Slide 1 - FileDen by wanghonghx


									a critical survey of
Philippine Literatures

                         Part 1
Love it? Or hate it?
What is Poetry?
          The answer is simple:

Poetry is all about saying ‘I love you,’
     without saying ‘I love you.’
           somewhere i have never traveled
cummings   somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
           any experience, your eyes have their silence:
           in your most frail gestures are things which enclose me,
           or which i cannot touch because they are too near

           your slightest look will easily unclose me
           though i have closed myself as fingers,
           you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
           (touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

           or if your wish be to close me, i and
           my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
           as when the heart of this flower imagines
           the snow carefully everywhere descending;

           nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
           the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
           compels me with the color of its countries,
           rendering death and forever with each breathing

           (i do not know what it is about you that closes
           and opens; only something in me understands
           the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
           nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
         Tonight I can write the saddest lines
Neruda   Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

         Write, for example,'The night is shattered
         and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

         The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

         Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
         I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

         Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
         I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

         She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
         How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

         Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
         To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

         To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
         And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

         What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
         The night is shattered and she is not with me.

         This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
         My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before.
Her voide. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my sould is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
How Do We Approach Poetry?
      Step One: Thinking About the Subject Matter

There are three things that you can look at poetry to find out what
exactly is going on…

                      1. Events

                         What story is being told?

                         Consider the setting in terms of time,
                         place, and social conditions.
2. Images

  What ideas or images are presented for us
  to think about?

  Does the poem evoke any personal

  What is your personal response to the

  Do you like it or dislike it? Why or why not?
3. Speaker

   Who is doing the talking?

   Who is telling the story?

   Who is it being told to?
                     Step Two: Exploring the Form

Poems fall largely into two main categories—lyric poems which deal primarily
with personal feelings and emotions, and narrative poems which tell a story.
Didactic poems are the ones that teach a moral or a lesson.

                    1. Identify the specific form

                       Is it a ballad, an ode, elegy, or whatever?

                       Is the form simple or complex?

                       Is it formal or informal?
2. Consider the meter or the length of the lines

  Are they regular or irregular?

  How does this affect the reader?
3. Consider the rhythm

  Read the poem out loud several times to gain an
  appreciation of the patterns of stressed and
  unstressed syllables. Everything poets do is
  intentional so consider the effect of rhythms created
  by word choices.
4. Consider the rhyme

  The point of the exercise is to identify the elements
  that are present and then to consider why the poet
  has intentionally selected these particular things and
  why have they been used in just this way.

  What use or effect is created by their inclusion in the
                  Step Three: Explore the Style

Look for…

      Figures of speech (similes, metaphor, alliteration, paradox, etc.) …
      Diction (the poet‘s choice of words) …

      Sentence structure (word order) …
      Tone (ironic, melancholy, humorous, cynical, etc.) …

      Sound devices (consonance, assonance, and onomatopoeia are often
      important in creating emphasis) …

      The use of repetition as a way to create emphasis or show tone
      and mood …

                     Once again the intent is to identify what is there and
                     then explore why the poet has made these choices.
                   Step Four: Determine the Theme

Finally, ask yourself…

                     What is the poet‟s intention?

                     What is the big idea that the poet is trying to convey?

                     What is the meaning on a deeper level than just the literal

                     The object here is to consider how the poet uses his
                     subject, the form of the poem, and the language itself
                     to accomplish his or her purpose in writing in the first
What Makes a Poem?
               1. Poems make use of ambiguous language


We often think writing demands clear, sharp denotative language—the very
opposite of ambiguity. In poetry, however, we use the term critically to indicate
language that admits more than one meaning and enriches the texture of a



                      This is the intentional use of one word to mean two
                      different things, usually with a comic effect.

                                For instance, when Mercutio lies dying in Romeo and
                                Juliet he says, ―Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find
                                me a grave man,‖ with two meanings attached to the
                                word ―grave.‖
                     2. Poems make use of images

An IMAGE is a language that speaks to our senses, recording a sensuous
experience. Poetry abounds in visual images, directed to a sense of sight.
Poetry also includes images of touch, taste, smell, and hearing.
3. Poems use figurative language

     Consider this sentence:

 ―She walked slowly across the field.‖

     Then consider this sentence:

 ―She walked across the field as slowly as a snail with a
 pulled muscle.‖

     Then consider this sentence:

 ―She snailed her painful way across the field.‖

                               Have you noticed the use of
                                       literary language?


 An explicit comparison using „like‟ or „as‟ or a verb like „seems‟ or „appears‟.

                                     All Morning
                                     By Gregory Orr

                                     All morning the dream lingers.
                                     I am like thick grass
                                     in a meadow, still
                                     soaked with dew at noon.

Resembles a simile by talking about one thing in terms of another,
but its comparison is more implicit, and does not use like or as or a
verb like seems or appears.

A paradox is a statement which contains apparently opposing or
incongrous elements which, when read together, turn out to make

                          From Welcome to Hiroshima
                          By Mary Jo Salter

                          …. Passing by
                          the Peace Park‘s floral hypocenter (where
                          how bravely, or with what mistaken cheer,
                          humanity erased its own erasure),

Personification or prosopopeia is a figure of speech in which human
qualities are attributed to an animal, object, or idea.

                             By Sylvia Plath

                             I am silver and exact.
                             I have no preconceptions.
                             Whatever I see I swallow immediately
                             Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
                             I am not cruel, only truthful—

                     An extreme exaggeration.


         We speak of something by naming only a part of it.

                      ―Gloria acquired wheels.‖


We speak of objects in terms of something closely connected with it,
not a part of it as in synecdoche but a thing closely and legitimately
associated with it.

                            stove = heat
                          4. Poems use tone

A poem‟s tone reveals the writer‟s attitude toward his subject, an attitude
that can include sarcasm or irony or awe.


