Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Mondays LIII

featured readers for the 53rd installment of the bi-weekly Happy Mondays Poetry Nights @ mag:net cafe Katipunan this coming Monday, May 18, @mag:net cafe Katipunan are as follows:

1. Ramil Digal Gulle
2. Sasha Martinez
3. Keith Cortez
4. Jonathan Gonzales
5. Philip Kimpo
6. Mikael Co
7. Wincy Ong
8. Carlomar Daoana
9. Allan Popa
10. Angelo Suarez
11. Kash Avena
12. Yna Abuan
13. Yol Jamendang
14. Mia Tijam
15. Emman Nobleza

(hosted by Waps San Diego)
*plus other regular and surprise guest readers.
*readings start promptly at 7:30 pm followed by the Open Mic sessions @ 930pm-10pm.
*for those interested in reading during the open mic, we will leave a sign-up sheet with Rogel, the bar tender of mag:net cafe. please feel free to sign up and read your work. :)

10pm onwards, Happy Mondays BayawZoundz featuring:
1. Ang Bandang Shirley
2. Ivan Theory

FREE ADMISSION the whole evening. Kitakits po tayo. :)

*Fringe-inspired photo taken from

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Craig Arnold, American poet and creative writing professor, disappeared during a volcano hike in Japan. He was doing a book of poems and essays about volcanoes.


Craig Arnold

Of many reasons I love you here is one

the way you write me from the gate at the airport
so I can tell you everything will be alright

so you can tell me there is a bird
trapped in the terminal all the people
ignoring it because they do not know
what do with it except to leave it alone
until it scares itself to death

it makes you terribly terribly sad

You wish you could take the bird outside
and set it free or (failing that)
call a bird-understander
to come help the bird

All you can do is notice the bird
and feel for the bird and write
to tell me how language feels
impossibly useless

but you are wrong

You are a bird-understander
better than I could ever be
who make so many noises
and call them song

These are your own words
your way of noticing
and saying plainly
of not turning away
from hurt

you have offered them
to me I am only
giving them back

if only I could show you
how very useless
they are not

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ooh, Poet Links

Hello Tumbleweed, Cricket. Me sharing some interviews with poets. Some of them are old (one's from 2004) but fun to read. Fun. Poet. Huh. Wala lang. Share share, kasi it's so GONDO GONDO. Labo. Sige na.


An interview with Jesse Ball, poet and fictionist. I want his book, The Way Through Doors, if anyone's wondering what to get me for, uh, yeah.


An interview with John Ashbery. Hm. I always thought he had two Rs.
Guernica: Some of your early critics complained about your lack of political writing.

John Ashbery: My feeling is that most political poetry is preaching to the choir, and that the people who are going to make the political changes in our lives are not the people who read poetry, unfortunately. Poetry not specifically aimed at political revolution, though, is beneficial in moving people toward that kind of action, as well as other kinds of action. A good poem makes me want to be active on as many fronts as possible.

Guernica: Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?

John Ashbery: Political poetry seldom achieves its goal since the people who should read it (presidents, politicians) don’t read poetry, and most of those who do are already persuaded of the truth of its messages (war is bad, government and industry are often corrupt, racism and other kinds of discrimination should be abolished, global warming is destroying the world, etc.) and might be annoyed at being lectured for wanting ideals they in fact possess. Non-didactic poetry, which seeks merely to delight (Keats’s sonnet about the grasshopper is a good example) can inspire readers to act humanely on many different levels, including the political one.


An interview with Ted Kooser, former US Poet Laureate, who "advocates accessible poetry."


An interview with Stephen Dunn. Who is, uh, Stephen Dunn.

Guernica: As you write, do you think about specific people reading specific poems that might have something to do with them?

Stephen Dunn: I certainly think about it. But I think, again, it has to do with motive. If the motive of writing is for some people a kind of exercise in dirty laundry, that’s one thing. I’ve always thought of my poems as meant to be overheard, as I think all of these poems are. It seems to me if you get experience right, even your most painful or humiliating experiences—if you get those experiences right for yourself and make discoveries as you go along and find for them some formal glue—they will be poems for others.

It seems to me that no matter how perverse or private you might think your attitudes are about anything, if you speak them well there’ll always be a few others nodding. My best experiences with literature as a reader have been when something that I thought was freaky about myself, or something odd or private that I hadn’t told anybody, got articulated or enacted in a poem or story or a novel. It simply brings us into the human fold. Literature at its best is communal in that way. And as much as these poems were written out of a certain personal urgency, I’m always conscious of myself as a maker of poems, thus to some degree a fictionist.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Short Story Month?

