Eastwind Books of Berkeley presents the Bay Area launch of God's Will for Monsters, a poetry collection by Rachelle Cruz. Special guests include Barbara Jane Reyes, author of To Love as Aswang, and poets Romeo Alcala Cruz and Anita Odena Cruz. Cruz's poetry collection won the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize through Inlandia Institute and will be released this February. "In God’s Will for Monsters, Cruz guides the reader through the uncharted roads of experimental poetry. Cruz maps out a singular journey using narrative prose, faux scholarly excerpts and even seemingly banal transactions to light the way. This extraordinary work creates a stirring atlas of the author’s own life, history and ethnicity that allows the reader to become a local, a friend and a fellow traveler." -Megan Gravendyk Estrella, Judge for Hillary Gravendyk Prize More than ever, our world needs the aswang, the werebeast, and the wisdom of the women and bold voices calling out from Rachelle Cruz's marvelous debut collection. Cruz's vision holds many worlds: from the mythical landscapes of the "death dusk" to the streets of Hayward, California, we travel through time and across countries, guided by a host of voices. Cruz's "we" wakes gasping, praying, and playing—it's the we of childhood and the we of powerful collective suffering, summoned for action. "We weren't going to marry God like the other little girls...We were going to nag at Him from a boiling stovetop, demanding that he eat, eat, eat." God's Will For Monsters shows us how a poet pays tribute to longed-for landscapes, histories of struggle, and mother-love: with dazzling, fire-filled language, new forms, broken forms, and fearlessness: "Sometimes we are lighter than rain," says the speaker in "Neglect." "Crueler than memory." -Brynn Saito, author of Power Made Us Swoon Rachelle Cruz is from Hayward, California. She is the author of God's Will for Monsters, which won the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Regional Poetry Prize (Inlandia, 2017), Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood and co-editor with Melissa Sipin of Kuwento: Lost Things, an anthology of Philippine Myths (Carayan Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in As/Us, New California Writing 2013, LARB, Yellow Medicine Review, Jet Fuel Review,The Lit Pub, The Bakery, The Collagist, Bone Bouquet, PANK, Muzzle Magazine, KCET's Departures Series, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, among others. She hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour. She is a recent recipient of the Manuel G. Flores Scholarship from PAWA. An Emerging Voices Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow and a VONA writer, she lives, writes and teaches in Southern California. BARBARA JANE REYES is the author of To Love as Aswang (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., 2015). She was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the author of three previous collections of poetry, Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books, 2003), Poeta en San Francisco (Tinfish Press, 2005), which received the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, and Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010), which received the Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry. She is also the author of the chapbooks Easter Sunday (Ypolita Press, 2008) Cherry (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2008), and For the City that Nearly Broke Me (Aztlán Libre Press, 2012). An Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow and Creative Work Fund grant recipient, she received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies at U.C. Berkeley and her M.F.A. at San Francisco State University. She is an adjunct professor at University of San Francisco’s Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program. Her fifth full-length poetry collection, Invocation to Daughters, is forthcoming from City Lights Publishers. Romeo Alcala Cruz is a member of Hayward’s 5th street writers collective. Published 2 poetry books, Washing Rice and other poems (2010) and Crossing the River from remembering to forgetting. (2013) under Star Books. He is including in anthologies of Poets 11 (2014) of Jack Hirschman of San Francisco, CA. Revolutionary Brigade’s Overcoming Capitalism (2015) and Leticia Bradford’s Fly with Me (2016). Real Estate Broker by profession. Also writes in Tagalog and Bicol (his native tongue) and will publish Bicol poems and songs in 2017. Anita Odena Cruzwas included in the Anthologies of Poets 11 (2014 and 2016) and winner of Poets 11 contests, representing Bayview District, San Francisco, CA. Writing poetry since 1970’s. Member of Hayward’s writing collective…Recited at Fort Mason at Jack Hirschman’s Thursday featured poets reading last April, 2016 and March, 2015. Also writes in Sorsogon Bicol’s poems and essays.