Sunday, August 28, 2016

Filipino Literary Giants

Dr Abe V Rotor
This is a memorable photograph of some of our own literary giants: (left to right) the late poet and author of Life Cycles, Sedfrey Ordoñez (Justice Secretary and permanent representative to the United Nations); doyen of Philippine contemporary poetry Ophelia A Dimalanta, Hortencia Santos Sankore, Larry Francisco, and the late national artist and poet Jose Villa.

I have had the opportunity of meeting and working with a number of Filipino writers in the field of communication and literature. Among them was Dr Ophelia Dimalanta, writer in residence and director of the Center for Creative Writing, and also former dean of the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters. As my critic Dr Dimalanta inspired me to write books in poetry, the latest Don't Cut the Trees, Don't, and a forthcoming one, Home Sweet Home with Nature.

Justice Secretary Sedfrey Ordonez used to visit me at the St Paul University Museum where I was faculty curator, and we would write and read poetry together with faculty members and students. He wrote the beautiful foreword of my book, Sunshine in Raindrops.

National artist Jose Villa's style in poetry broke away from the classical-conventional style, like in the field of painting seeking release to impressionism and abstract, a great influence to many writers, I among them.

I also acknowledge the giants in Philippine journalism who were my professors: Ka Doroy Valencia, Dean Jose Lansang, Prof Ernesto Franco, Rodolfo Ragodon, and Amando Doronilla. Special mention to Dean Amando F de Jesus, Dean Magdalena Villaba, and Dr Florentino Hornedo of UST Arts and Letters, and the Graduate School; and Fr James Reuter SJ of the Office of Media Affair. Fr Reuter wrote the inspiring message of my first book in poetry, Light in the Woods.

As a tribute to them, and many others more, I am expressing my deep gratitude to them, and pride as a Filipino. ~

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