Posts Tagged ‘palanca awards’

pop goes the world: one class, three palanca essays

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  23 August 2012, Thursday

One Class, Three Palanca Essays

There is a wealth of stories in the places we call home.

“I am always drawn to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods,” wrote Truman Capote in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and this seems to be a universal yearning. For what are autobiography and memoir in a certain sense but a return to one’s home, an exploration of memory that time has washed over with a sheen of sentiment, an Instagram photo rather than a jarringly colorful image.

The concept of home is so powerful that works that deal with it seldom fail to capture interest. This is true for three Carlos Palanca Memorial Award-winning essays from last year and this.

Last year’s winner for first was myself for “The Turn for Home: Memories of Santa Ana Park”, which explores my early adulthood as a wife and young mother lived beside the now-defunct Makati racetrack.

The second place winner was Jeena Rani Marquez-Manaois’s “River of Gold”, memories of her youth in Cagayan de Oro. Here’s an excerpt from her draft from 2010:

“This golden fish was not some prince under an evil spell. It had been a golden fish all its life in the Cagayan River, which was why, according to the grown-ups who explained it to me, “de Oro” became a part of the city’s name.

“Some of the older people of the city swore they had seen it. The colossal fish had emerged from the Cagayan River sometime in the 1950s. It was so huge that all of Cagayan de Oro City shook violently in a mighty quake when it came out of the depths of the Cagayan River.

“Those who had seen it in their childhood claim it was not a fish; it couldn’t have been because of its towering height and the power of its majestic movement. It was a sleeping red dragon which lives in an invisible river beneath the San Agustin Cathedral on one side of Carmen Bridge.”

This year’s first prize winner is Hammed Q. Bolotaolo, a well-traveled man with an interesting past spent in Malate and a present spent roaming around the world. His winning esssay combines elements from his “Malate” (2010) and “Of Legends” (2011) pieces.

From his “Malate” draft:

“I also remember one bar along Adriatico having a logo of a small, partially damaged plane in blue neon lights, with fractured windows and wings and busted rudder and propeller. It was no longer working except for its flashing beacon. Whenever I found myself staring at it as a young boy, I wondered whether the plane had really crashed on that spot.  It looked real from what I could tell. And I never asked my mother. But such is Malate: a fusion of illusion and reality, a dreamy place of incandescent lights, of virile laughter and vigor.”

All different places, different homes. But these three pieces have one thing in common: they have their origins in a couple of creative non-fiction writing graduate classes taught at the University of the Philippines College of Arts and Letters by professor emerita Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo.

Dr. Hidalgo, often called “Ma’am Jing” by her students, is one of the foremost teachers and writers of CNF. In those classes held during the first and second semesters of 2010-2011, she not only guided us in the technique of our craft, she also encouraged us to tap deep within ourselves for the creative impetus that would allow us to write not only with lyricism and beauty, but with truth and honesty.

For the first class, her instructions were “write about a place;” during the second, “write about a personal memory.”  We wrote, critiqued each other’s work, and in the process shared food, laughter, and our lives.

Those classes were home in the way no other classes were, and we were family to each other.

It is perhaps the first and only time that a class under one professor has produced three Palanca Award-winning essays. I hope this is mentioned during Palanca Awards Night on September 1. How rare and beautiful is that?

It would be a fitting tribute to a well-beloved teacher, who nurtured her students and helped them fulfill the potential of their talents and make their own contributions to Philippine arts and letters.

Thank you, Ma’am Jing, and happy birthday (August 21). We couldn’t have done it without you.   *** 

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contest reminders to filipino writers

Finally, the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature contest rules and forms for 2012 are up on their website!

The posting of rules and forms was delayed this year and it was getting worrisome, more so since the topic for the Kabataan Essay/Sanaysay category had not been announced.

As it is, the young writers have two months less a week to go to write their entries.

This year is not a novel year, but 2013 is, so don’t forget to start writing or polishing your manuscripts for that.

The University of the Philippines College of Arts and Letters has issued a call for submissions to their Likhaan literary journal’s sixth edition. The deadline is March 30. They accept short stories, essays, poetry, CNF, and graphic shorts and excerpts of graphic novels.

 CPMA logo here, Likhaan journals image here.