                               People are not going
                               To dream of baboons and periwinkles

                               —From Wallace Stevens‟s Disillusionment of Ten O’clock

                          Explosive and angry

                               For Godsake hold your tongue and let me love!

                               —From John Donne‟s The Canonization

     take it from me kiddo
     believe me
     my country, ‗tis of

you, land of the Cluett
      Shirt Boston Garter and Spearmint
      Girl With The Wrigley Eyes (of you
      land of the Arrow Ide
      and Earl &
      Collars) of you i
      sing:land of Abraham Lincoln and Lydia E. Pinkham,
      land above all of Just Add Hot Water And Serve—
      from every B. V. D.

let freedom ring

—From e.e. cummings‟s Poem, Or Beauty Hurts Mr. Vinal
We must take note, however, that most poems are complex, many-sided, and
ambivalent, so the tone may be hard to name and easy to mistake.

Tone tells what meaning to make.

Consider this sentence…

                                          ―I‘ll do the dishes.‖

                complaint   empathy and pity   superiority   scared   hopeful   escape   accusatory
5. Poems use symbols and allusion

    A SYMBOL is a simple sign.

                  There are many kinds of symbolism…

This symbol is seldom used by poets because trite. When they do use it, they use
it to turn it “upside down.”

                         Example: night = death

                         From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
                         By T.S. Eliot

                         Let us go then, you and I,
                         When the evening is spread against the sky…

                                                                    What‟s the next line?
Like veils of painted gossamer on high



         It goes on like this…

                      Like a patient etherized upon a table.
Conventional or Traditional

                              NO SMOKING

                              JESUS CHRIST,
                          6. Poems use sound

There are two distinct pleasures in sound in poetry…

                    The PLEASURE OF RHYTHM, or words in motion,
                    uncoiling in sentences from poetic line to line…

                    TOGETHER, with vowels held and savored, consonants
                    clicking together…
                            Rhythm and Linebreak

Here, the poetic lines are essential to its signature and identity; they are essential.


                       When the sense pauses of stops at the end of the line:

                              Brought death into the world, and all our woe…


                       When the sense runs over the end of the line:

                             With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
                             Restore us…

                             —All examples from John Milton‟s Paradise Lost
 Examine the linebreak samples from John Haines‟s “And when the Green Man Comes”:

TYPE OF LINEBREAKING      THE PASSAGE                            THE EFFECT

Phrase units              His eyes are blind with April,         Boring
                          his breath distilled
                          of butterflies and bees,
                          and in his beard the maggots sings.

 Arbitrary breaking       His eyes are                          Jagged and nervous
                          blind with April, his
                          distilled of
                          butterflies and
                          bees, and in
                          his beard the
                          maggots sings.

Actual linebreaking       His eyes are blind                    The organized rhythm
                          with April,                           calls attention to sound
                          his breath distilled
                          of butterflies
                          and bees, and in his beard
                          the maggots sings.

Consonance is harmony, an agreement and correspondence of sounds.
Consonance, when applied to music, is a simultaneous group of tones, a
chord, which we regard as euphonious. Consonance is a popular poetic
device. It is the repetition of terminal consonants in two or more syllables,
words, or lines. Consonance is concrete, rather than subjective and
connotative, and it does not depend on vowels.

                                             Why do poets use consonance?
To create a casual, carefree cadence:

    The flim-flam man chit-chats with his customer in a
    sing-song voice as he sells her a yin-yang.

To surprise a sentence with some similar sounds:

    The sinful sun sends radiation to sun-bathing sand-dwellers.

To lazily produce a gradual influence on an
audience over the course of a few lines:

    The bartender gave the intoxicated youth a drink,
    And without hesitation, the Bloody Mary he quickly drank.
    His slurred, cheap lines made obvious he was drunk.
                            6. Poems use meter

English poetry employs five basic rhythms of varying stressed (/) and
unstressed (x) syllables. The meters are iambs, trochees, spondees,
anapests and dactyls.

Each unit of rhythm is called a “foot” of poetry.
The meters with two-syllable feet are:

                      IAMBIC (x /) :

                      That time of year thou mayst in me behold

                      TROCHAIC (/ x):

                      Tell me not in mournful numbers

                      SPONDAIC (/ /):

                      Break, break, break/ On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!

The meters with three-syllable feet are

                      ANAPESTIC (x x /):

                      And the sound of a voice that is still

                      DACTYLIC (/ x x):

                      This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pines and the hemlock
                                                        > [a trochee replaces the final dactyl]
                     8. Poems sometimes use rhyme

Rhyme is a common feature in many metrical poems, but not to all.

There are poems called BLANK VERSE, which are written in iambic
pentameter but without rhyme.

This is not to be confused with free verse.

FREE VERSE is free of meter, but may occasionally rhyme.

                            Direct Rhyme


                 9. There are many kinds of poems

                            Poetic Forms


The limerick, bawdy and obnoxious, is not unlike a freak-show curiosity in
the carnival of literary forms.

                              There once was a lady named Cager,
                              Who as the result of a wager,
                              Consented to fart
                              The entire oboe part
                              Of Mozart‘s quartet in F-major.

A Japanese form of gnomic poetry with a particular syllable count: first
line five (5), second line seven (7), and third line five (5). The haiku is
an imagistic poem, usually including two images, of which the second
is a surprise, a leap from the first; or at least the two images conflict.

                                      By Moritaki

                                      A falling petal
                                      drops upward, back to the branch;
                                      it‘s a butterfly.

