Rice & Rain

Rice & Rain is very rich and very distinct.

“Romalyn Ante's poems are exquisitely detailed and a real feast for the senses. She has an instinctive talent for crafting precise and finely-tuned poetry that captures the exact sensations –  potent, close to home and as incisive and accurate as a scalpel's Jane Commane 
first cut. Whether it is the sun's rays that ‘infiltrated your bones, filling them with gold’, or the heart which breaks open like a pomegranate, ‘the seeds, / rusty-red like rivets, / contour a constellation’, life's preciousness is measured here carefully in its proximity to death. These poems are gracefully poised and balanced perfectly, alive with their own irresistible songs of love and longing.”

Rice & Rain is an impressive first collection of poems that take us from the Philippines to Cannock Chase. The poems are confidently written – Romalyn Ante’s surprising and original imagery shows us how to fatten a boy with the boiled water from rice-rinsing; a handbag mirror made from solidified gin; cornflake sunsets.
“Her poems explore sickness and separation – the longing for the sour-sweet taste of home – but there is also emphasis on nurturing and nourishment. With many references to food from ‘sheen pieces of bullet tuna wrapped in banana leaves’ to ‘luggage stuffed with sun-dried squid’ it is a book you feel you could almost eat.” Jane Seabourne

A sample poem from the collection may be enjoyed below.

R.R.P. £6.50

WINNER of Saboteur Awards 2018 Best Poetry Pamphlet!!!

One of Vogue's '9 Poets to Know for World Poetry Day', March 2018!!!

Also 1 of '10 Poets Bound to Shift UK Poetry', fourhubs, March 2018



My chromosomes got divorced in 2006.
The papers on the narra table parch
with apoptotic blotch. The screams

that fragmentise picture frames
and wine canisters remain free-floating
in the dark cytoplasm of the cellar.

The swearings at each other’s mother
accumulate in the lounge rug.
Even the sword corrodes, its gleam

fading after a saber-arch wedding
many summers ago. Forget about the picnic
in the grove, the colour of sky that day.

Forget about the accidental discovery
of a kingfisher with gun-shot wing.
Forget about the scintillating moment

when XX chromosome, young and dumb,
threw her sandal to the river, certain that
my future father would recover it for her.


"Romalyn Ante's Rice & Rain is also interested in re- or dislocation, full of memories of home (in her case the Philippines) being replayed, a watchful shoring-up of vanished, loved scenes and people. Ante's mixing of  the small and grand scale, and her clarity of vision, are particularly impressive..." Declan Ryan, TLS, full article here

"Another new pamphlet I was impressed by was Romalyn Ante’s Rice & Rain, whose melancholy but steely voice sings of the dislocation between her current home in the UK and her roots in the Philippines." 

André Naffis-Sahely, Poetry Foundation Reading List May 2019

"This is a powerful debut that demonstrates a control of language and emotion typical of poets at more advanced stages in their careers. In her editorial blurb, Jane Commane says Ante’s poems are ‘a real feast for the senses.’ Indeed, by focusing on sensory details – from listening to the ‘rattle’ of ‘monsoon raindrops’ and the ‘tarri-tik’ of the ‘hornbill lizard’, to smelling a mother’s ‘tamarind-scented fingers’ – Ante’s work richly exploits sensory awareness of her homeland, The Philippines."

Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Sphinx, full review here.

"Personal poems, a picking over her elsewhere past, where her Phillipine relatives' stories got binned '...like their old passports... /...as they put olives in their mouths they will pretend / to accidentally bite off their mother tongue.' ...A small collection deserving of exploration."

From a paragraph review by Sam Smith, in The Journal.

"The way Ante intersperses Filipino words into the poems is like the sprinkling of exotic spices. Her word-menus-recipes encourage an armchair traveller like me to imagine the places, meet the people: take a bite, drink a spoonful, listen to a story, try to understand what it means to grow up in one country and migrate to another one that’s far away.
"Her poems are carefully structured and take turns that surprise and reveal...
"Ante shows us challenging realities, hope for the future, the past’s importance and the enduring ties of family. I highly recommend this well-written pamphlet which will appeal to a wide audience."

E.E. Nobbs, The Ofi Press Magazine, full review here.


  1. Replies
    1. Just read this! Thank you so much. Romalyn Ante

  2. Romalyn and her poetry are one of a kind, certain to fill the discerning reader with delight, surprise and wonderment. Unique life experience in extraordinary volume.

    1. Hi. I have just read this. I really appreciate your words. Thank you! Romalyn Ante


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