In her new chapbook Dagaton, Cebuana essayist Johanna Michelle Lim captures the ephemeral nature of the sea. “Its closeness and otherness. Its wrath and embrace. Its ability to create and destroy.” Partly nature writing, and partly personal, the four long-form essays in the book were intended to let “all of these collide in all their sickening, unpredictable motion, in multiple metaphors, without the need to reduce or reconcile them, for now.”
In the opening essay Small, Sleepy Towns, she explores the quiet hometown of her childhood, taught to swim by her septuagenarian great-grandmother. In the Wake of a Storm, an essay published in Grid Magazine in 2019, Lim introduces us to protagonist Marilyn Alon, an artisanal fisherwoman in Bantayan who is widowed by a husband who worked for a trawler. Kinning explores the relationship between rivers and seas, and their binding fate. Lastly, Skeletons in the Water highlights the growing popularity of freediving in Cebu, a recreation and sport that lives in the interstice of danger and daring.
Lim’s first collection of essays What Distance Tells Us, published in 2018, was a finalist for the Madrigal Gonzales Best First Book Awards (2019). Some of her non-fiction work is also required reading for senior high school students.
Dagaton will be launched as part of the Printed Matter Collab pop-up on May 21, 2023, 3 PM, at From Here, Crossroads Banilad. The event will include a conversation with the author hosted by Cebu Literary Fest Founder Hendri Go. Readings and a chapbook signing will follow.
Limited copies will be available. You may pre-order a copy at https://tinyurl.com/orderdagaton.