New poetry collection traverses the path to loneliness—and back

Feature interview by Cris Santos

Gibson Perez is no stranger to sadness. For the past 10 years, he has chronicled his emotional journeys as a coping mechanism, in his unique way of self-love and self-preservation. The result? His poetry collection, all the little, lonely, and forgotten things (ALLFT). Get up close and personal with Gibson in this one-on-one interview.

Cris: Tell us about your writing journey.

Gibson: ALLFT is a collective poetry that spans 10 years of my life. In those years, I was terribly struggling with my mental health, and writing a poem was a form of coping. It was indeed a long journey, the writing process and the emotional experiences combined, which, I realized now, did not sow then the idea of having these poems published.

The reasons were: (1) my childhood dream is really to publish a novel, but it’s too huge a task, only carrying out many drafts of Chapter Ones that were now forgotten; and (2) my judgment says that people prefer reading materials that are positive, motivational, and celebratory of successes; these are characteristics that most of my poems do not have.

Fast forward to now, this book comes to life. I suddenly have made it happen because: (1) the poems, stowed away for so long, may be different from my childhood dream but they’re ready to help me become an author; and (2) the poems speak of “lonely things,” and never pretend. Through these pieces, I get to show a fraction of how it is to get by with mental and emotional ordeals.

Cris: How will you describe your book? What’s your favorite entry and why?

Gibson: The book has 15 chapters (yes, a novel wannabe), and each chapter offers separate experiences, be it the prompt, structure, or theme. But readers will still find it familiar when they read about passion, late night thoughts, family, and, of course, love, which is a “cliché we accept over and over.”

One chapter was inspired by cities, and many of these poems bring the readers to Baguio, a place believed to lay a curse on visiting couples. I lived there for three years and wrote half of what you’d read in this book.

Another chapter was an ode to February 2020, a leap year. This is one of my favorite chapters because I enjoyed making each poem for 29 days. Unfortunately, I failed to replicate this side quest this 2024, which is also a leap year.

Another chapter took place during the first year of the national lockdown. This isolating experience made me write a lighthearted poem along the lines:

even the adivay

outside the wooden cabin

beneath the ebony sky

always is home

This piece of reminds me of a Benguet town unfrequented by tourists, where fellowship, or adivay, happens every day — family members and/or neighbors just chatting, laughing (even singing!). Something that lockdown took away. Something that may be phony in this era of social media.

Cris: What challenges did you experience when you were writing the poems? Which poem was the most difficult to write?

Gibson: Happy poems were difficult for me to write then, and so I worked on what I do best. However, I spent a great deal of time writing on traditional poems such as haikus/senryus and sonnets.

Haikus/senryus challenge you to enclose your thought in limited syllables, and I experienced firsthand that concept of less [syllables] is more [thinking].

On the other hand, sonnets give you 14 lines, which seems adequate, but restricts you with other elements such as rhymes, rhyming schemes, harmony of words, and the iambic pentameter. When I was introduced to Shakespeare in high school, I fell in love with poetry, eventually wrote sonnets of my own without really understanding the form. I drudged fixing those pieces that matter to me to be included in this book and tagged them “unorthodox,” in case I get called out. Lol. I even used my own rhyming schemes!

My late mentor, Santiago Villafania, who had written many sonnets, jokingly said he’d fail me but also liked my innovations. I was even surprised that his favorite among my works was one of these unorthodox sonnets. With gratitude, I promised to write traditional ones soon.

Cris: What insights/tips would you like to share with readers and authors?

Gibson: Poems are meant to be read slowly. So, slowly write them.

Cris: Can you give us a preview of future collaborations, books? Where will we see you next?

Gibson: After this book, I want to work on a novel, which I think is a bigger challenge than the traditional sonnets. I’ll also continue creating poems as a side quest and improving my skills on digital illustrations for my future writing projects (or yours, if you liked my drawings in ALLFT).


Explore love and longings through all the little, lonely, and forgotten things. Get a copy now for 580 on 8Letters website, Lazada, Shopee, Amazon Kindle and Gumroad. For more details, contact 8letters Publishing on Facebook, or Gibson Perez on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok (@gibbierish).

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