Cross-posted from my Wordpress blog. Hello mga bayaw, and the three or five lurkers of this blog. :)


Short Story Month

Let’s make this clear: I did not make this up. For seriously, yo.

It’s at the heels of the Inter/National Poetry Month – and if the theory that the readers of this blog run in very small circles, then you know what I’m talking about, what with the daily renga over at Joel Toledo’s blog contributing to the whole Ooh Poetry Festivities. And that’s fantastic. That’s great. Anything to further literature, short of shoving manuscripts down the throats of unsuspecting passers-by.

But. When I/NPM was announced, well, I thought – like any bitter short story writer would, haha – “Don’t the fictionists get their own month?” (It’s not as temper-tantrum-y as it came out, I swear.) I didn’t know how such a month would work, given that the short story is goddamn long compared to the poem (with notable exceptions – go to hell, T.S. Eliot, and don’t you dare hide Walt Whitman) and lots of other things like blah and blah and blah. A round-robin can’t be accomplished in one day, unless writers really are the unsocial sort and churn out paragraphs and lie in wait for the next paragraph.

And then the people at Emerging Writers Network (Dan Wickett) thought of something kick-ass. And tada, the Very Unofficial Short Story Month. (If you don’t believe me, go here, and then here. And then Google it.)

Dan Wickett at EWN has proposed we go about it this way: “find three stories to read and blog about – one from a collection that maybe I’ve held onto a little too long, should have finished and reviewed by now, etc; one from a print journal; and one from an online journal. By month’s end, if all goals are met, just under 100 short stories will have been read and commented upon.”

Now. Knowing my tendency to get distracted by shiny objects, I’ll have a really hard time accomplishing that 100-Short Stories mark. But I will try.

And you are SO welcome to join me. Email me at so you can guest-blog at this little blog here. PLEASE I BEG YOU. Ahem. DON’T MAKE ME CALL YOU OUT YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Ahem. If you don’t want to yap on about short fiction, you can do other things, like, uh, read short stories, get a copy of a short story collection, subscribe to an online journal, read short stories, write short stories, give someone a love story with the names of the protagonists replaced by your and your hunny-bunny’s names, read short stories, write short stories, buy this fledgling and flailing fictionist here a drink.

And. And. And. You’re asking, “Why? What for?” I’ll try not to hit you too hard with a hairbrush as I say, “Because, damn it, it’s time people read short stories.” Is short fiction really the boo-hoo genre? According to one panelist/commenter(?)/tambay(!) (I conveniently don’t remember your name, but you were in Mogwai, and you were wearing a white blouse thing) from February’s Writers Festival, “Short fiction – fiction – is the most ignored genre in Philippine literature.” And I gasped at that, yes, I did, but I thought, True. Bitterness and sourgraping is not the issue here. It’s to further literature, even if I have to shove blog entries about short stories down the throats of unsuspecting traffic.

Can’t I just say, “Because, damn it” or “Why not?” or “La lang”?

Also, you may ask, isn’t this exercise a little too self-serving? Well, aren’t you just a little question machine? (Credits to Fringe! :p) My answer? I suppose. Haha. I’m not here to argue the merits of lit-sharing, because I’m a lover not a fighter, and because, well, I’m also banking on the fact that after a couple of days, this blog won’t just yammer on and on about the stories I love – you could have your entry as well, here (NUDGE NUDGE WINK WINK DAMN IT) or in your own blogs. And let’s be optimistic about it: maybe I make a few people read, maybe, well, we get to be all in this together.

And because stories are wonderful little rainbows/blades/grasshoppers/mudcakes in your palms.

That said, I am five days late. We are so off to a good start. So. But I tried to catch up. If you’ll follow these links over tharr, you’ll see my entries supposedly for May 1st down to yesterday. Why make it seem like I did it everyday? Because I’m OC, and I don’t want my archives messed up because I stayed under my rock too long.

May 01 – “Missing Women” by June Spence; “The Children Stay” by Alice Munro; “Intimacy” by Raymond Carver.

May 02 – “The Metaphor is Dead—Pass It On” by Carol Shields; “The Girl Who Became a Fish” by Fidelis Angela C. Tan; “Family” by Bret Lott.

