Tag Archives: Philippine Literature

06122013: Mostly mistresses

There are many, many things to be excited for in Querida—the book gets the ball rolling with the Rizal passages on Doña Consolacion; one of my favorite short story writers, Lakambini A. Sitoy, has a piece on Josephine Bracken (who’s got to be among my favorite women-in-Philippine-history, if only because we empirically know so little about her, but she’s been rehashed every which way, god); and there are numerous unread-by-me stories by other writers I’ve loved reading. (And it’s all about mistresses!) But I’ll get to the promise of the actual pieces much later: I’ve been rather busy wallowing in the too-amazing-for-words introduction to the anthology, penned by (I suppose) its editors Caroline S. Hau, Katrina Tuvera, and Isabelita O. Reyes. I’m already feeling a little bummed that the introduction—chock-full of information I don’t know what to do with, erudite, sly, relentlessly fascinating—won’t be going on forever. [Continue reading.]

The Poetics of Having Left

The noticeable ambivalence to questions of nationality is what allows Tenorio’s short stories to freely focus on the outliers that people his stories. Race and sense of place, the politics of leaving and of staying gone-too-long—are relegated to simply being among the many circumstances that make life a pain in the ass to live. The country one was born in is simply an inherent part of one’s character—one that, via Tenorio, willfully shuns preeminence. Yes, itt’s the color of one’s hair, the tinge one’s skin takes in high summer, the hardness of one’s consonants—the fact that, at a certain era, one couldn’t enter a bar through the front door. And it’s up there alongside figuring how to kiss someone onscreen for the first time, after a career of having “gouged, bitten, clawed, stabbed”; alongside watching one’s grandfather scoop chicken liver from the sidewalk, glimpsing the white on the crown amid the haphazardly applied dye; alongside learning how to make a habit of hiding in the garage as a child, waiting for one’s too-young, too-beautiful sister to return from her date with a no-good asshole. [Continue reading.]

Mostly unmoved / unmoving

Have been rather ambivalent about updating this blog, as I’ve been largely unmoved in what paltry reading I’ve done this March. In the past couple of weeks, there has been a limping parade of books-that-thought-they-could. I argue that I read them because they were the only ones that called to me, albeit feebly—in a, “Hey, you feeling unreaderly? Feed that dreadful feeling with me!”—from my curiously undemanding-of-late bookshelves. I could also argue that I read these books because I needed to read something—and though I would have loved to have had my soul lifted from my body and shaken willy-nilly, the increasingly-exhausted-with-life Sasha gives herself an awkward pat on the back for getting reading done, at least. Chin up, you. [Continue reading.]

“. . .the fraternity of free men”

Just a little pause here from my usual fiction and books-about-books diet of late: Liberal Chronicles: 60 Years of the Liberal Party 1946-2006, edited by Jonathan E. Malaya and Florencio B. Abad. Yes, it’s for work. And dude, my head exploded. Charting the history—rather colorful, mind you—of the political party, its ideals, its figures, the […]

“Geography Lesson,” from Dark Hours, poems by Conchitina Cruz

I have met Conchitina Cruz, have glimpsed her name inside many books, on walls, know of her poetry through friends who swear by her work. Dark Hours is her first collection of poetry, and until very recently, I steered clear of it. I have read two poems of hers prior this book — and I’d […]

marginalia || Ilustrado, by Miguel Syjuco

If our greatest fear is to sink away alone and unremembered, the brutality that time will inflict upon each of us will always run stronger than any river’s murky waves. This book therefore shoulders the weighty onus of replicating a man’s lost life and explores the possible temptations that death will always present. The facts, […]

reading || Ilustrado, by Miguel Syjuco

We are still waiting for the election results here in the Philippines. I brought three books with me today, though, to keep me company–there has to be a lull or something, I’d thought. [Brought The Whole Story and Other Stories, by Ali Smith; and A Gate at the Stairs, to “review” what I felt about it, and […]

marginalia || Conversion and Other Fictions, by Charlson Ong

A confession: Conversion and Other Fictions is the first Charlson Ong book I’ve read. Evahr. What self-respecting Creative Writing student (with a Literature minor, to boot) dare have this oversight? Me, that’s who. I’ve met Sir Charlson about twice. Once was at a launch of a poetry book (Joel Toledo‘s, I think). My then-professor Alfred […]

marginalia || The Highest Hiding Place, by L. Lacambra Ypil

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 […]

marginalia || “The Virgin,” by Kerima Polotan

Short Story Spotlight is a segment which features the short story. Because sometimes, we don’t need 60,000 ++ words to tell us about the meaning of life and all that jazz. “The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan, from Stories. (To-the-point title, I know.) Kerima Polotan is a Filipino writer of fiction–first encountered her in Lit class […]