The term sonnet is derived from the Provencal word sonet and the Italian
word sonetto, both meaning little song. By the thirteenth century, it had
come to signify a poem of fourteen (14) lines following a strict rhyme
scheme and logical structure. The conventions associated with the
sonnet have changed during its history. Traditionally, English poets
usually use iambic pentameter when writing sonnets.
                              Poetic Types


A ballad is a story, usually a poem, in a song. Any story form may be told
as a ballad, such as historical accounts or fairy tales in verse form. It
usually has foreshortened, alternating four- and three-stress lines („ballad
meter‟) and simple repeating rhymes, often with a refrain. It should not be
confused with the ballade, a 14th and 15th century French verse form.
Normally a short narrative arranged into four line stanzas with a
memorable meter. Typical ballad meter is a first and third line with four
stresses (iambic tetrameter) and then a second and fourth line with three
stresses (iambic trimeter). The rhyme scheme is typically ABAB or ABCB.
Often uses colloquialisms to enhance the story telling (and sometimes to
fudge the rhyme scheme). A ballad is usually meant to be sung or recited.
Lord Randall

―O where ha you been, Lord Randal, my son?
And where ha you been, my handsome young man?‖
―I ha been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I‘m wearied wi hunting, and fain wad lie down.‖

―An wha met ye there, Lord Randal, my son?
And wha met ye there, my handsome young man?‖
―O I met wi my true-love; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I‘m wearied wi huntin, and fain wad lie down.‖

―And what did she give you, Lord Randal, My son?
And wha did she give you, my handsome young man?‖
―Eels fried in a pan; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I‘m wearied wi huntin, and fein wad lie down.‖

―And what gat your leavins, Lord Randal my son?
And wha gat your leavins, my handsome young man?‖
―My hawks and my hounds; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I‘m wearied wi huntin, and fein wad lie down.‖

―And what becam of them, Lord Randal, my son?
And what becam of them, my handsome young man?‖
―They stretched their legs out and died; mother mak my bed soon,
For I‘m wearied wi huntin, and fain wad lie down.‖

TRADITIONAL | Lord Randall

                        ―O I fear you are poisoned, Lord Randal, my son!
                        I fear you are poisoned, my handsome young man!‖
                        ―O yes, I am poisoned; mother, mak my bed soon,
                        For I‘m sick at the heart, and fain wad lie down.‖

                        ―What d‘ye leave to your mother, Lord Randal, my son?
                        What d‘ye leave to your mother, my handsome young man?‖
                        ―Four and twenty milk kye; mother, mak my bed soon,
                        For I‘m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.‖

                        ―What d‘ye leave to your sister, Lord Randal, my son?
                        What d‘ye leave to your sister, my handsome young man?‖
                        ―My gold and my silver; mother mak my bed soon,
                        For I‘m sick at the heart, an I fain wad lie down.‖

                        ―What d‘ye leave to your brother, Lord Randal, my son?
                        What d‘ye leave to your brother, my handsome young man?‖
                        ―My houses and my lands; mother, mak my bed soon,
                        For I‘m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.‖

                        ―What d‘ye leave to your true-love, Lord Randal, my son?
                        What d‘ye leave to your true-love, my handsome young man?‖
                        ―I leave her hell and fire; mother mak my bed soon,
                        For I‘m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.‖
Narrative, Epic, or Dramatic Poetry

Narrative poetry tells a story. In its broadest sense, it includes epic poetry;
some would reserve the name narrative poetry for works on a smaller scale
and generally with more direct appeal to human interest than the epic.
Narrative poetry is among the oldest, and perhaps the oldest, genre of poetry.
Much of narrative poetry is performance poetry and has its source in an oral
tradition: the Scots and English ballads, the tales of Robin Hood, and various
Baltic and Slavic heroic poems all were originally intended for recitation, rather
than reading. In many cultures, there remains a lively tradition of the recitation
of traditional tales in verse form. Some have speculated that some of the
distinctive features that distinguish poetry from prose, such as meter,
alliteration, and, at one time served as memory aids that allowed the bards
who recited traditional tales to reconstruct them from memory. Some narrative
poetry takes the form of a novel in verse.
“Out, Out—“
By Robert Frost

The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behing the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To tell them ―Supper.‖ At the word, the saw,
As if it meant to prove saws know what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy‘s hand, or seemed to leap –
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!

FROST | “Out, Out—”

                      Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
                      The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all –
                      Since he was old enough to know, big boy
                      Doing a man‘s work, though a child at heart –
                      He saw all was spoiled. ―Don‘t let him cut my hand off –
                      The doctor, when he comes. Don‘t let him, sister!‖
                      So. The hand was gone already.
                      The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
                      He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
                      And then - the watcher at his pulse took a fright.
                      No one believed. They listened to his heart.
                      Little - less - nothing! - and that ended it.
                      No more to build on there. And they, since they
                      Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.
Lyric and Song

Lyric poetry is a form of poetry that does not attempt to tell a story, as do
epic poetry and dramatic poetry, but is of a more personal nature
instead. Rather than portraying characters and actions, the lyric poet
addresses the reader directly, portraying his or her own feelings, states of
mind, and perceptions. Although its name, from the word lyre, implies that
it is meant to be sung, this is not always the case; much lyric poetry is
purely meant to be read.
By William Shakespeare

When icicles hang by the wall
     And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall
     And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp‘d and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whit, tu-who—a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all aloud the wind doth blow
     And coughing drowns the parson‘s saw
And birds sit brooding in the snow
     And Marian‘s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whit, tu-who—a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

The epigram is a brief couplet or quatrain, usually satirical, aphoristic and
witty and often express a comic turn of thought. The term epigram is derived
from the Greek word epigramma, meaning “inscription,” but its greatest
practitioner was the first-century Roman poet Martial, who is credited with
popularizing the form. The spirit of the epigram is in its terse and succinct
form: much can be said with few words.

                                    What is an Epigram?
                                    By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

                                    Swans sing before they die—‘twere no bad thing
                                    Should certain people die before they sing!
                                    What is an epigram? a dwarfish whole,
                                    Its body brevity, and wit its soul.