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The 61st Palanca Awards

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  8 September 2011, Thursday

The 61st Palanca Awards

For a Filipino writer, winning a Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature is one of the most gratifying accomplishments one can achieve.

The awards night was held, as always, on September 1, at the Manila Peninsula Hotel. The guest of honor was F. Sionil Jose, a five-time Palanca awardee, who received the 2011 Dangal ng Lahi Award. Fifty-eight other writers were given awards from first to third place, in several different categories in Filipino, Cebuano, Iluko, Hiligaynon, and English.

Also present among the writeratti was Palanca Foundation director-general Sylvia Palanca-Quirino, who spoke of the six-decade long history of the awards. Their family’s dedication in sustaining this program is to be lauded; save for them, there would be no recognition for Filipino literary writers.

Winning a Palanca is something to strive for, a goal, and gives direction to one’s efforts. We hope the Palanca Foundation continues their support of Philippine belles lettres.

It was with tremendous pleasure that I attended the awards night to receive a first prize for Essay for my piece “The Turn for Home: Memories of Santa Ana Park.” The Palanca Award is a heavy brass medal as big as a saucer, hung on a wide sapphire blue ribbon. It comes with a certificate, a wooden presentation box, and prestige, that clings to the awardees like perfume.

With judges.

With De La Salle University’s Dr Genevieve Asenjo (judge, Maikling Kuwento – Hiligaynon) and poet German Gervacio (judge, Tulang Pambata). 

I dedicate my win to my writing mentor at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, professor emerita Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo. It was in her creative non-fiction graduate class last year that I wrote my winning piece.

It was also for that class that this year’s second-place Essay winner, professor Jeena Rani Marquez-Manaois, wrote her winning “The River of Gold”, set in Cagayan de Oro.

With Jeena.

With writer Natasha Gamalinda, who accompanied her fiance Rosmon Tuazon (2nd prize, Tula) to the ceremony. She was my classmate, along with Jeena, in that same CNF class of Dr. Pantoja-Hidalgo. 

The role of mentor, I realize now, is highly significant and cannot be over-emphasized. On my own, without guidance, I most likely would not have produced this work. It was Dr. Pantoja-Hidalgo who gave me the guidance to take my memories and give them shape and structure in narrative form.

May other writers be blessed with the same good fortune as to find a mentor as kind and encouraging, whose keen critical insights instruct and set the direction to do even better in the craft, not only technically, but also in the lyricism and “literary-ness” of the work.

In my essay, I weave memories of the Santa Ana racetrack and my personal life. Here’s an excerpt. In this scene, I’ve been thrown off my horse during morning workout (I was the sport’s first female apprentice jockey and trained for several months) and am lying on the track:

“Jockeys rode past me; unseated apprentices were not an unusual sight, in fact it was expected for one to fall several times during training, and since it was obvious I wasn’t dead – yet – there was no cause for alarm. One jockey did stop beside me as I lay in the sand, staring blankly up at the sky.

He halted his horse and leaned over me. I saw him upside down. It was some wiry guy clad in layers of t-shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket. They all looked alike in their helmets.

“Okay ka lang?” he asked.

Of course not, you idiot, I nearly broke my neck when I fell and I could have been paralyzed from the neck down like Ron Turcotte who rode Secretariat who was the greatest racehorse of all time in my opinion and he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair until he died in a car accident – Turcotte, not Secretariat, was what I wanted to say.

“I’m fine,” was what I actually said.

We were married at Don Bosco Church five months later.”

The essay will be published in December by the UP-Diliman College of Arts and Letters in their literary journal, “Likhaan”. It will also appear online on their website and on that of the Carlos Palanca Foundation.

* *  * * *

I read with interest last Wednesday’s column here in MST by our opinion editor Adelle Chua, which dealt with the topic of depression. I have beloved friends and family members who suffer from depression, and those of us in their support network often wonder what other treatment methods out there other than the usual would be beneficial.

A friend, American psychologist and Virginia Western Community College professor Dr. Annemarie Carroll, advocates yoga to ease depression, in addition to other treatments such as therapy and fish oil.

Says Dr. Carroll, “There’s a lot of research about using [yoga] for depression and this is what I’m working towards doing with my psych clients. The reason yoga is so helpful is that it teaches people the ability to “ride the wave” of discomfort with breathing – whether that’s physical discomfort as in a yoga posture that’s difficult for you, or in emotional/mental discomfort, as those feelings can come up while doing the physical practice.

