And now, for some local lit love: The Highest Hiding Place is the [long-awaited] first book of poems by L. Lacambra Ypil. He’s won several awards for his poetry and his nonfiction, and he’s currently teaching at the Ateneo de Manila University. I enrolled in his Poetry class about a year ago. I consider him a very good friend, and he’s had a lot of influence on my writing, and—the inevitable connection to—how I read. That is, he told me what books to read—and isn’t that as great a guidance as any for a young, struggling writer? He told me to read Raymond Carver, and Lorrie Moore, and Ann Beattie, and he introduced me to Berger, and a whole slew of writers and writing. He’s verbalized many things about my writing that I could only vaguely gesture at. And I love him for being around when I’m whining about life in general. :]
But enough about him, haha.
Hell no, I’m not going to do a review of his book. I’m just going to tell you that I love it, and want more. More, and now. I remember reading a couple of poems during the book launch, and shaking my head in awe. A mutual friend of ours saw what I imagine was a pained look on my face, and latched onto it, “He’s fucking good, no? Annoying, isn’t it?” Yep, I have to agree. (And that cover is so cool, innit?)
I remember he read the poem below at a poetry reading, and when he’d finished, he was met with a near-indiscernible pause before the applause. And then he grinned and said, “Obviously, no one else is gay in this room.”
Ladies and gentlemen, here is a poem from his book—“The Love of Books”—I chose this because it’s relevant, and that it’s short enough to be copied onto this blog, hahaha. Okay, WordPress doesn’t like line cuts. Boo. I’ll find a way around this.