Philippine poetry, poetry sequence, porno-tropics, language of resistance, landscape of desire


The poetry sequence “Pornotopia”—in coupling the words “pornography” and “utopia”, a world infused and suffused with desire—is an attempt to respond to the idea of “porno-tropics” where the white conqueror “feminizes the earth as a cosmic breast, in relation to which the epic male hero is a tiny, lost infant, yearning for the Edenic nipple” (McClintock, 1995, p. 22) and connects the “relationship between pornographic fantasies of the tropics and the brutal, often violent facts of conquest” (Balce, 2016, p. 40). “Pornotopia” continues the legacy of literary resistance that uses the linguistic tools of the master to subvert the insatiable lust of the empire, like in the poem “Land of Our Desire” by the Philippine poet Amador T. Daguio (1934/1989, p. 195), whose early works mark “the turning-point in Filipino poetry from, rather than in, English” (Abad, 1993, p. 23). Borrowing lyrical and stylistic tools from the 1984 poem “Sex Without Love” by Sharon Olds (p. 57), “Pornotopia” also explores the topography of voyeurism and the landscape of loveless sex.

Author Biography

Jeffrey B. Javier, University of the Philippines Mindanao, The Philippines

Jeffrey B. Javier teaches literature and writing at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. His poetry has appeared in The Loch Raven Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, 聲韻詩刊 Voice and Verse Poetry Magazine, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, SOFTBLOW, and Kabisdak. His works have been anthologized in Davao Harvest, Lilinaon: An Anthology of Young Writers, and Best of Dagmay. He received The Hawker Prize for Southeast Asian Poetry and won first place for Asian Cha’s “Reconciliation” Poetry Contest. He writes from Davao City, Philippines.


Abad, G. H. (1993). Introduction: The Language of Our Blood. In G. H. Abad (Ed.), A Native Clearing: Filipino Poetry and Verse from English Since the ’50s to the Present: Edith L. Tiempo to Cirilo F. Bautista (pp. 1–26). University of the Philippines Press.

Balce, N. S. (2016). Body Parts of Empire: Visual Abjection, Filipino Images, and the American Archive. University of Michigan Press.

Daguio, A. T. (1989). Land of Our Desire. In G. H. Abad & E. Z. Manlapaz (Eds.), Man of Earth: An Anthology of Filipino Poetry and Verse from English: 1905 to the Mid-50s (p. 195). Ateneo de Manila Press. (Reprinted from The Philippine Collegian, 1934; The Literary Apprentice, p. 81, 1937, UP Writers Club; and The Flaming Lyre, 1959, Craftsman House).

McClintock, A. (1995). Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. Routledge.

Olds, S. (1984). The Dead and The Living: Poems. Alfred A. Knopf.




How to Cite

Javier, J. B. (2022). Pornotopia. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 21(1), 373–387.