This is a brief poem or other writing in praise of a deceased person.
Examples range from the short and sometimes humorous to the formal and

                                   My Own Epitaph
                                   By John Gay

                                   Life is a jest; and all things show it.
                                   I thought so once; but now I know it.
Visual Poetry

Visual Poetry, is poetry or art in which the visual arrangement of text, images
and symbols is important in conveying the intended effect of the work. Visual
poetry blurs the distinction between art and text. Whereas concrete poetry is
still recognizable as poetry, being composed of purely typographic elements,
visual poetry is generally much less text-dependent. Visual poems
incorporate text, but the text may have primarily a visual function. Visual
poems often incorporate significant amounts of non-text imagery in addition
to text.
Easter Wings
By George Herbert

Lord, Who createdst man in wealth and store,
      Though foolishly he lost the same,
         Decaying more and more,
               Till he became
                Most poore:

                 With Thee
                O let me rise,
         As larks, harmoniously,
     And sing this day Thy victories:
 Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

    My tender age in sorrow did beginne;
    And still with sicknesses and shame
        Thou didst so punish sinne,
               That I became
                Most thinne.

                   With Thee
                Let me combine,
       And feel this day Thy victorie;
       For, if I imp my wing on Thine,
  Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
By e.e. cummings

Concrete Poetry

Concrete poetry, pattern poetry or shape poetry is poetry in which the
typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the
intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem, such as meaning
of words, rhythm, rhyme and so on.
Homage to Malevich
By Ian Hamilton Finlay


         lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb
         lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb
         lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb
         lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb
         lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb
         lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb
         lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb
         lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb   lackblockblackb

Prose Poems

Prose poetry is usually considered an archaeological form of poetry written
in prose that breaks some of the normal rules associated with prose
discourse, for heightened imagery or emotional effect, among other
purposes. Arguments continue about whether prose poetry is actually a form
of poetry or a form of prose (or a separate genre altogether). Most critics
argue that prose poetry belongs in the genre of poetry because of its use of
metaphorical language and attention to language. Other critics argue that
prose poetry falls into the genre of prose because prose poetry relies on
prose‟s association with narrative, its consistent divergence of discourse,
and its reliance on readers‟ expectation of an objective presentation of truth
in prose. Yet others argue that the prose poem gains its subversiveness
through its fusion of both poetic and prosaic elements.
Acrostic Poetry

Acrostic poetry is a form of short verse constructed so that the initial letters of
each line taken consecutively form words. The term is derived from the Greek
words akros, “at the end,” and stichos, “line.”

                                 By Edgar Allan Poe

                                 ELIZBETH — it surely is most fit
                                 [Logic and common usage so commanding]
                                 In thy own book that first thy name be writ,
                                 Zeno 1 and other sages notwithstanding;
                                 And I have other reasons for so doing
                                 Besides my innate love of contradiction;
                                 Each poet — if a poet — in persuing
                                 The muses thro‘ their bowers of Truth or Fiction,
                                 Has studied very little of his part,
                                 Read nothing, written less — in short ‗s a fool
                                 Endued with neither soul, nor sense, nor art,
                                 Being ignorant of one important rule,
                                 Employed in even the theses of the school –
                                 Called — I forget the heathenish Greek name –
                                 [Called anything, its meaning is the same]
                                 ―Always write first things uppermost in the heart.‖
a critical survey of
Philippine Literatures

                         Part 2
The Native Tradition of
  Philippine Poetry
The native tradition of Philippine poetry…

         … can be found in a specific form of poetry called gnomic
         poetry, which are poetic lines which are short and compressed.

                                   Different regions of the Philippines
                                   have a wealth of this kind of poetry in
                                   the form of proverbs, riddles, and ditties
                                   for different special occasions.
A mere half of a coconut,
But it took all night to budge it.


A little lake
Fenced in by fine bamboo strips.


After a sleepless night covered with a blanket
It rears up laughing.

A mere half of a coconut,
But it took all night to budge it.

A little lake                                                  CHARACTERISTICS
Fenced in by fine bamboo strips.
                                                                    OF POETRY

After a sleepless night covered with a blanket
It rears up laughing.

                                     These poetic type show a fine use of…

                                     1. imagistic, vivid details
                                     2. action
                                     3. pervasive awareness of the subtle paradox
                                        or irony of the human condition and in the
                                        processes of nature
                                     4. poetry has a tangential nature, where the point is
                                        often suggested rather than stated outright
The Different Levels of
  Interpreting Poetry
After a sleepless night covered with a blanket
It rears up laughing.

                      1. literal level
                          the story is that of a flower blooming overnight
After a sleepless night covered with a blanket
It rears up laughing.

                      2. metaphorical level
                         The line takes into account the quiet operation
                         of nature—but it is a kind of growing that
                         practically overnight explodes into life and color
                         (the verb “laughing” is used).

                         Metaphorical of such processes as the Ugly
                         Duckling archetype, the Cinderella archetype—
                         that the “true diamond comes outshining after
                         pressure,” that “gold comes out shining new
                         after the fire,” etc.
After a sleepless night covered with a blanket
It rears up laughing.

