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No. 21 • Contributors

Myrna Peña-Reyes, author of the poetry collection, The River Singing Stone (Anvil 1994), teacher of literature, and one of our finest poets in English, is a native of Cagayan de Oro and Dumaguete City (where her family moved after the Second World War). She continues to teach at Silliman University and sits at the panel of its famous workshop, after she had been requested to teach again when she returned from the United States a few years ago. Myrna holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon where she met her husband, poet William “Bill” T. Sweet. She taught college in Eugene for several years, operated a bookshop, and wrote her poetry, before coming home with Bill to Dumaguete for good. From there she sends us her austere lines, almost wry in their eloquence, poems which Marjorie Evasco describes as having “perfect tone and pitch [which] always gives me the shiver of truth.”

Jose Marte A. Abueg’s collection "Bird Lands, River Nights and Other Melancholies" won for him the Grand Prize in Gawad Likhaan: The University of the Philippines Centennial Award, for poetry in English. His other literary awards include the Palancas for fiction and the Philippines Free Press award for poetry. He has been published in the Ani literary annual of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philippines Free Press, Sunday Times Magazine, and the website A Critical Survey of Philippine Literature, among others. Mart is a longtime journalist and editor, currently the managing editor of INQUIRER.net and overall editor in charge of the INQUIRER.net Money website. He has been editor at different Philippine publications and Philippine correspondent of foreign publications, including The Australian Financial Review and Asian Business magazine. In the corporate sector, he served as an executive at AsianBank Corporation and the PHINMA Group.

Chanelle Jieyong Kim will receive a gold medal for outstanding thesis in literature when she graduates on February 9, 2009 at De La Salle University. The thesis is titled “The Poetry of Gustatory Desires: Writing Poetry about Food,” and her teacher Marjorie Evasco calls Chanelle’s translation of her own work as “transcreations,” which she does with flying colors, we think. According to Chanelle’s notes, our friend Marjorie writes, “soju is a Korean liquor made from potatoes; miyeok-guk is sea mustard soup, and sanjeok is beef and vegetables grilled on skewers. And sijo is a traditional poetry form (similar in exactness to the haiku) of Korea.” Delicious!

Victor Peñaranda writes us, “Pare, I realized that I have a poem written after an experience at the rear open gallery of the National Musuem in Bangkok. There's an enclosed garden in this part of the museum. I sat down on a bench. In front of me were colossal heads of statues resting on top of pedestals. According to the inscriptions beneath the display, these heads belonged to much larger statues guarding a Buddhist temple. No one knows which temple they come from. No one knows if a conquering army or a band of thieves separated them from their bodies. I was resting but was also gazing at these statues for a long while. I wrote some notes that evolved into a poem. The poem must have been written in 2002 or 2003; retouched it several times along the way. It's still unpublished. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera to somehow capture the ancient artworks at that moment.” We found the Brancusi at the Moma.

Kristian Cordero is about the most awarded Bikol poet writing today, and he writes both in Filipino and the Bikol language. “Kitang Ipinangidam sa Kasâlan / We who were Conceived in Sin” is part of the collection “Segunda Mano” (Second Hand) which won for him the 2008 National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Writers Prize for Poetry. A literature teacher at the Ateneo de Naga University, Kristian is one of the young poets leading the renaissance in Bikol writing and realizing its possibilities in reflecting a modern consciousness. The author of three award-winning books of poetry, he has attended the University of the Philippines National Writers Workshop and has won the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards and the Premio Tomas Arejola for Bikol Literature, among many others.

Mark Bagain Schwab has a German last name, a language that by no means can he speak, he write us. He is a twenty-seven year old Filipino who has not yet chosen to live or work abroad. He has momentarily (and maybe permanently) retired from designing websites and laying out magazines but not from taking pictures. He is also a fellow of this year’s LIRA (Linangan sa Retorika, Imahen at Arte) poetry workshop, where poets learn all the Filipino and foreign verse forms before they are allowed to experiment with “loose” poetry. Soon, Mark writes, he will flee the metropolis to find some peace in his hometown of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, where he plans to write his first collection of poems.

Rodolfo "Rod" Samonte is one of our leading names in the arts, a painter, printmaker, photographer, and digital artist. A longtime resident of Burbank, California, migrating after he had well established his name in Manila, Rod has shown his work in 19 solo exhibitions and numerous group shows in the Philippines, the U.S., Europe, and South America. A fellow member of the e-group Banggaan, of artists, photographers, writers, and musicians exchanging interactive art and gossip both serious and hilarious, he tells me to "use" any of his works anytime for this ezine, a generous offer considering the value of his art. The critic Alice Guillermo, writing about one of Rod's exhibits of his digital creations, remarks about the "new technologies... stunningly displayed," where "he is only proving his excellence in his employment of the new digital language."

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"No. 21 • Contributors" was posted by: Our Small Family blogs, under category POET'SPICTUREBOOK and permalinks http://our-small-family.blogspot.com/2008/11/no-21-contributors.html. Ratings: 1010 Votings: 97,687, Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 4:51 AM.


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