In Names above Houses, Oliver de la Paz uses both prose and verse poems to create the magical realm of Fidelito Recto - a boy who wants to fly - and his family of Filipino immigrants. Fidelito's mother, Maria Elena, tries to keep her son grounded while struggling with her own moorings. Meanwhile, Domingo, Fidelito's fisherman father, is always at sea, even when among them. From the archipelago of the Philippines to San Francisco, horizontal and vertical movements shape moments of displacement and belonging for this marginalized family. Fidelito approaches life with a sense of wonder, finding magic in the mundane and becoming increasingly uncertain whether he is in the sky or whether his feet are planted firmly on the ground.
Oliver de la Paz was born in Manila and raised in Ontario, Oregon. He has served as the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College and currently teaches at Arizona State University, where he received his M.F.A. in creative writing. His poems have appeared in the Literary Review, Quarterly West, Third Coast, and Asian Pacific American Review and in the anthology Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Literature.