A literary forum, a Spoken Word Poetry Contest for students, and the turnover of memorabilia of one of Iligan City’s poets have been lined up to celebrate this year’s National Literature Month (NLM) in Iligan City on April 24, 2019.
The literary forum to be held in the MSU-Iligan institute of Technology’s (MSU-IIT) College of Arts & Social Sciences’s Bulwagang Filipino will have lectures by Dr. Raul G. Moldez, a board member and former President of Bathalad Mindanao; Dr. Arlene J. Yandug, a faculty of Xavier University (XU) and Manager of the XU Press; and Dr. Lilia Abregana Cotejar, Chair of the XU English Department, College of Arts & Sciences.
Moldez will speak about the Filipino society and environment of the late Gumercindo Maratas Rafanan’s narratives. Yandug will talk about the poetry of Cebuano poet Adonis Durado in translation, and, Cotejar will tackle women’s pre-colonial identity in novelist Ninotchka Rosca’s “State of War”.
At 2:00 in the afternoon of the same day, a Spoken Word Poetry Contest “Sangka sa Garay” will be held at the MSU-IIT Admin Lawn for MSU-IIT students. Cash prizes and certificates await the winners of the contest which is open to all bonafide students of MSU-IIT.
To cap the NLM celebration, the Iligan City Government through its Ethnic Center and Museum will hold the turnover ceremony of the late Rafanan’s memorabilia consisting of the late poet’s books, other publications, photos and trophies, a rocking chair, a table and a typewriter to the City Museum.
Rafanan was a widely-published poet and fictionist in Bisaya magazine with some of his novels serialized in its Comics section. He has won prizes for his poetry and fiction, among them UMPIL Gawad Balagtas Award, and the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial awards.
The one-day affair is hosted by the Mindanao Creative Writers Group and its Multi-Media Arm, the MSU-IIT Filipino & Other Languages Department, the MSU-IIT Culture and Arts Studies Center, the Iligan City Ethnic Center and Museum and the Iligan City Government.
Dr. Anthony “Tony” Tan, three-time Palanca awardee and former faculty member of MSU-IIT, will launch another book on February 18, 2019 from 8 am to 12 noon, at CASSALIDA Theater of the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS).
The book “Crossing the River (Poems Old and New)” features poems that came from the author’s ruminations of people and events in his life, particularly his childhood in the island of “Muddas”.
The author has reminded readers that once they get to know who is speaking in the poem, or where the narrative is taking place, it is very easy for them to get engaged in what the poem is trying to say. “The initial pleasure,” according to Dr. Tan, “comes from knowing the speaker and the narrative. The deeper pleasure is in seeing the “insight,” that is the meaning of the poem. The highest pleasure is in the appreciation of the manner/the verbal facility/felicity with which this meaning is conveyed.”
Former colleagues in the English Department, Dr. Lerry Valdez and Dr. Rhodora Englis; Dr. Rosario B. Dizon and Asst. Prof. Airen Sajulga, faculty members from the Filipino Department; and Lureva Razuman, a 4th year AB English student, will be reading sample poems from this collection during the day of the launch.
Sir Tony has retired from MSU-IIT after 43 productive years in teaching, but his love and passion for literature lives on. Proof of this is his persistent publication of his anthology of essays, short stories, and poems, as well as the different accolades he has received from local and international giving bodies.
This event is hosted by the Departments of English and Departamento ng Filipino at Ibang Mga Wika (DFIW) of CASS through its lecture series dubbed as DisCASSion, in celebration of the college’s 35th Foundation Anniversary, in partnership with Xavier University Press, the publisher of the book.
Copies of the book are available for sale during the event, and book signing will follow after the program.
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.