Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Literature is the people’s collective masterpiece, their imprimatur.

Philippine Literature Today by AV Rotor and KM Doria, C and E Publication 2014
Literature is the mouthpiece through which the people narrate their stories from one generation to another.  It is also an agent of change, never submissive to the whims of history; it is a pathfinder, a sailing vessel which ushers the "tides of change."
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
About the Cover

The concept of literature by the artist* is viewed from classic-tradition to post-modern movement, which spans over a long period and vast undefined area. It leads to the question, “What is literature today – Philippine literature to be specific?”

Literature, akin to the definition of good government, is of, for and by the people. As a binding force of a culture, literature is about people, their history, their beliefs and ideas.

Literature is the mouthpiece of the people that carries their stories alive and beautiful from generation to generation. It is the people’s collective masterpiece, their imprimatur. Literature is agent of change, never passive, never submissive; it is a pathfinder, a sailing vessel that brings in “the promise of the tides.”

The artist’s idea is in seeing Rizal alive today through his ideals bearing fruits in a free world, Lola Basyang keeping children happy like in his time with mythology’s eternal magic, Balagtas in a new Renaissance in cinemas and the Internet, and Leona Florentino, the muse of Philippine literature as the keeper of the “literary flame.”

- Leo Carlo Rojas Rotor, BSFA-ID (UST), MIT (AdMU),

Three words for a book title, Philippine Literature Today,
The essence of three elements: space, subject and time;
Yet subjective and elusive to the critical eye and mind   
But courageous at the frontline, gentle over our clime.

What is literature to the old is also that to the young;
Bridge of generations, continuum of race and culture;
Heroes of old, heroes of new, and those awaiting, too,
Living book, not archive or litany, to love and treasure.    

Dawn the prelude to sunrise, brings in a new sentinel,
New to the learned, to the unlearned, to the new born,
Sunset not the end of day and coming peace of night;
But rage, for to settle down is sin when the flag is torn.

Wonder the sun rising late and dying young in smog;
Wonder a high rise cast its shadow to hide a  shanty;
Wonder ostentatious shows, courtesy of the needy;
Wonder literature thriving on romantic dichotomy.   

Icons, masters, the pedestal too crowded for a few;
Names branded by fraternity, laurel or olive wreath;
Vanity and fancy, in language beautiful in the clouds,
Cordon sanitaire that wisdom is barred to bequeath. 

While the world moves on by leaps from a small step,
In quantum of knowledge beyond the brain can hold;
Cyberspace the blackboard that was, now unlimited,
Makes the old torch a lightning bolt its power untold.   

Literature its profile from Baby TV to Disney to HBO
Its domain epics and tales to history, science and ad;
Access on the palm and wrist, biometrics and robotics;
Quo vadis literatura? The canons are now old and sad.

Talk about Black Death, talk about Ebola, both dreaded;
Angels and astronauts; about Noah’s flood and Yolanda;
Tenants in the field and condominiums they don’t own;
Man-made islands and deserts, the mall and talipapa.

No part truly speaks of the whole, comprehensive it may,
For literature defies science; unlike happiness multiplies
When divided in the magic of synergy and imagination
Above reason like rainbow that often comes in disguise.

Pathfinders at the heels of the world’s men of letters,    
Universal truth in Rizal, genius put to test in martyrdom;
Reyes the Lola Basyang, relived fairies and the dwarfs
By the hearth and tamed the giants in faraway kingdom.

The doyen, Leona in Philippine poetry past, preserved
The endangered classics of the west tuned in vernacular;
Balagtas brought on stage Shakespearean drama alive;
Four pillars stand over our literature like shining star.   

To our shores came Aesop, Homer, the Grimm brothers,
Stories from far north and south, and across the globe,
In times war and peace, in colonial days and in liberty;
An invisible hand guided our destiny from the cold.  

What now from millenniums past, in postmodern age -
The atom a ticking bomb, the life’s secret in DNA code?
The world has shrunk into a gadget, now owned by all
At fingertip’s command, at anytime, by young and old.          

The second Big Bang that in cyberspace never sleeps,
Rousing and prodding, intruding, unyielding to our right,
Where computer and literature on busy feet moving,
Like a river of no return, rushing aimlessly in the night.

Humbly this book presents a less trodden way, perhaps nil;
Footsteps it lays ahead on a long journey on the horizon
By pioneers unknown, untested, theirs not of the glory
But courage and joy beating a path to a promising zone.  ~              

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