“The person then begins to generalize that to their everyday life situations. Any good yoga teacher would be helpful, but sometimes you can find a yoga teacher who specializes in this.”

I don’t know much about the yoga scene in Manila, and was glad to receive word from writer/performer Lissa Romero De Guia about the “Wake Up and Shake Up!” yoga event presented by Art of Living Philippines.

It’s a two-hour event of “Meditation, Yoga and Wisdom”, set for September 14 at the AIM Conference Center in Makati beginning 6:30pm.

The session will be conducted by senior Art of Living teacher Swami Sadyojathah. He travels extensively all over the world teaching yoga and meditation, conducting trauma relief, and “spreading ancient techniques on how to live life with a deep sense of joy and enthusiasm.”

No previous experience in meditation or yoga is required. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat and water bottle. For details call Lorna Nasayao (0917-8484898).  ***

Portraits of Dr Pantoja-Hidalgo and Dr Carroll  from their Facebook pages.

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2011 carlos palanca memorial awards for literature winners and judges

Here are the winners and judges of this year’s Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature – the 61st Palanca Awards.

The awarding ceremony will take place tonight (September 1) at the Manila Peninsula Hotel, Makati.

 

ENGLISH DIVISION:

Essay

1st – Jennifer Rebecca L. Ortuoste (The Turn for Home: Memories of Santa Ana Park)

2nd – Jeena Rani Marquez-Manaois (The River of Gold)

3rd – Rosario Cruz-Lucero (The Stain of Blackberries)

 Full-length Play

1st – Joshua L. Lim So (A Return Home)

2nd – Peter Solis Nery (If The Shoe Fits)

3rd – Jonathan R. Guillermo (Freshmen)

One-act Play

1st – Floy C. Quintos (Evening at the Opera)

2nd – No Winner

3rd –No Winner

Short Story

1st – Asterio Enrico N. Gutierrez (The Big Man)

2nd – Alexis A.L. Abola (Disappearance)

3rd – Johannes L. Chua (Prodigal)

Short Story for Children

1st – Georgina Veronica (Nikki) Alfar (Tom Yum)

2nd – Georgianna R. de Vera (Tatay, Through Wind and Waves)

3rd – Benjamin Pimentel (Gagamba, the Spider from the Islands)

Poetry

1st – Eliza A. Victoria (Maps)

2nd – Lourdes Marie S. La Viña (Stones and Other Poems)

3rd – Simeon P. Dumdum, Jr. (Maguindanao)

Poetry for Children

1st – Cynthia Baculi-Condez (The Universe and Other Poems)

2nd – Peter Solis Nery (The Shape of Happiness)

3rd – Kris Lanot Lacaba (The Shaggy Brown Chicken and Other Poems for Children (and for chickens of all ages)

Kabataan Essay

1st – Mariah Cristelle F. Reodica (The Golden Mean)

2nd – Scott Lee Chua (Of Pixels and Power)

3rd – Leo Francis F. Abot (Gods of the Internet)

REGIONAL DIVISION:

Short Story – Cebuano

1st – Richel G. Dorotan (Ang Tawo sa Punoan ng Nangka sa Hinablayan)

2nd – Errol A. Merquita (Isla Verde)

3rd – Macario D. Tiu (Black Pearl)

Short Story – Iluko

1st – Ariel S. Tabag (Saddam)

2nd – Juan A. Asuncion (Ayuno)

3rd – Norberto D. Bumanglag, Jr. (Ti Agdamdamili)

Short Story – Hiligaynon

1st – Peter Solis Nery (Donato Bugtot)

2nd – Alice Tan Gonzales (Kahapunanon sa Laguerta ni Alberto)

3rd – Kizza Grace F. Gardoce (Pabalon)

GRAND PRIZE DIVISION:

Nobela

Allan Alberto N. Derain (Ang Banal na Aklat ng mga Kumag)

Novel

Maria Victoria Soliven Blanco (In the Service of Secrets)

 

FILIPINO DIVISION:

Sanaysay

1st – Bernadette V. Neri (Ang Pag-uwi ng Alibughang Anak ng Lupa)

2nd – Rosario Torres-Yu (Nagbibihis na ang Nanay)

3rd – Nancy Kimuell-Gabriel (Kubeta)

