In Jon Pineda's debut collection Birthmark, loss takes the shape of a scar, memory the shape of a childhood, and identity the shape of a birthmark on a lover's thigh. Like water taking the form of its container, Pineda's poems swell to fill the lines of his experiences. Against the backdrop of Tidewater, Virginia's crabs and cicadas, Pineda invokes his mestizo-the Tagalog word for being half Filipino-childhood, weaving laments for a tenuous paternal relationship and the loss of a sibling. Channeling these fragmented memories into a new discovery of self, Birthmark reclaims an identity, delicate yet unrelenting, with plaintive tones marked equally by pain, reflection, and redemption.
Jon Pineda was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in Tidewater, Virginia. He studied in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University and has received a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. His poetry has appeared in Many Mountains Moving, the Asian Pacific American Journal, Puerto del Sol, and other publications. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia, with his wife, Amy.