Friday, January 28, 2011

Celebrating Philippine poetry

I'm a follower of Karsten Piper's site, A Poetry Feed. Many times a week he does audio recordings of poems he likes; he also happens to teach literature, so he has trained senses for the really good pieces. This is just as well because poems are meant to be read aloud. And if they don't sound good when you hear them, something is problematic—at least, according to Prof. Carlos Aureus, one of my favorite UP English teachers.

I was thrilled when Karsten emailed me last week to ask about Jose Garcia Villa, National Artist for Literature in the Philippines. He wanted to post something about Villa. I got excited. This would probably be the first time an Asian poet would be featured in his site.

Villa is weird in that his works have commas all over them. The style is unstructured, yet the effect is mesmerizing. A personal favorite is the "The Emperor's New Poem" (inspired by the story, "The Emperor's New Clothes") in which there is . . . nothing. Never fails to amaze me.

Here now is Karsten Piper's most recent entry in which he reads, "When I Was No Bigger Than A Huge." Do take your time to listen and be filled with Filipino pride!

When I Was No Bigger Than A Huge
By Jose Garcia Villa

When, I, was, no, bigger, than, a, huge,
Star, in, my, self, I, began, to, write,
Of, rose, and,

Tiger: till, I, burned, with, their
Pure, and, Rage. Then, was, I, Wrath-
And, most,
Gentle: most,

Dark, and, yet, most, Lit: in, me, an,
Eye, there, grew: springing, Vision,
Gold, and,
Its, wars. Then,

I, knew, the, Lord, was, not, my, Creator!
--Not, He, the, Unbegotten—but, I, saw,
Was, I—and,

I, began, to, Die, and, I, began, to, Grow.



Anonymous Karsten Piper said...

Thanks for suggesting Villa, Lance, and for the help with links about him, and for the link here! Next time I have a few extra book-dollars, I'll be ordering one of his.

Cheers, Karsten

Fri Jan 28, 12:17:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

You're welcome, Karsten! I should get a copy of his book, too.

Sun Jan 30, 07:03:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like an enumeration with those commas everywhere in the poem. But like any other poems, it created impact on readers. I am a fan of Emily Dickinson. She, too, had her own style in writing. Her poems were short with line breaks and first letter of most words capitalized.

Glad to have come across your page.
I'm proud of Villa!

Tue Jan 08, 03:36:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

I should read some of hers, too. Thanks for dropping by!

Wed Jan 09, 06:55:00 AM GMT+8  

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