May 03 – “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri; “Reconnaissance” by Tara FT Sering; “The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios” by Yann Martel.

May 04 – “Toad’s Mouth” by Isabel Allende; “The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan; “The Cannon” by Kelly Link.

May 05 – “The Housemaid” by Timothy Montes; “The Painted One” by Lakambini Sitoy; “In Caress of Beloved Faces” by Wilfrido Nolledo.

As you can see, had a shitload of catching up to do. Guh. So I would really appreciate it if you help me out. :) Spread the word, and uh, more rallying stuff. Yeah.

PS - And Holy Baby Panda – we have a logo! It’s by Steven Seighman of Dzanc Books, and yes, it’s green. I’m still trying to figure out why there’s a ruler over there yonder, but whatever. I am easily distracted by shiny things, and that logo over there is the most shiniestest, uh-huh.

PS - And a note: the only resources I have are anthologies, the odd copy of Free Press, Graphic, and Story Philippines, and the interweb, as well as short story collections by authors I love. Biased, yes, and woefully limited. So I’d appreciate it if you send me stories: Not stories you want to publish, haha, get them manuscript-wielding pitchforks out of the way, but stories you want me to talk about. Or you can be a dear and write about it too, and I’ll post it here, haha.



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

in case you haven't heard:

Arkaye got in. 

And Mo, of course, and Keith and Petra. Not to take anything away from the rest of the people who got in, but I'm telling you: Arkaye's genius should've been recognized ages ago. 

National Artist for Literature and National Writers Workshop Director Emeritus Edith Lopez Tiempo, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and Silliman University are pleased to announce that the following young writers have been accepted as fellows for the 48th National Writers Workshop scheduled on 4-15 May 2009:

For Poetry

• Mariane Amor Romina T. Abuan (University of Santo Tomas)
• Jonathan S. Gonzales (Ateneo de Manila University)
• Arkaye V. Keirulf (Ateneo de Manila University)
• Patricia Angela F. Magno (Ateneo de Manila University)
• Niño S. Manaog (Ateneo de Manila University)

For Fiction

• Keith Bryan T. Cortez (University of Santo Tomas)
• Ana Margarita Stuart del Rosario (De La Salle University)
• Monique S. Francisco (University of the Philippines - Diliman)
• Russell Stanley Geronimo (De La Salale University)
• Aleck E. Maramag (De La Salle University)
• Gabriel Millado (University of the Philippines – Mindanao)
• Gabrielle L. Nakpil (Ateneo de Manila University)
• Joy C. Rodriguez (University of the Philippines – Mindanao)

For Creative Non-Fiction

• Philip Y. Kimpo Jr. (University of the Philippines - Diliman)
• Marck Ronald Rimorin (University of the Philippines - Baguio)

This year’s panel of critics is composed of Dumaguete-based writers Ernesto Superal Yee, Myrna Peña Reyes, and Cesar Ruiz Aquino, as well as guest panelists Gemino H. Abad, Juaniyo Arcellana, J. Neil C. Garcia, Susan Lara, Rosario Cruz Lucero, DM Reyes, and Alfred Yuson.

The workshop, which is the longest running Writers Workshop in Asia, is coordinated by the Silliman University Department of English and Literature.

Happy Mondays LI

featured readers for the 51th installment of the bi-weekly Happy Mondays Poetry Nights @ mag:net cafe Katipunan TONIGHT, April 20, @mag:net cafe Katipunan are as follows:

1. Arnold Molina Azurin
2. Gemino Abad
3. Marne Kilates
4. Pocholo Goitia
5. Vincent Eviota
6. Angelo Suarez
7. Pancho Villanueva
8. Mia Tijam
9. Carlomar Daoana
10. Keith Cortez
11. Sasha Martinez
12. Andrea Teran
13. Yol Jamendang
14. Lawrence Bernabe

*plus other regular and surprise guest readers.

*readings start promptly at 730 pm followed by the Open Mic sessions @ 930pm-10pm.

*for those interested in reading during the open mic, we will leave a sign-up sheet with Rogel, the bar tender of mag:net cafe. please feel free to sign up and read your work. :)

10pm onwards, Happy Mondays BayawZoundz featuring:

1. Roberto Nicolas
2. Popoy Diokno
3. Khavn

FREE ADMISSION the whole evening. Kitakits po tayo. :)


a little Haiku below for the midsummer night's rain. :)

A fork of lightning
staggers the proud sunflowers.
Summer's relenting.

Renga # 20