Poetics: Paolo Enrico Melendez

Poetics: Paolo Enrico Melendez

fi(ə)rs

 

Allow me to start with a shot to the foot: I am a writer in mid-career only in terms of age. Few people know me. When some of those few people invite me to visit UST, as a judge in a writing contest or panelist in a workshop, another guest more often than not will confess that he had to Google me. And the top hits are almost always about the notorious American murderers, Erik and Lyle Menendez.

That’s not surprising, when I think of my mid-career trajectory. As a younger man, I was on track for the whole creative writing gig. Student awards for fiction and non-fiction. Editorial position with the liberal arts college paper. Admin job at the UST writing center. Then a succession of jobs with various music and lifestyle magazines. I even got into a couple of Free Press Awards shortlists.

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Poetics: Charisse Paderna

Poetics: Charisse Paderna

Honoring Identities: Why and How I Write Poetry

 

For many poets, the commitment to writing poetry begins with a sure and eager appreciation of expression. That appreciation may be in the reception of another’s work—as when one discovers the work of a talented poet, an experience that compels many to produce work of the same caliber (whether that attempt is successful is another question)—or in the more personal, visceral desire for artful expression: “I have something to say, and I would like to say it beautifully.”

Writing poetry began in this fashion for me. I started writing poems in 2001, after I discovered poetry through an introductory course in university. I was a sophomore then, and had almost no knowledge of the genre. Previously, the closest I came to approaching poetry was in an English class in high school, where a standard-issue textbook presented a Robert Frost poem, “Mending Wall”. Little was done with the poem besides reading it aloud in class. Our teacher fed us an interpretation: the poem was not literally about mending walls, she said. It was about building and repairing relationships, and that was that. We answered as much when the question was asked in subsequent exercises:

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Poetics: Wilfredo Pascual

Poetics: Wilfredo Pascual

WHAT I WRITE, HOW, AND WHY

 

I was once asked to name places that had the most impact on my writing. I thought about this for a while. It’s impossible for me to answer this question. I’ve been to many places in the Philippines and the United States, traveled to seventeen countries, lived and worked abroad for more than twenty years. I ran away from home when I was twelve. It’s not so much any place but the experience of being in transit, of getting lost or stuck, or passing through borders that has shaped me as writer.

 

The catalysts in my essays are never the same. Sometimes it’s a combination of things. Often it’s a hunch, something irrepressible. Or a compulsion. Sometimes it’s only after I’ve written several stories that I begin to realize what it is exactly I want to write – and only then can I say I’m just beginning to write the story. There’s always an underlying purpose and often this unfolds in places of fear and discomfort inside me. Or in absurd associations, a feeling that something is coming full circle, you start seeing it everywhere. I tend to accumulate bits and pieces of images, ideas, different structures and patterns – a ball of tangled threads. So when I sit down to write it’s as if I’m carefully pulling a random string not knowing which strings are worth weaving, which ones are the beginning, the middle, the end. It’s tricky pulling these strings. You could end up pulling the entire universe. You have to choose carefully, know when to cut them. I write personal essays, meaning years of prep work or cultivation have taken place before I even begin to write it all down – movies, maladies, math. There’s a feeling that something is coming together. When that happens nothing is banal.

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Summary: Rogene Gonzales’s Mula sa Dispalinghado

Summary: Rogene Gonzales’s Mula sa Dispalinghado

Summary
Rogene Gonzales’s Mula sa Dispalinghado
Moderator, Vim Nadera

Ipinakilala ni Vim Nadera si Rogene Gonzales bilang isang manunulat na naimpluwensyahan sa malaking paraan ng kanyang karanasan sa peryodismo. Makikita ang impluwensiyang ito sa manuskrito ni R Gonzales, ang “Dispalinghado,” isang koleksyon ng mga dagli.

Ayon kina Roland Tolentino at Jun Cruz Reyes, umusbong ang dagli bilang anyong pampanitikan noong panahong ng pananakop ng mga Amerikano. Kasabay ng pag-usbong ng mga imprenta at publikasyon, pangunahing lumabas ang mga sulating ito sa unang pahina ng mga Tagalog na pahayagan upang magbigay komentaryo sa iba’t ibang paksa at suliranin sa lipunan. Sa madaling sabi, parehong popular at pulitikal ang katangian ng dagli.

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Summary: Arbeen Acuña’s Tala sa Babala ng Balang Araw

Summary: Arbeen Acuña’s Tala sa Babala ng Balang Araw

Summary
Arbeen Acuña’s Tala sa Babala ng Balang Araw 
Moderator, Rolando Tolentino

Bilang panimula sa talakayan ng manuskrito ni Arbeen Acuña, binaybay ni Rolando Tolentino ang kasaysayan at naging paunlad ng modernistang kilusan sa maikling kuwento sa Filipino. Inilarawan din niya ang ilan sa mga pangunahing tendensiya sa pagsusulat ng mga batang kwentista sa kasalukuyan: maiksi, fragmented, eksperimental—mga katangian na tumutukoy sa postmodernong pagkiling ng kanilang mga akda. Aniya, sa ganitong parametro niya sinisipat ang proyekto ni Acuña. Para naman kay Acuña, ang pagsusulat ay isang uri ng paggawa (labor) na nakapaloob sa isang partikular na moda ng produksyon. Ipinaliwanag din niya ang kanyang (pag)posisyon at ng kanyang mga akda sa mga pangkulturang institusyon na nagbibigay basbas (at kung gayon, kapangyarihan) sa mga akdang pampanitikan.

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Poetics: Rogene Gonzales

Poetics: Rogene Gonzales

I write because I want to be sane

 

            It’s that simple to say.

In this world full of absurdities, my conscience dictates that writing is the only right thing left for me to do in order to feel “normal”. At the moment, I am caught up at a point when every year seems to be different; job choices change by the impulse and the monotony of the routine drains happiness out of everything I do.

Perhaps this is how it feels to be in the middle of everything.

I was once told that writing was only for expression, at times where memories were still vague to the luster of politics and economy. What would I be today when I never found that old essay my parents hid inside their cabinet?  Who could I’ve been when I just stuck myself with a retake of integral calculus and inorganic chemistry? These are the questions I always ask myself.

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Poetics: Arbeen Acuña

Poetics: Arbeen Acuña

Ang Anyo ang Nilalaman: Tala sa Babala ng Balang Araw

 

Wala naman na akong isusulat na maituturing na tunay na “bago,” dahil maaaring ipaloob ang anumang isulat sa dati nang tema, anyo o nilalaman, kaya may mga antolohiya at mga kuleksyon. Anumang bago ay may karampatan pa ring lumang kahong kalalagyan o may kung anumang relasyon sa luma, kaya may tradisyong pampanitikan at may “arkibong kultural” (sa pakahulugan ni Groys, 2014). Halos lahat ng pamamaraan ng pagkukwento, lalo sa pagitan nitong mga pahina, ay nagawa na yata, kaya may mga tumatawid ng bakod tungo sa ibang anyong biswal na mas magiging angkop sa kani-kanyang proyekto (at walang masama roon). Wala pa ako sa pagpokus sa gayong pagtawid ng anyong palabas dito sa pahina—ang pahina ang tanging espasyong nagsisilbing lunan ng aking mga palabas (o pakulo) na maaaring sa akin na lamang bago. Sa nakaraang mga isinulat, ito na marahil ang gumagabay sa akin: basta’t bago sa akin at/o hindi ko tiyak ang mangyayari at/o hindi ko alam kung mapagtatagumpayan ko at/o hindi ako sigurado kung paano ikategorya at/o ewan kung dapat nga bang ikategorya, susubukan kong isulat basta may isa o higit pang aspeto o antas na walang katiyakan.

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Summary: Arnie Quibranza Mejia’s Creative Nonfiction Work-In-Progress

Summary: Arnie Quibranza Mejia’s Creative Nonfiction Work-In-Progress

Summary
Arnie Quibranza Mejia’s Creative Nonfiction Work-In-Progress
Moderator, Eugene Evasco

Arnie Quibranza Mejia’s work was praised for its courage and sincerity. Confessional and explosive in nature, the project chronicles the author’s experiences ten years after coming back to the Philippines from the US. Here, Mejia attempts to use sensory perceptions of smell as take-off points for each chapter in the book. The project is a continuation of his first book, Writing Naked: A Memoir, which was published last year.

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Summary: Alvin Ursua’s Mula sa Sisid

Summary: Alvin Ursua’s Mula sa Sisid

Summary
Alvin Ursua’s Mula sa Sisid
Moderator, Virgilio Almario

 

Bahagi ng isang malawak na proyekto ang koleksyon ng tula ni Alvin Ursua. Binabalak niyang bumuo ng isang corpus na binubuo ng 19 aklat na nakaugat sa 19 bayan na matatagpuan sa Quezon. Sa inihapag niyang proyekto ng mga tulang pambata, nais niyang usisain ang mga gunita mula sa kanyang kabataan noong siya’y nasa Candelaria.

Sinalungguhitan ni Virgilio Almario ang kaakibat na hirap sa proyekto ni Ursua. Aniya, kadalasan, isang bayan lang ang tinutulaan ng isang makata. Para kay Jun Cruz Reyes, hindi lang ang dami ng bilang ng bayan na gustong tulaan ni Ursua ang pinagmumulan ng problema. Sa manuskrito ni Ursua, nakikita pa lamang ang mga tinutukoy na bayan sa teksto sa mga binabanggit na pangalan. Dagdag pa ni Reyes, tanging ang “ako” o ang persona pa lamang ang kanyang napipisil sa mga tula sa halip na ang mismong identidad at partikularidad ng bayan na nais sanang itampok. Sinusugan ni Vim Nadera at ng ibang fellows ang obserbasyong ito. Hinanap nila sa mga tula ang “Candelaria-esque,” “Lucena-esque,” at iba pang detalyeng patungkol sa bayan.

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Summary: Christa de la Cruz’s Pagsilang sa Silong

Summary: Christa de la Cruz’s Pagsilang sa Silong

Summary
Christa de la Cruz’s Pagsilang sa Silong
Moderator, Luna Sicat-Cleto

Sa simula ng diskusyon, tinukoy ni Luna Sicat-Cleto ang kanyang pagkakahalintulad kay Christa de la Cruz bilang kasapi ng LIRA. Sa kabilang banda, binanggit din niya ang pagkakaiba ng henerasyon ni de la Cruz—ang pag-usbong ng tinig ng mga babaeng makata. Inihapag ni Sicat-Cleto na usisain ang pag-unlad na ito vis-a-vis sa estetika ng LIRA na pangunahing nakasandig sa pormalismo.

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