Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. LEAVING OUR SHADOWS BEHIND US is a debut poetry collection by Elmer Omar Bascos Pizo which recounts experiences growing up in the Philippines, years as a migrant worker living under harsh conditions in the Middle East, and eventual immigration to Hawai'i. The poems celebrate and perpetuate the Filipino community’s culture, traditions, and heritage of hard-working people. Writing in English, his second language, Pizo takes great care to craft his pieces, translating his feelings into poetry, reinterpreting his life experiences, and working diligently to maintain authenticity. Challenging stereotypes, he talks about the injustice and prejudice Filipinos often encounter as migrant or immigrant workers, giving us a raw glimpse of the hardships many men and women face when they leave the Philippines and go out into the world.
Elmer Omar Bascos Pizo comes from a family of farmers, teachers, and religious leaders in the Philippines. He studied at St. Andrew's Theological Seminary and graduated in 1981 from Benguet State University with a degree in agriculture. After teaching poultry production in a national high school, he went to Saudi Arabia to work as a greenhouse agriculturist. To record the cruel working conditions he and his co-workers encountered, he began writing a journal. On the day he returned to the Philippines, the bus he was riding back to his province was involved in a head-on collision with another bus. Six passengers died, including the elderly woman seated next to him. Pizo suffered a concussion and lost his short-term memory. His neurologist suggested that he write as part of his therapy so, referring to his journal, he began writing poems, some of which appear in this collection. Pizo was a Poetry Fellow at the 2000 Silliman National Writers Workshop in the Philippines and at the Vermont Studio Center in 2006. His poems have been published in several print and online publications in the United States and in the Philippines. Author City: HONOLULU, HI USA