Dulang Pampelikula

1st – Lemuel E. Garcellano (Tru Lab)

2nd – T-Jay K. Medina (Huling Isang Taon)

3rd – Helen V. Lasquite (Emmanuel)

Dulang Ganap ang Haba

1st – Rodolfo Vera (Paalam Señor Soledad)

2nd – Liza Magtoto (Tamala)

3rd –Joshua L. Lim So (Panahon ng Sampung Libong Ilong)

Dulang May Isang Yugto

1st –Remi Karen M. Velasco (Ondoy: Ang Buhay sa Bubong)

2nd –Layeta P. Bucoy (El Galeon De Simeon)

3rd – Bernardo O. Aguay, Jr. (Posporo)

Kabataan Sanaysay

1st – Mary Amie Gelina E. Dumatol (Ang Makulit, ang Mapagtanong, at ang Mundo ng Kasagutan)

2nd – Abegail Joy Y. Lee (Nang Maging Mendiola ko ang Internet Dahil kay Mama)

3rd – Ma. Bettina Clare N. Camacho (Isang Pindot Sa Kamalayan)

Tula

1st – Enrique S. Villasis (Agua)

2nd – Rosmon M. Tuazon (Mga Nakaw na Linya)

3rd – Christopher B. Nuyles (Ilang Tala Hinggil sa Daangbakal at iba pang tula)

Tulang Pambata

1st – Marcel L. Milliam (Ako Ang Bida)

2nd – Eugene Y. Evasco (Isang Mabalahibong Bugtong)

3rd – John Enrico C. Torralba (Manghuhuli Ako ng Sinag ng Araw)

Maikling Kwento

1st – No Winner

2nd – No Winner

3rd – Michael S. Bernaldez (Metro Gwapo)

Maikling Kwentong Pambata

1st – Segundo Matias (Alamat ng Duhat)

2nd – Joachim Emilio B. Antonio (Sa Tapat ng Tindahan ni Mang Teban)

3rd – Christian Tordecillas (Si Inda, Ang Manok at ang mga Lamang-Lupa)

 

This year’s boards of judges include:

FILIPINO DIVISION:

Dulang Ganap ang Haba

Mr. Roy Iglesias – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. Clodualdo Del Mundo, Jr. – Kagawad

Ms. Maribel Legarda – Kagawad

Dulang May Isang Yugto

Dir. Rosauro dela Cruz – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. Chris Millado – Kagawad

Mr. Robert Seña – Kagawad

Dulang Pampelikula

Dir. Ricky Davao – TAGAPANGULO

Dir. Gil Portes – Kagawad

Dir. Joel Lamangan – Kagawad

Maikling Kuwento

Dr. Jimmuel Naval –TAGAPANGULO

Mr. Fidel Rillo, Jr. – Kagawad

Mr. Marco A. V. Lopez –Kagawad

Maikling Kuwentong Pambata

Dr. Dina Ocampo – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. Virgilio Vitug – Kagawad

Dr. Fely Pado – Kagawad

Sanaysay

Dr. Pamela Constantino – TAGAPANGULO

Ms. Vina Paz – Kagawad

Mr. Lourd Ernest De Veyra – Kagawad

Tula

Dr. Rebecca Añonuevo – TAGAPANGULO

Dr. Rofel Brion – Kagawad

Mr. Alfonso Mendoza – Kagawad

Tulang Pambata

Ms. Heidi Emily E. Abad – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. German Gervacio – Kagawad

Mr. Jesus Santiago – Kagawad

REGIONAL LANGUAGES:

Maikling Kuwento – Cebuano

Mr. Edgar S. Godin – TAGAPANGULO

Dr. Erlinda K. Alburo – Kagawad

Dr. Jaime An Lim – Kagawad

Maikling Kuwento – Hiligaynon

Mr. Nereo Jedeliz – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. Ressureccion Hidalgo – Kagawad

Dr. Genevieve Asenjo – Kagawad

Maikling Kuwento – Iluko

Mr. Honor Blanco Cabie – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. Roy Aragon – Kagawad

Ms. Priscilla Supnet Macansantos – Kagawad

ENGLISH DIVISION:

