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Poetry connects, educates people, says Fil-Am poet

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Photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO

ASPIRING POETS must use poetry as an instrument to link people with one another and expand the connection of the “inseparable” concepts of politics and history, an award-winning Filipino-American poet told Thomasians in a lecture held April 27.

“Poetry can, at the very least, be an essential thing that tries to mend a broken core which connects us all,” Eugene Gloria said during Isang Bala(k) Ka Lang: Some Notes on the Anecdotal Writing Workshop.

“I believe poetry can function as a tool to help examine who we are in relation to our violent nature as well as our human failings, although art and poetry cannot be that bold work against our difficult and dangerous world,” he added.

Rather than using direct statement, employing narratives, restraint, application, and suggestion in poetry may better help readers to understand actual incidents of daily struggles, the poet argued. “I value poetry that really tries to engage me intellectually and not just sort of emotionally.”

Gloria, whose written works explored the parameters of his dual cultural history as an Asian-American, reminded the students of the value of reading for poets.

“The more you read, the more sophisticated you become. It develops your taste in poetry, and that evolves, that grows,” he said. “We, poets, continue to soldier through in order to transform ourselves with discoveries we make along the way and maybe transform the unsuspecting readers as well.”

Gloria is currently at the University on a Fulbright grant and is a senior visiting fellow at the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS), teaching poetry at the UST Graduate School. He is a professor of creative writing at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.

He has published three poetry collections namely Drivers at the Short-Time Motel (1999), Hoodlum Birds (2006), and My Favorite Warlord (2012) and has received awards including the Asian American Literary Award, Poetry Society of America Award, Pushcart Prize, 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and George Bogin Memorial Award.

The lecture, held at the Tanghalang Teresita Aquino, Benavides Building, was part of the International Writers and Scholars Series, a program by the CCWLS in cooperation with the UST Research Center for Culture, Arts, and Humanities. ANGELIQUE ANNE F. TORRES

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