                      3. transcendental or
                      metaphysical from a seed that has to rot in
                        A flower springs
                         order for the flower to come alive

                         There is a muted awareness in the riddle‟s
                         projection of the paradoxical concept that out of
                         sleep (“death”) comes waking (“life”/”everlasting

                         The poetic concept becomes: sleep, or death, is
                         not really inactive or inert; it is a process of secret
                         and steady action and creativity

                       death = life

    “For whoever would be born again must first

This is both a Biblical, as well as biological truth
An Evolutionary History of
Philippine Poetry in English
When the Americans came to colonize the islands at the turn of the 20th
century, they brought with them a language with a long literary tradition that
dated back to Medieval England

Philippine poetry in English is a hundred years old (starting with the four
poems published in The Filipino Student Magazine in 1905, including a poem
contributed by one Maria G. Romero)

In the hands of the local writers, the language went through changes that
reflected the shifting standards and attitudes of the Filipino writers who were
using a foreign language
We can divide the poetic history of the Philippines in three parts:

                    1. Early (Romantic Period)

                    2. Middle (Formalist Strain)

                    3. Contemporary (Native Clearing)
                       Early Period (1905-1940)

Also called an “apprentice” period.

Gemino H. Abad calls this the Romantic Period.

Why? Because the sensibility was Romantic…

                           Our writers were still ―learning the ropes‖ of
                           the language, so they had no choice but to
                           imitate the models of the English tradition
                           available at the time (sonnets, sentimental
                           love poems, didactic and religious poems).
Their influences included such Romantic and Victorian poets
of Europe and America as Browning, Wordsworth, and
The characteristics of our romantic poetry…

        1. artificial (sounds very European than Filipino)

        2. unabashedly romantic, usually using natural imagery
           (images of beautiful women, flowers, the smell of rain, the
           “effulgence of moonlight on the waves,” and such)

        3. sentimental (softly emotional)

        4. rigid form (definite number of stresses to each line, perfect
           rhymes, lack of variation thus no spontaneity)

        5. use of archaic words
FERNANDO   The Rural Maid

MARAMAG             1.

                     Thy glance, sweet maid, when first we met,
           Had left a heart that aches for thee,
                     I feel the pain of fond regret—
           Thy heart, perchance, is not for me.


                    We parted: though we met no more,
           My dreams are dreams of thee, fair maid;
                    I think of thee, my thoughts implore
           The hours my lips on thine are laid.


                    Forgive these words that love impart,
           And pleading, bare the poet‘s breast;
                    And if a rose with thorns thou art,
           Yet on my breast that rose may rest.


                     I know not what to name thy charms,
           Thou art half human, half divine;
                     And if I could hold thee in my arms,
           I know both heaven and earth were mine.
TRINIDAD         Sonnet to a Gardener: II

                 Cool is the night. There is a tender breeze
                 Stirring the vine-leaves curtailing my room.
                 Is it the amorous secrets of the trees?
                 Is it my name, it murmurs through the gloom?
                 The altar-fires gleam fitful in the dusk.
                 But stars allure me with their lustrous glow;
                 Fragrance of lilies, rose-released musk—
                 Such wonders cannot last, and I must go.
                 Yonder, he waits... O, whisperer of my name,
                 Tarry a little while! I come, my love.
                 I come, forsaking pray‘r and altar-flame
                 To burn for you my incense in this grove.
                 Night call me not a soulless infidel—
                 Only a pagan worshipping love too well.
ABELARDO   Soft Night

           The night is soft and cool. I wait for you
           Amid the garden dusk beneath the trees.
           This is the hour of softly falling dew.
           I breathe your name; it floats upon the breeze
           That gently stirs the clinging window-vine.
           You cannot hear; the fervid longing dies
           Upon my heart... I hear a bird repine
           In liquid notes that mingle with my sighs.
           Rise from your dreams. The sampaguita faint.
           The cool, soft night is slipping, waning low...
           Night shed its tears the nightbird‘s sad complaint
           Melts into silence, Love, I want you so.
           Rise from your dreams, I bring you love more sweet
           Than all the flowers I scatter at your feet.
JOSE GARCIA   And If the Heart Cannot Love

VILLA         And if the heart can not love
              death can not cure it nor sleep
              no splendor of wound the heart
              had no sound

              Bloom has escaped it and
              birth the miraculous flower
              and music and speech leave
              it unbewitched

              God it can not spell nor sun
              nor lover the beautiful word
              and it has no sound no sound
              nor wound
JOSE GARCIA    When I Was No Bigger Than A Huge

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.
ANGELA     Yellow Moon

MANALANG   I stand at my window and listen;
           Only the plaintive murmur of a swarm of cicadas.
GLORIA     I stand on the wet grass and ponder,
           And turn to the east and behold you,
           Great yellow moon.
           Why do you frighten me so,
           You captive of the coconut glade?
           I have seen you before,
           Have flirted with you so many a night.

           When my heart, ever throbbing, never listless,
           Had pined for the moonlight to calm it.
           But you were a dainty whiteness
           That kissed my brow then.
           A gentle, pale flutter
           That touched my aching breast.

           You are a lonely yellow moon now.
           You are ghastly, spectral tonight,
           Behind your prison bars of coconut trees.
           That is why
           I do not dare take you into my hand
           And press you against my cheek
           To feel how cold you are.

           I am afraid of you, yellow moon.


1. the tone and the diction in the poems
   of this period have changed: more
   loose and natural sounding.

2. no artificial imitativeness

3. more indefiniteness, less sentimentality

4. shift to verse libre

5. natural imagery (like the moon) becomes
   a psychological emblem rather than just
   a decorative image
                         Middle Period (1940-1960)

There is now a maturation of sensibilities.

Abad calls this Formalist Strain (the advent of New Criticism).

Formalism called for a new attitude, a new approach towards literature in
direct contrast to the prevalent notions of literary understanding or criticism
at that time. In formalism, the study of poetry entail an appreciation of “the
poem unto itself, not the world.”