Essay

Dr. Federico Macaranas – CHAIRMAN

Ms. Katrina Tuvera-Quimbo – Member

Ms. Thelma Arambulo – Member

Full-length Play

Mr. Miguel Faustmann – CHAIRMAN

Ms. Malou Jacob – Member

Mr. Nestor Jardin – Member

Poetry

Mr. Mariano Kilates – CHAIRMAN

Mr. Joel Toledo – Member

Mr. Mikael De Lara Co – Member

Short Story

Mr. Dean Francis Alfar – CHAIRMAN

Dr. Shirley Lua – Member

Esther Pacheco – Member

Short Story for Children

Ms. Beaulah Taguiwalo – CHAIRPERSON

Ms. Feny delos Angeles-Bautista – Member

Mr. Luis Joaquin Katigbak – Member

One-act Play

Mr. Glenn Sevilla Mas – CHAIRMAN

Mr. Ronan Capinding – Member

Ms. Josefina Estrella – Member

Poetry for Children

Mr. Edgardo B. Maranan – CHAIRMAN

Ms. Mailin Paterno-Locsin – Member

Dr. Lina Diaz de Rivera – Member

 Kabataan Sanaysay and Essay

Ms. Grace Chong – CHAIRPERSON

Mr. Perfecto Martin – Member

Mr. Ruel De Vera – Member

GRAND PRIZE DVISION:

Nobela

Mr. Reynaldo Duque – TAGAPANGULO

Dr. Lilia Antonio – Member

Dr. Fanny Garcia – Member

Novel

Dr. Jose Neil Garcia – CHAIRMAN

Mr. Benjamin Bautista – Member

Ms. Criselda Yabes – Member

 

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pop goes the world: literary musings

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 10 March 2011, Thursday

Literary Musings

As a writer, things literary catch my attention and that’s what has been on my mind lately, starting with the annual Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

The CPMA was established by businessman Don Carlos Palanca Sr. in 1950 to encourage the development of literature in the Philippines. In the local literary world it is considered the most prestigious prize for writing. From only a few categories at the inception of the program, the CPMA now has quite a lot and in several different languages – English, Filipino, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Iluko.

This year is a “novel” year, meaning entries in the Novel category are being accepted. This happens only every three years.

One innovative development that fosters creative writing among the youth aged 17 and below is the Kabataan Essay/Sanaysay category. This year’s theme is “What valuable lesson have I learned from the Internet?” The work should be from four to five typewritten pages.

Among the members of the CPMA Hall of Fame are the following celebrated writers: Isagani R. Cruz (2004), Krip Yuson and Leoncio Deriada (2001), Jose Dalisay Jr., Ed Maranan, and Roberto Añonuevo (2000), and Cirilo Bautista and Greg Brillantes (1995). Hall of Famers are writers who have won at least five first prizes in the regular categories.

The deadline of submission of this year’s entries is April 30. The website (palancaawards.com.ph) carries a countdown clock on the homepage – there are as of today only 51 days left to go!

*****

My deepest thanks go to writer Rose Lamb Sobrepeña who sent me with a copy of her book “Fragments of Memory” with a warm dedication inscribed on the flyleaf. It was a pleasure indeed to receive the slim package she sent to me care of the MST office. I recognized her name on the book cover immediately, having read some of her columns before.

I have not had the honor of meeting Mrs. Sobrepeña, but I hope to someday, and to visit the Silliman University Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writer’s Village, the permanent home of the Edilberto K. Tiempo and Dr. Edith L. Tiempo Creative Writing Center. The Writers’ Village was inaugurated last summer, and was the venue for the 49th Silliman National Writer’s Workshop.

One of the cottages at the Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village, Camp Lookout, Valencia. Image here.

*****

Speaking of workshops, I’m looking forward to attending the 50th University of the Philippines National Writers’ Workshop on April 10 to 17 at Camp John Hay in Baguio City. I remember being too chicken to apply for the workshop when I was an undergraduate in UP-Diliman some twenty years ago. The truth is I had nothing worth submitting then. But it was something that was on my bucket list, a wish that I hoped would be fulfilled someday, and now that day has come. Dreams do come true, and I’m a walking talking testimony to that.

The UP Institute of Creative Writing, which administers the workshop, recently announced the twelve fellows chosen to attend: Ronald Baytan, Clarissa Militante, Allan Pastrana, Nerissa Del Carmen Guevara, Yvette Tan, and myself for English, and John Torres, German Gervacio, Genevieve L. Asenjo, Axel Alejandro A. Pinpin, Khavn dela Cruz, and John Iremil Teodoro for Filipino.

