Monday, September 14, 2009


As early as May 18, Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid already passed this P.S. Res. No. 1068 during the Fourteenth Congress' Second Regular Session.
In the said resolution, Filipino poet/critic, Dr. Gemino H. Abad, was congratulated and commended for making the country proud.
Dr. Abad became the first and only Filipino to receive the Premio Feronia – Citta di Fiano 2009 in the Foreign Author Category three Saturdays ago, July 11, at the Castle of Fiano Romano, Italy for his work In Ordinary Time: Poems, Parables, and Poetics.
Italy's most coveted literary achievement, Feronia Prize was established in 1993 by the Associazione Culturale Allegorein to give awards in four categories: poetry, narrative, criticism, and a special award to a foreign author.
Aside from free travel expenses and stay in “Lo Stivale,” Dr. Abad received his 3,600 euros prize money, plus his invitation to the Mediterranea.
He was no stranger to that world-famous Italian festival.
In 2007, Dr. Abad was there in Rome, where he met Gezim Hajdari, the Albanian poet who translated his book In Ordinary Time (U.P. Press, 2004) into Italian and who collaborated with Amoa Fatuiva in sending their translation manuscript to the aforementioned competition.
During the awarding ceremonies, Dr. Abad was asked to read (though he is famous for his patented anti-Alzheimer's disease therapy, that is, reciting poetry from memory) all the poems the judges loved: Cebu's Guitars; Where No Words Break; and Let There Be No More.
A Ph.D. in English literature (University of Chicago, 1970, Dr. Abad co-founded the Philippine Literary Arts Council (PLAC) which published Caracoa, a poetry journal in English. His other works include Fugitive Emphasis (poems, 1973); In Another Light (poems and critical essays, 1976); A Formal Approach to Lyric Poetry (critical theory, 1978); The Space Between (poems and critical essays, 1985); Poems and Parables (1988); Index to Filipino Poetry in English, 1905-1950 (with Edna Zapanta Manlapaz, 1988) and State of Play (letter-essays and parables, 1990). He edited landmark anthologies of Filipino poetry in English, among them Man of Earth (1989), A Native Clearing (1993) and A Habit of Shores: Filipino Poetry and Verse from English, ’60s to the ’90s (1999). U.P. has elevated him to the rank of University Professor, the highest academic rank awarded by the university to an exemplary faculty member. He currently sits on the Board of Advisers of the Likhaan: U.P. Institute of Creative Writing and teaches creative writing as Emeritus University Professor at the U.P. College of Arts and Letters where he graduated with a B.A. English degree in 1964.
Now, Dr. Abad can be in the same breath with such past Feronia Prize winners as poets Adonis and Natan Zach from Israel; poet/playwright Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones) from the United States; playwright Alfonso Sastre from Spain; writer Predrag Matvejevic from Bosnia-Herzegovina; writer Michel Butor from France; writer/novelist Ismail Kadare from Albania; poet/critic Roberto Fernandez Retamar from Cuba; poet/author Mahmoud Darwish from Lebanon; fictionist Yvonne Vera from Zimbabwe; writer/literary scholar Dubravka Ugresic from Croatia; poet/author Saadi Yousef from Iraq; poet Kunwar Narain from India; poet Muhammad Benis from Morocco; and novelist Agotha Kristof from Hungary.
Is this the shape of things to come since he is placed on the same Italian pedestal with the Nobel Prize in Literature honorees namely Germany's poet/novelist/playwright/ printmaker/sculptor Gűnther Grass who got it in 1999; China's writer/playwright/translator Gao Xingjian who got it in 2000 and novelist/literary critic John Maxwell Coetzee from South Africa (or South Australia) who got it in 2003?
Well, this gospel made it to the What's Hot list almost simultaneously with the gossip that Malacaňang might include comics author Carlo J. Caparas, theater director Zeneida Amador, fashion designer José Moreno, architect Francisco Mañosa and executive director Cecile Guidote Alvarez of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to the roster of National Artists for 2009.
Will Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announce it during her last State of the Nation Address?
In the meantime, instead of waiting to death, we could perhaps busy ourselves with beating the deadline of Ubod Writers Series on August 15.Twelve writers who have not released book-length titles will be given a chance to have their first book. Four manuscripts written in four languages of each of the three major Philippine Island groups: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will be chosen. The manuscript should be 40-60 pages in chapbook length of 20-40 poems or 5-10 short fiction. The most exceptional pieces in their manuscript shall be translated into Filipino or English. If you are interested, please e-mail or call 426-6001 loc. 5320-5321. More so, the Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices (AILAP) is accepting applicants for the 9th Ateneo National Writers' Workshop(ANWW) to be held from Oct. 19-22. Deadline of submission will be on Aug. 30. For more information, visit , or call 426-6001 loc. 5320 or e-mail .
Or, on the hand, the join 2009 NCCA Writers' Prize, originally conceptualized by poet/critic Virgilio Almario who experienced what they would label as the D.N.A. (or Dagdag National Artist) Syndrome when he was proclaimed on 25 June 2003. Anyway, to bag that P250,000 grant (in four tranches), you have to submit first your curriculum vitae, your three- to five-page concept paper about your project's rationale in four printed copies, and your initial output to the following categories:
Novel – Filipino (first 50 pages);
Poetry – Ilocano (10 poems; 1 poem per page);
Drama – Bicolano (1 act for a full-length drama, 2 1-act plays);
Drama – Cebuano (1 act for a full-length drama; 2 1-act plays);
Essay – Kapampangan (3 chapters or no less than 50 pages).
Deadline of submission of application is on October 15. But, for more details, visit
One of the previous NCCA Prize winners is Joel Toledo who launched last Monday at his latest 59-poem collection entitled The Long Lost Startle published by the University of the Philippines Press, with an introduction by Dr. Abad.
It took place at Mag:Net Gallery (Katipunan) where New York Writers Workshop president Tim Tomlinson will conduct his free poetry workshop this afternoon at 2.
Later, on the same stage, at 6 p.m., Rio Alma will launch the compact disc recording of his poetry known as Tigre sa Zoo with the artist/proprietor himself, Rock Drilon, providing cocktails. Rock, by the way, just opened his one-man show of recent paintings on 25 July, at Pablo Gallery at Unit C-11 South of Market Condominium, Fort Bonifacio where Johnny Alegre's Affinity jazz group performed live. Kindly contact 9863887 for inquiries.
Last Saturday, too, Kapeng Musang, a night of Cordillera music and indigenous films from local filmmakers, was held in celebration of fair trade and love for our most exotic and rarest coffee in the world at Cordillera Coffee inside SM Baguio.
Monkeys and girls are the same. They always fight over a banana. Rats and boys are the same. They are searching for new holes.
Every ticktock of a clock corresponds to an action. When it ticks, something is done and when it tocks, I hope you do not regret happened in the ticks because no matter how hard you try, you can never bring back the time and actions done.

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