                                                 Some literary terms used in
                                                       the formalist mode…
1.   paradox
2.   irony
3.   metaphor
4.   objective correlative
5.   epiphany

6.   flashforward

7.   media res

8.   flashback

9.   central image

10. organic unity
Central Image
Organic Unity
No ‘organic unity’
EDITH LOPEZ   Lament For the Littlest Fellow

TIEMPO        The littlest fellow was a marmoset.
              He held the bars and blinked his old man‘s eyes.
              You said he knew us, and took my arms and set
              My fingers around the bars, with coaxing mimicries
              Of squeak and twitter. ―Now he thinks you are
              Another marmoset in a cage.‖ A proud denial
              Set you to laughing, shutting back a question far
              Into my mind, something enormous and final.

              The question was unasked but there is an answer.
              Sometimes in your sleeping face upon the pillow,
              I would catch our own little truant unaware;
              He had fled from our pain and the dark room of our rage,
              But I would snatch him back from yesterday and tomorrow.
              You wake, and I bruise my hands on the living cage.

              What is the ‘central image’?
              Is there an ‘organic unity’?

TIEMPO        All that I love
              I fold over once
              And once again
              And keep in a box
              Or a slit in a hollow post
              Or in my shoe.

              All that I love?
              Why, yes, but for the moment—
              And for all time, both.
              Something that folds and keeps easy,
              Son‘s note or Dad‘s one gaudy tie,
              A roto picture of a beauty queen,
              A blue Indian shawl, even
              A money bill.

              It‘s utter sublimation,
              A feat, this heart‘s control
              Moment to moment
              To scale all love down
              To a cupped hand‘s size,

              Till seashells are broken pieces
              From God‘s own bright teeth,
              And life and love are real
              Things you can run and
              Breathless hand over
              To the merest child.
Analysis of   All that I love
              I fold over once
„Bonsai‟      And once again
              And keep in a box
              Or a slit in a hollow post
              Or in my shoe.

              All that I love?
              Why, yes, but for the moment—
              And for all time, both.
              Something that folds and keeps easy,
              Son‘s note or Dad‘s one gaudy tie,
              A roto picture of a beauty queen,
              A blue Indian shawl, even
              A money bill.

              It‘s utter sublimation,
              A feat, this heart‘s control
              Moment to moment
              To scale all love down
              To a cupped hand‘s size,

              Till seashells are broken pieces
              From God‘s own bright teeth,
              And life and love are real
              Things you can run and
              Breathless hand over
              To the merest child.
                      Contemporary Period (1960-Present)

There is seen a more gregarious, experimental invention of the poetic form
as writers mature and become more confident in the language.

Abad calls this the Native Clearing.
                The characteristics of contemporary poetry…

                1. rather fragmented or eclectic in terms of influence,
                   form (protest poems, erotic poems, personal
                   poems, love poems), and thematic concerns;

                2. while still involved in exploring the Filipino identity,
                   there is a marked feel for experimentation and
                   sensitivity; and

                3. what makes the poem good is the fresh insight,
                   the sensitive use of language, and its
                   characteristics of easiness and naturalness.
RENE      Letter to Pedro, U.S. Citizen, Also
          Called Pete
AMPER     Pete, old friend,
          there isn‘t really much change
          in our hometown since you left.

          This morning I couldn‘t find anymore
          the grave of Simeona, the cat we buried
          at the foot of Miguel‘s mango tree,
          when we were in grade four,
          after she was hit by a truck while crossing
          the street. The bulldozer has messed it up
          while making the feeder road into the mountains
          to reach the hearts of the farmers.
          The farmers come down every Sunday
          to sell their agony and their sweat for
          a few pesos, lose in the cockpit or get
          drunk on the way home.

          A steel bridge named after the congressman‘s wife
          now spans the gray river where Tasyo, the old
          goat, had split the skin of our young lizards
          to make us a man many years ago.

AMPER | Letter to Pedro, U.S. Citizen, Also Called Pete

                                  The long blue hills where we
                                  used to shoot birds with slingshot or spend
                                  the summer afternoons we loved so much doing
                                  nothing in the tall grass have been bought
                                  by the mayor‘s son. Now there‘s a barbed wire
                                  fence about them; the birds have gone away.

                                  The mayor owns a big sugar plantation, three
                                  new cars, and a mansion with the gate overhung
                                  with sampaguita. Inside the gate
                                  are guys who carry a rifle and a pistol.

                                  We still go to Konga‘s store for rice
                                  and sardines and sugar and nails for the coffin.

                                  Still only a handful go to Mass on Sundays.
                                  In the church the men talk, sleep; the children play.
                                  The priest is sad.

                                  Last night the storm came and blew away
                                  the cornflowers. The cornfields are full of cries.

AMPER | Letter to Pedro, U.S. Citizen, Also Called Pete

                                 Your cousin, Julia, has just become a whore.
                                 She liked good clothes, good food, big money.
                                 That‘s why she became a whore.
                                 Now our hometown has seven whores.

                                 Pete, old friend,
                                 every time we have good reason to get drunk
                                 and be carried home in a wheelbarrow
                                 we always remember you. Oh, we miss
                                 both Pete and Pedro.

                                 Remember us to your American wife,
                                 you lucky bastard. Islaw, your cock-eyed
                                 uncle, now calls himself Stanley
                                 after he began wearing the clothes you sent
                                 him last Christmas.

                                 P.S. Tasyo, the old goat,
                                 Sends your lizard his warmest congratulations.
ROLANDO S.   Valediction sa Hillcrest

TINIO        (Iowa City, 1958)

             Pagkacollect ng Railway Express sa aking things
             (Derecho na iyon sa barko while I take the plane),
             Inakyat kong muli ang N-311 at dahil dead of winter,
             Nakatopcoat at galoshes akong
             Nagright turn sa N wing ng mahabang dilim
             (Tunnel yatang aabot hanggang Tondo.)
             Kinapa ko ang switch sa hall.
             Sa isang pitik, nagshrink ang imaginary tunnel,
             Nagparang ataol.

