14 February 2009

Manila Times column for 15 February 2009: "The Literature of Love"

original post here.

siyempre may konting subtle promo dapat ito, pero i omitted it. i wanted to say na one of my short stories appeared in the Sawi anthology, pero dedma na hehe.

happy valentine's, kung uso sa inyo yun!


By Libay Linsangan Cantor
The literature of love

Whether you were loveless or full of love this Valentine’s Day/season, may I suggest curling up (alone or with someone) and picking out a good book about love by Filipino authors? It’s a nice way to spend quality time with those you love—your significant other, or yourself.

So many literary anthologies have celebrated love and all its different permutations. In the local scene alone, there have been books on love like an anthology on different kinds of relationships, several about gay love (the popular Ladlad series edited by Danton Remoto and J. Neil Garcia), even a collection of poetry that celebrated children’s love for their fathers. Thus, one couldn’t say we Filipino authors don’t have our contributions to the world of love. We write about love a lot, trust me.

But what’s amusing is that there have also been several anthologies dealing with the loss of love—heartbreak. There are two exciting collections of heartbreak literature in the bookstores today, one is from Cozy Reads Publishing entitled Heartbreak (with the intriguing subtitle “Stories That Will Stay With You Longer Than Your Ex Did”) edited by UP creative writing graduate Ma. Celeste Flores-Coscolluela and the other is called Sawi: Funny Essays, Stories and Poems on All Kinds of Heartbreaks edited by Ateneo de Manila University professors Ada Loredo, BJ A. Patino and Rica Bolipata Santos, published by Milflores Publishing. While Heartbreak limited itself to ten short stories, Sawi expanded its collection to include not just short stories but also essays/creative nonfiction and poems. Heartbreak writers include Faye Ilogon and Carljoe Javier while Sawi writers include a veritable mix of veteran and upcoming writers like Gemino Abad, Nikki Alfar, Cesar Aquino, Pearlsha Abubakar, Ian Rosales Casocot, Bernice Roldan, Apol Lejano and Elyrah Salanga, to name but a few.

Individual authors have also been writing about love and/or heartbreak in their own collections. During this recent Valentine season, I revisited one of my favorite collections of all time entitled Kung Di Man: Mga Tula Ng Pag-ibig 1970-1992 by Elynia Mabanglo. Now based in Hawaii, USA, Mabanglo’s poetry continues to captivate readers who have been rediscovering her lately. This collection shows her great command of the Filipino language, demonstrating how lyrical and beautiful our language is, especially when it speaks of love. This book contains her famous poem “Kung Ibig Mo Akong Makilala” which was also turned into a song by the great Susan Fernandez.

Love has always fueled writers to immortalize feelings into odes, paeans and stories. Sometimes, in order to write, all you need is love, to quote the Beatles.

Comments? Suggestions? E-mail libay.scribevibe@gmail.com.

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