The panelists are ICW advisers, fellows, and associates: Jun Cruz Reyes (workshop director), Jose Dalisay Jr. (ICW director), Gemino Abad, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, J. Neil Garcia, Charlson Ong, Conchitina Cruz, Rolando Tolentino, Victor Carmelo Nadera, Mario Miclat, and Romulo Baquiran Jr.

Most national writing workshops are open to beginning writers, as was the UP National until it changed its format. It is currently the only workshop for “writers in mid-career”, and aims to provide a venue where advanced writers may meet to discuss their craft, give and receive feedback on their works-in-progress, and get to know each other and the panelists as well.  ***

Palanca Awards logo here. UP Workshop logo here.

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pop goes the world: poetry and friendship

This was a piece kept in my reserve bank of articles (for fillers and just in case I can’t submit before my weekly deadline) and published by my editor, Adelle Chua, on Christmas Day.

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, Published 25 December 2010, Friday

Poetry and Friendship

How mysterious is friendship, and the bonds that tie people together across years and distances. When I was in the sixth grade in a church school in Pasay City, one of the people I admired and looked up to was a high school senior named Joel H. Vega. We lent each other books, and talked about literature and how words could be powerful enough to move us in ways others could not understand, or even care to learn.

Joel graduated, and I saw him only once after that. He visited our school about a year or two after he had left, to tell me that he had entered the University of the Philippines in Los Baños and was taking journalism. He encouraged me to develop my writing skills and take the same course.

When I became a senior myself and had to decide on my college course, I was confused. My other high school classmates were going for nursing, biology, dentistry, and the other life sciences. (One of them, Amerlon Enriquez, became a physician and is now based in Iowa. He often contributes to MST’s “Diaspora”.)

Healthcare was the career path encouraged by our school. Not being particularly altruistic nor desirous of encountering blood and other body fluids on a daily basis, I remembered Joel’s words, and so I ended up also in the journalism program in UP (Diliman), where I spent four happy years.

Now I make my living from writing. And my choice of career I owe to Joel, and to a chance remark on his part, perhaps forgotten soon as it was said, but that had a profound and significant influence on my life.

After 24 or 25 years we got in touch again through the Internet. Joel is based in the Netherlands, working as a medical journalist, and before that worked in other countries also as a writer. Always as a writer. His life is filled with words and music and art and travel and culture and I am so happy for him.

One thing that made me even happier —and proud—was when I learned that he is a published writer and poet. His poetry has been anthologized many times in Philippine and US literary journals, and he also wrote a collection of essays—Dir’iyah—about life as an expat in the Middle East.

One of his most popular poems, “The Fifth & Careful Season” (2004), begins thus: “Beyond October, before the lure / Of orange, the swarm flies across Nevada’s skies. / Listen, the talebearer says, / Listen as they drag the weight / Of distances from as far as Peru / And Cebu…”

About this piece, Joel says: “I am particularly delighted with (it)… because I somehow hit a sensitive nerve with that poem. Besides, the images, words, rhythm, etc, just all came together…. Poems like that don’t come to me often. It can be my most successful poem to date as it has been re-printed thrice, and with that poem I bagged the Meritage Press ( a small Filipino-owned lit press in California ) annual poetry ‘fun’ contest in 2005.”

From there he has gone on to a more prestigious recognition—third place in the Poetry category of the 2010 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. His award-winning suite of poems was published in the December 6 issue of Philippines Graphic magazine.

He flew in from the Netherlands a couple of weeks ago to spend Christmas here, and our reunion after a couple of decades was boisterous and joyous. We arranged to meet at a mall and he thought he wouldn’t recognize me but I did him and in each other’s presence the years fell away, and we were book-hungry, word-mad teenagers again for a few hours.

Joel also occasionally contributes essays on his multi-cultural experiences to MST’s “Diaspora” column, but I look forward to one day reading all of his poems in one volume that I hope gets published so that this wandering poet’s works may be read and appreciated in the land of his birth.   ***

Photo is of Joel at Marcel Proust’s grave at Pere Lachaise cemetery, August 2010. Image comes from his blog, 18th Moon. See also his year-long blog project 365 Great Pinoy Stuff.

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