Slicing tomatoes is one of the earliest differences I noticed between my mother and myself, a skill of precision not immediately passed down from her to me, nor from her own mother to herself. Believe me, I’ve tried, but the precision of slicing tomatoes is something, I’m convinced, only belongs to my mother. There are things, like slicing tomatoes, we simply learn on our own, originating from some inexplicable place within ourselves.

Thus, Slicing Tomatoes features poems and prose, stemming from that inexplicable place, maybe unearthing itself from somewhere deep in the DNA, from an ancestor who was a storyteller, an ancestor who yearned to be a storyteller, an ancestor who told stories through different mediums, outside of the written word, like in the secret code of how she sliced tomatoes.

You can access the latest poems and prose on this site under the Poetry & Prose tab. There you will find new as well as reprinted pieces, all paired with beautiful art from Filipina artists hailing not just from the Motherland but the United States, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Dubai, along with guest featured non-Filipina artists, all of whom you can read more about on the Featured Artists page. In these pieces, I hope you will find not only beauty, but be moved to a place of compassion, empathy, meaningful discussion, and maybe even inspiration to tell your own stories.

Any questions about this site can be directed to the Contact page. I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for stopping by.



Author Elsa Valmidiano
Photo by Deborah Coleman

Elsa Valmidiano is the author of We Are No Longer Babaylan, her debut essay collection from New Rivers Press. She is a recipient of their Editors’ Choice selection from their 2018 Many Voices Project competition in Prose.

Elsa’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in various literary journals such as Mud Season Review, Yes Poetry, Northridge Review, Memoir Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, Anti-Heroin Chic, Anomaly, Cherry Tree, Trampset, Marías at Sampaguitas, Canthius, and Poetry Northwest, as well as various anthologies such as Field of Mirrors (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.), Walang Hiya (Carayan Press), Circe’s Lament (Accents Publishing), Precipice (McNaughton & Gunn), Loon Magic and Other Night Sounds (Outrider Press), and What God Is Honored Here? (University of Minnesota Press). Elsa is an alum of the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon and Summer Literary Seminars hosted in Tbilisi. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. She has performed numerous readings such as at Artists Against Rape, Kearny Street Workshop’s APATURE, Scriptorium, Litquake, Lark Poetry Series, and has been a poetry guest speaker and panelist at several NorCal colleges and universities. She has also read in various locales in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, Moraga, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Chicago, Lisbon, and Tbilisi. She is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee.

For a complete list of Elsa’s work, please visit the Publications tab.

Last, but not least, she would really like it if you pronounced her last name as her ancestors intended: /väl-mĭ-jänō/.

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