city, investigates the systemic exploitation of female immigrant workers in Silicon Valley chip plants. Sapigao, whose mother worked at such a plant, writes with the cool clarity of a reporter and the heartbreaking intimacy of a daughter. Short but haunting, this is a beautiful, smart, angry book.”
~Amy Berkowitz, author of Tender Points (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015)

“011001100110000101100011011101000000110100001010 (FACT): The talkstory that Janice Sapigao has incisively born into toxic city will charge you to furiously throw your smartphone across the room, but only after calling your mother first, if only to hear her voice.  More than an indictment of the appropriation of native land, the terrible irony of brain-drain immigration, and false promise of security in the face of a technological boom, Janice offers this 0111001001100101011011010110100101101110011001000110010101110010 (REMINDER): there are lives behind every pixel of that LCD screen, every byte of information processed in that microchip. This Pinoy son of a Midwestern Teamster factory worker thanks Sapigao—a Pinay daughter of a Silicon Valley factory worker—for toxic city. 01000010010001010100001101000001010101010101001101000101 (BECAUSE): Her words are a necessary truth we must all declare if we dare call ourselves sons or daughters.”
~Marlon Esguerra, spoken word poet and teacher

“Google the words ‘Silicon Valley,’ click on ‘Images,’ and you’ll find maps documenting the swarms of companies encroaching upon the Bay Area alongside pictures of of youthful, bearded hipster entrepreneurs riding shiny new cruiser bikes along idyllic, palm tree-lined walkways to their million-dollar offices. What you won’t find are photos of those who made Silicon Valley what it is today: the assembly line workers putting in 12-hour day after 12-hour day, making ‘microchips for millions’ — mostly immigrant, mostly women, all exploited. Through her mother’s eyes, Janice Sapigao brings these unknown stories to light, somber reminders that like many other American institutions today, Silicon Valley is built upon the backs of those who give everything they have and are given little to nothing in return.” 
– Liza Marie S. Erpelo, Professor of Language Arts, Skyline College

Related Event:
Book Release:
 Janice Sapigao & Amanda [Ngoho] Reavey
Woodland Pattern Book Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
December 5, 2015 at 7pm

Janice Lobo Sapigao
is a writer and educator from San Jose, CA.  Her work has been published in Quaint Magazine, Broad!, the anthology Empire of Funk: Hip Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America, and, among others. She earned her M.F.A. in Critical Studies/Writing at 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 the Associate Editor at TAYO Literary Magazine and a VONA Alum. She lives in the Bay Area and teaches at Skyline College and San Jose City College. Her website is: