I wasn’t very good at doing arts and culture in the country the past year. But here’s a list of the strange, the good, the surprising in culture for 2015, not at all a best or worst list because … see the first sentence. First a critical aside: having worked as dramaturg for Kleptomaniacs and a bit with Tanghalang Pilipino in 2014 meant keeping the theater reviews to a minimum in 2015. I needed that time to let go of the little inside stories that I know,… Continue reading »
You’ve got until midnight tonight (Sunday) to download “It Will Be The Same But Not Quite The Same” for free over here. — http://www.mediafire.com/…/adam_david_-_IWBTSBNQTS_-_single… And to play with HiMaamSir. — http://himaamsir.blogspot.com/. Very sad and dismayed and angry that these sites will be going down by the end of today, because of the use of the law (and lawyers!) without consideration for appropriation, transformation, and derivative work, not to mention critical-creative engagement. These are sad times for Philippine literature, when a… Continue reading »
Here’s to the friendship that could have been ours: wife of my lover, lover of my husband, lover of my lover. For women at both ends are always rivals: smiling for points at a beauty contest, icing the cake at a cooking competition, sprinting for the gold as they race to a man’s heart.
Six months since she’s arrived And yet she does not speak. She must have been chained; This I guess from the bruises On her wrists. But she will not Let me touch them. She trembles at the sight Of tall men, more so at those With shadows on their lips.
Ginahasa ako ng mga salita, Paulit-ulit, Paulit-ulit, Hanggang magutay ang diwa. Buntis ang alaala Sa mga alimura, Pasa-pasa ang puso’t Lama’y salanta. — Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, 1992.
Making Lemonade There is a romance that we like to imagine about writing, and especially the writing of a book. And while my rebellious self would like to tell you that this was not the case for Of Love and Other Lemons, that would be a lie. Certainly it came from a personal history of love and loss and sadness, complete with the high – if not OA – drama of buckets of tears. But the writing of this book… Continue reading »
it was literature that taught me about the objectification of women. no, it was philippine literature that taught me about the oppression of the Filipina, the kind that objectifies her, makes her into nothing but image, nothing but stereotype. half-naked if not totally so. skin and leg and boobs and butt. image not voice. body not thought. and just in case everyone thought this witty and funny, and thought nothing of the layers of this image we’ve used to sell… Continue reading »
but i thought it quite timely to re-post this piece on the Manila International Literary Festival (MILF) 2011, while the PILF (yes, they changed Manila to Philippine) 2012 is happening. because i hear they were laughing as they wondered whether i would go this year (no), or if GMA News Online would send me (yes, but i said no). because you know this year they take from prostitution and objectification of women, to sell Philippine literature. what fun.
one of the blurbs for this first book asked: what took you so long, ina? and in truth, i’d like to think i took exactly the amount of time i needed. much of what’s in Of Love and Other Lemons is about refusing to write the way i’m expected to, or at least the way i did when i wrote mirrors. i read too much of the personal essay as it’s written and published in these shores, but also i read poetry in… Continue reading »
tara sa Baguio! — Compass, a community-supported program for the promotion and appreciation of poetry, partners with Mt Cloud, an independent bookstore in Baguio, on May 19 and 20 2012. A poetry reading with Baguio-based poets will be held at Mt Cloud Bookshop on the evening of May 19, Saturday, followed by a free poetry and publication workshop on Sunday, May 20.
may simple akong tugon sa usapin ng paggamit ng jargon at teorya para sa pagsusulat tungkol sa sining at kultura: sino ang audience mo? this is not to say that i don’t think theory’s important, in fact i think there is nothing but theory, every critical piece has a theoretical backbone, a framework against which it falls. and this is not to say that i don’t believe in knowing from where we speak, being clear about our own biases, and… Continue reading »
since this Rogue piece on the literati and mainstream literary system went online, what has infinitely been interesting is how it has revealed the kind of thinking that we have about literature and culture, including but not limited to: (a) “Why write about this at all? What a waste of time!” (b) “bakit hindi ka na lang magsulat?” (c) writing is a solitary enterprise anyway (d) you just moved from one house to the next (e) there is no talking… Continue reading »
Ricky de Ungria: “<…> perhaps because we have not shaken off our feudal cast of mind and psyche that inhibits us from critiquing the ideas of the “elder statesmen” in our fields as a result of a kind misplaced measure of deference or respect for elders, and that allows us to accept conveniently their word as “law” so we don’t have to bother with it anymore as we go on quietly with our own desperate lives?”
in mid-2010, i wrote this as introductory piece for what was planned as a column on arts and culture in a publication under the editorship of exie abola. it is perfect that i remember it now in light of National Arts Month, with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) celebrating it via the Philippine Arts Festival 2012. that we are more than halfway through February, and we have yet to feel this celebration at all? that this… Continue reading »
Because there are no words, none worth using to talk about the Ampatuan Massacre, no words worthy of lives lost to such violence, to such power. What we should’ve been was out on the streets, angry, fearless, pointing a finger at (giving the finger to) the system that has been feeding private armies. But none of that happened. Instead we were quiet and enraged, watching the news at home, receiving word about the rumored real reason behind the encounter, which… Continue reading »
<…> if these two talks of Dalisay are any indication <…> what our texts have and what ails our texts by default given colonial history <is that> we are out of the Commonwealth loop <…> and while American colonization gave us the English that we use for our writing, we all seem to have forgotten that, and we’re like the bastard children that appear at the family Christmas dinner. There are no favors to be had from our colonial fathers… Continue reading »
It seems like a foregone conclusion: how else would Singapore do a writers’ festival but with seriousness and business-like professionalism? What’s striking about the first few days of the Singapore Writers’ Festival (SWF) though is this: while business sense would dictate the selling of books in relation to the event, there’s also a clear sense here of going beyond that. And the SWF does so by showing us how literature and writing might on the one hand be celebrated as… Continue reading »
because i’ve been thinking about, which is to say struggling with, writing and self-centeredness, this can only be serendipitous: a piece on poetry, but which is really about writing, from mabi david: To write is to come to an awareness, says Carolyn Forché, which I believe wholeheartedly. I write because it is the way available to me of thinking about the world, of apprehending experience. Thus is the self implicated in the poem. We must write with vigorous self-reflection and… Continue reading »
in April 2000, Prof. Luisa Mallari-Hall died in a plane crash, along with her husband and two children. she was a wonderful woman/teacher/friend/human being whose teaching continues to resonate with me, 15 years since she was first my teacher in 1996. these two essays were written soon after she died, the first one for a SEA newsletter, the second one i read at the tribute put together by the DECL in U.P. in 2010, i give birth and lose a… Continue reading »
it was daunting more than anything else, though at some point all that operated was an amount of yabang: i’ve seen friends do this before, i’ve seen wonderful beautiful local books happen without a big publisher behind it, without press releases coming out in papers. and this book, i knew, deserved the major major effort of blood/sweat/tears because it is about family and history. because it is unconventional in form, an almost refusal to fall within the genres that are familiar,… Continue reading »
because this is what happened when Krip Yuson apologized for his act of plagiarism: he opened a can of worms about writing in this country, about the hubris of the editor, about the question of writer versus editor, etc. etc. and you know I’m all for letting it all hang out, but given the gravity of an awarded Filipino writer plagiarizing, it just seems like the wrong time for invoking other worms. Worm #1: Yuson talks about being the editor… Continue reading »
these were up elsewhere that i love because they are untouched, unexpurgated, and i’m left to fawn or freak out and everything in between. art can only be about how it makes you feel eh? (1) Pilipinas Street Plan at the Lopez Museum’s Extensions. (2) The end of the art world via Kin Misa’s rust and color. (3) J Pacena’s After Mall Hours. (4) the Pinoy toy as art form and mythmaking. (1)