Janice Lobo Sapigao

Janice Lobo Sapigao (Poetry) | San José, CA

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Janice Lobo Sapigao is a Pinay poet, writer, and educator from San José, CA. She is the author of two books of poetry: microchips for millions (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., 2016) and Like a Solid to a Shadow (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2017). She is also the author of the chapbook toxic city (tinder tender press, 2015). She is a VONA/Voices Fellow and was awarded a Manuel G. Flores Prize, PAWA Scholarship to the Kundiman Poetry Retreat. She is the Associate Editor of TAYO Literary Magazine. Her work is also published in online publications such as The Offing, KQED Arts, CCM-Entropy, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, and AngryAsianMan.com, among others. She was a reviewer for The Volta Blog and Jacket2.

She earned her B.A. in Ethnic Studies with Honors and she was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar at UC San Diego. She earned her M.F.A. in Critical Studies/Writing at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). She co-founded an open mic in Los Angeles called the Sunday Jump and was a Finalist in the Katipunan Poetry Slam. She is an alumna of Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program. She enjoys playing with stuffed animals, listening to hip hop, and running. She teaches English at two community colleges in the Bay Area.


Like a Solid to a Shadow (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2017). Poetry.
Microchips for Millions (PAWA, 2016). Poetry.


  • toxic city (tinder tender press, 2015)

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

Janice Sapigao, in this powerful and innovative debut, captures her mother’s traumatic experience as an assembly line worker in Silicon Valley, as well as the larger social, economic, and environmental impacts of the high tech industry. The poems switch between English, Ilokano, and binary code, and between documentary, visual, ethnographic, and lyric modes. In our time of toxic exposure, labor exploitation, and gentrification, Sapigao shows us how poetry can be a site to protest injustice, affirm dignity, and maintain hope.
—Craig Santos Perez

Google the words “Silicon Valley,” click on “Images,” and you’ll find maps documenting the swarms of companies encroaching upon the Bay Area alongside pictures of youthful, bearded hipster entrepreneurs riding shiny new cruiser bikes along idyllic, palm tree-lined walkways to their million-dollar offices. What you won’t find are photos of those who made Silicon Valley what it is today: the assembly line workers putting in 12-hour day after 12-hour day, making “microchips for millions” — mostly immigrant, mostly women, all exploited. microchips for millions is a bitterly sweet love letter from Janice Sapigao to her mother, and through her mother’s eyes and words, she brings these unknown stories to light, somber reminders that like many other American institutions today, Silicon Valley is built upon the backs of those who give everything they have and are given little to nothing in return.
—Liza Marie S. Erpelo

“In poetry, prose, binary code, and Ilokano, toxic city, investigates the systemic exploitation of female immigrant workers in Silicon Valley chip plants. Sapigao, whose mother worked at such a plant, writes with the cool clarity of a reporter and the heartbreaking intimacy of a daughter. Short but haunting, this is a beautiful, smart, angry book.”
—Amy Berkowitz, author of Tender Points (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015)

011001100110000101100011011101000000110100001010 (FACT): The talkstory that Janice Sapigao has incisively born into toxic city will charge you to furiously throw your smartphone across the room, but only after calling your mother first, if only to hear her voice. More than an indictment of the appropriation of native land, the terrible irony of brain-drain immigration, and false promise of security in the face of a technological boom, Janice offers this 0111001001100101011011010110100101101110011001000110010101110010 (REMINDER): there are lives behind every pixel of that LCD screen, every byte of information processed in that microchip. This Pinoy son of a Midwestern Teamster factory worker thanks Sapigao—a Pinay daughter of a Silicon Valley factory worker—for toxic city. 01000010010001010100001101000001010101010101001101000101 (BECAUSE): Her words are a necessary truth we must all declare if we dare call ourselves sons or daughters.
—Marlon Esguerra, Spoken Word Poet (I Was Born With Two Tongues) and Teacher

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