             Or catacomb,
             Strangely absolute ang impression
             Ng hilera ng mga pintong nagpuprusisyon:
             Individual identification, parang mummy cases,
             De-nameplate, de-numero, de-hometown address.
             Antiseptic ang atmosphere, streamlined yet
             E filing cabinet.

TINIO | Valediction sa Hillcrest

                                   Filing, hindi naman deaths, ha.
                                   Remembrances, oo. Yung medyo malapot
                                   Dahil, alam mo na I‘m quitting the place
                                   After two and a half years.
                                   After two and a half years,
                                   Di man nagkatiyempong mag-ugat, ika nga,
                                   Siyempre‘y naging attached, parang morning glory‘ng
                                   Mahirap mapaknit sa alambreng trellis.

                                   At pagkabukas ko sa kuwarto
                                   Hubo‘t hubad na ang mattresses,
                                   Wala nang kutson sa easy chair.
                                   Mga drawer ng bureau‘y nakanganga,
                                   Sabay-sabay nag-ooration,
                                   Nagkahiyaan, nabara.

                                   Of course, tuloy ang radiator sa paggaralgal:
                                   Nasa New York na si Bob and the two Allans,
                                   Yung mga quarterbacks across the hall
                                   Pihadong panay sa Des Moines.
                                   Don and Constance aren‘t coming back at all.

TINIO | Valediction sa Hillcrest

                                   Gusto ko mang magpaalam—
                                   to whom?
                                   The drapes? the washbowl? sa double-decker
                                   Na pinaikot-ikot namin ni Kandaswamy
                                   To create space, hopeless, talagang impossible.
                                   Of course, tuloy ang radiator sa paglagutok.
                                   And the above silence,
                                   nakakaiyak kung sumagot.)

                                   Bueno, let‘s get it over with.
                                   It‘s a long walk to the depot.
                                   Tama na ang sophistication- sophistication.

                                   Sa steep incline, pababa sa highway
                                   Where all things level, sabi nga,
                                   There‘s a flurry, ang gentle- gentle.
                                   Pagwhoosh-whoosh ng paa ko,
                                   The snow melts right under:

                                   Nagtutubig, parang asukal,
MARJORIE    Sagada Stills in a Floating World

EVASCO     If with images                                If with words

                  I                                          You

                                       could catch

           on photographic film                          on silk paper

                                       a likeness

               of You                                       of me

                                       in Sagada

              I would have                           You would have

                                  to sit a thousand years
                                  with master of austere

                 Light                                   Measure

                Masferré                                 Shikibu

                                  To learn the process

              of rendering                            of staining

                Silence                                   Sound
ERIC        Lyrics From a Dead Language

GAMALINDA   This one‘s for the rose of Asia gliding down the avenidas:
            that she may be young forever, and in her blood hold
            suzerains and kings, be witness to the passage
            of prophets, great upheavals and religions.

            I give her my treasons and typhoons.

            This one‘s for all the thorns in the estero de la reina
            and all the women combing its banks for seeds and pearls
            and for the rainbows they keep on their fingertips.

            Let all the warheads in the Pacific
            be quiet for once. Christ, let no one move.

            I, too, believe in heaven.
            Not strong enough to disbelieve,
            I decree myself redeemed.


GAMALINDA | Lyrics From a Dead Language

                           I saw him in China,
                           reeling from eclipses and revolutions,
                           I saw him in Europe, sipping tea
                           with heads of state.

                           I don‘t believe in salvation,
                           I believe only in the steel flash that shoots through my ribs
                           each time I walk home;

                           and always there is someone in Burkina Faso
                           who cannot sleep,
                           and the sun breaks over Manhattan,

                           and the flowers pop, pink and chalcedony,
                           in Japan, where they count
                           the fortunes and ravages of spring.


GAMALINDA | Lyrics From a Dead Language

                              Twilight is an unbearable hour,
                              vapor and umber collude

                              and in its sticky light strange creatures
                              breed and spawn:

                              and the air is filled with their industrious music.
                              And so much of this I can give

                              only as seasons and vicissitudes!
                              Always I am given to some secret contraband hope

                              howling among the shipwrecked,
                              and you are there,

                              lost at sea, listening to the empty surf.
                              And so much of this is real.


GAMALINDA | Lyrics From a Dead Language

                              Magpatalim ka na
                              Ng pangil,
                              Ginoong Anino!

                              Lumalapot na naman
                              ang liwanag ng buwan

                              at bumubukad
                              ang mga uyaying madidilim:

                              Ganito na lang ba

                              ang buhay: sa isang café,
                              sa kanto ng x at x

                              lumitaw ang mahalay
                              na anghel,

                              at muli, bilango ka
                              ng rosas,

GAMALINDA | Lyrics From a Dead Language

                             ng alat,
                             at ng matamlay na halik.

                             Ito po
                             ang inyong lingkod,

                             {Ilagay ang lagda dito}

                             Sumusunod ka lang
                             sa lukso ng pulso mo,

                             Ginoong Bampira,
                             Ginoong Tikbalang.

                             All the Christs of the revolution
                             will burn tonight,
                             and when they do this will be my permanent address:
                             in one corner of the wind,
                             holding the world‘s last rose.

GAMALINDA | Lyrics From a Dead Language

                             Todos los Cristos de la revolucion!
                             And through the smoke, stumbling past the avenidas de amor
                             I want to lead you, swift as logic,
                             into the canyons of the moon.

