by Michelle Jeanne C. Caracut, OPI
The multi-awarded poet and author Dr. German V. Gervacio wins first prize in the Filipino Poetry Written for Children category of the 2016 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards. This is the fourth time that the professor in Filipino won the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. In 1994, his poetry collection “Huling Hirit ni San Jose at Iba Pang Tula” won second prize. In 1998, his short story for children “Si Tanya ang Uwak na Gustong Pumuti” won first prize. His short story “Sinsil Boys” was adjudged first prize in 1999.
This year, his winning entry entitled “Ang Totoo Raya, Ang Buwan ay Itlog ng Butiki” is a 10-poem collection written for children. The poems center on the theme of basic values and things children need to know. His source of inspiration for this poetry is his only daughter, Khalila Haraya, whom the speaker of the poems is addressing to.
An avid player of basketball, Gervacio started writing in 1989 and published his first poem at the age of 21. His other works include a novella “Hari Manawari”, a storybook entitled “Si Tanya, Ang Uwak na Gustong Pumuti”, and a book of riddles “101 Bugtong na Hindi Alam ng Titser Mo”.
When asked what his advice was to those who would go into creative writing, he said, “huwag nilang targetin yung award-award. Siguro, susunod na yon. Lumubog muna sila sa literature. Dapat magustuhan nila ang pagbabasa at makita nila ‘yong nakikita nung writers sa literature tapos mainspire sila sa binabasa nila.
He cheerfully added that in the primary stages of writing, one usually patterns with the writing style of other writers until one discovers his or her voice and his or her own style.
“Gumagawa ka ng paraan para mapaiba sa karamihan at huwag matakot na hindi ma-appreciate sa mga unang magbabasa,” he concluded.
The 4-time HomeLife Magazine National Poetry Competition Awardee is a faculty member of the Department of Filipino and Other Languages, CASS, and is a resident panelist of the Iligan National Writers Workshop.