                             Sweet music. And as we slither into the darkness
                             I will fill your mouth
                             with hunger and lyrics. This is no love song;
                             let the arrow that wounds you
                             be the music you remember.
NAYA        Dream of Goldfish

VALDELLON   It‘s the unlikely who are best able to squeeze into the crevices
            of our minds, the way the bespectacled student did on one of
            those protracted jeep rides home. I remember thinking her
            sneakers must have boasted whiteness once. In the clear plastic
            bag she was clutching was a miniature sun, no, a goldfish. If it
            had been swiveling with a partner, perhaps the urge to
            puncture the bag with a pencil would not have welled up so

            And in the light of rush hour, I suspected Newton was wrong:
            more than one future could swim away from the swoosh of a
            single action. Water could gush out of the wound, wetting
            passengers‘ toes, while the girl‘s hands shook my shoulder for
            an explanation. She could rush out of the vehicle to find a
            method of salvation, trusting in traffic to avenge her finned
            friend. Guilt could tug at my sleeves if she burst into tears and
            let the bag dangle from her fingertips, my act finally tipping
            her into despair. Or she could snap, grab the still-wet pencil
            from my hand and shove it up my left nostril. I thought I
            could love her forever if she heaved a sigh of thanks and flung
            the bag, frantic fish and all, out onto the Elliptical Road‘s rage.

            What would I have done, had she handed the bag to me like
            Charon giving up his oar before stepping out onto twilit
            Quezon Boulevard? That I am telling this in the subjunctive
            reveals nothing about the orange fins twitching for life on the
            drenched floor of my dreams
PAOLO    Jolography

MANALO   O, how dead you child are, whose spoiled
         Sportedness is being fashion showed

         Beautifuling as we speak — in Cubao
         There is that same look: Your Crossing Ibabaw,

         Your Nepa Cute, Wednesdays
         Baclaran, ―Please pass. Kindly ride on.‖

         Tonight will be us tomorrowed-
         Lovers of the Happy Meal and its H,

         Who dream of the importedness of sex as long as it‘s
         Pirated and under a hundred, who can smell

         A Pasig Raver in a dance club. O, the toilet
         Won‘t flush, but we are moved, doing the gerby

         In a plastic bag; we want to feel the grooves
         Of the records, we want to hear some scratch-

MANALO | Jolography

                      In a breakaway movement, we‘re the shake
                      To the motive of pockets, to the max.

                      The change is all in the first jeep
                      Of the morning‘s route. Rerouting

                      This city and its heart attacks; one minute faster
                      Than four o‘clock, and the next

                      Wave that stands out in the outdoor crowd
                      hanging with a bunch of yo-yos-

                      A face with an inverted cap on, wearing all
                      Smiles the smell of foot stuck between the teeth.
NERISA       Session Road

DEL CARMEN   It isn‘t cold here.
GUEVARA      We sigh metaphors
             Like white puffs of breath
             As we trudge along Session Road.
             Hands in pockets,
             Our steps are measured
             In remembered verses.
             Our eyes appreciate
             The closeness of the stars.
             And the laughter,
             Well, there is much of that
             As there are spaces
             In the dark.
             The night makes us walk
             In our own shadows.
             We are mindful of them
             For there, at our feet,
             Is poetry
             Lengthened by the lamplights.

Session Road (Kalinga Translation)
By Charles “Badjao” Wandag

Yano antununginin sina… Ipon
Umag-os at tat da maila-aah
Sap-oy on man iitak di isuna aah
Ad Session Road wei inta tumagada aah
Tadcharan, innan charan

Imma tad a bulsa-aah
Man-iisun akdang ta…aah
Gingan on mangipasomsomok
At de a in patbarot de ata aah
Incharan na incharan…

De kina adurog de bitowon
Kaman da yocyoc at sina aah…yokyok
Anii ta ado pay da pad-ing at de kapongotan
Umoy de labi dita antadtaddaranon
Incharan na intadcharan…
At de kuwatan ani niiwan
At de anna on papata ila ilan
Aniyat atda ikita-aah
Amiyat da ikita

Oooohhh isun uggayam
Isun uggayam wei gayaman
Kinaandun de pinatud
Dear Land Lady

Penguin Cafe, Lian.
Jamine tea, tasting
Of soft crumbly earth
The way it should be for the farmers
Who only remember rain,
In a clay cup
From some river
Already dead.

Everything is a matter of space:

Your small hands close over the entire room
As you keep that incandescent lamp to yourself
Because it was your lamp after all, and not mine.

I am here because of you.
Precious tea cup,
Taste of Earth,
And flowers
Bitter on my tongue.
ANGELO V.   Moms Baking Cats

SUAREZ      My mom loved baking cats for dessert. Once, the cat leapt out
            Of the oven just before it was golden-brown. We didn‘t know
            How the cat did it, but it was able to open the oven by itself.
            Of course a chase occurred—the chaser being my mom
            And the chasee a scurrying four-legged mass stripped of its fur
            And its tail. My dad was furious. Who would want a naked cat
            Running and racing and hustling and hastening and scooting
            And scampering around the house and lunging at things
            Both priceless and fragile? Precious china was broken.
            The glass dragon they purchased in Hong Kong for their honeymoon
            Cracked and split into two. Wine bottles my father once bought
            In his scheme to intoxicate my mom with before making slow love
            Fell from the shelves and shattered. Even the emerald Buddha
            They got from China on their first anniversary was beheaded
            When it crashed on the floor. And the floor, being cheap marble,
            Cracked, too. Finally, when my dad was tired of the whole feline
            Fiasco, he opened the door to let the cat out. And now my mom
            Was disappointed. In a desperate ploy to attract the cat, she gets
            A plate of milk and puts it out on the doormat, wallowing in tears
            And wanton with tact. My dad, on the other hand, retreats, retracts,
            Regresses, goes back to the bedroom to slack and take a nap.
            My mom, outside, all teary-eyed and tired, sits on the tiles of the step
            And shuts her sight, and in her sleep dreamed of a faraway land,
            An unknown place where a hand is never heavy, cats never few,
            Where cooking is never greasy, where love is shared without need
            Of domesticity. Think of the drool dripping down in her daze.
            Imagine the smile adorning her face.
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