At last! I finally hooked up with Filipino poets, thanks to fellow blogger and now, friend, poet Jardine Davies in last night's general assembly and poetry reading at juliano's. Of course, I do have my own writing group and I'm proud of them, but none of them could speak my language, read as "my soul" for they are either Americans or Canadians. Why shouldn't I be proud of my original poet friends when it was through their patient tutelage and proddings that I discovered I can understand, feel and breathe poetry! Most of all, it was through them that I first realized that the internet is not composed of cold geeks but of people who care.
When my American friends got word that I was going to Canada to visit my best friend, Arlene, owner of this ezine, they immediately packed their bags, got on the next plane to Vancouver and came to meet with me. How can I ever forget my meeting with Tom Spencer and his wife Kathy, Karli Shanklin and her Fil-Am hubby Alfredo, Molly Critchlow and Canadians from Manitoba, Glennis and Harry Hobbs? It was truly a joyous one week celebration that got Arlene so inspired, she prepared an off-season Thanksgiving party in May right after we had given a poetry reading at Serendipity room to some 14 walk-in guests.
So, you might think that last night was nothing new to me, right? Wrong! I have never come close to a real Filipino poet except those who had been my professors in graduate school. So, you see, my impression of Filipino writers are super "laiteros" who would have nothing good to see in my work, (should I gather enough guts to show it to them), throw it to the ground and stomp on it to tiny, little pieces before tossing it to the garbage can. And I wasn't even studying to be a writer under them, mind you. I was trying to learn literature! How I got the idea of enrolling in a language and literature masters program after ten years or so of having graduated from Fine Arts is beyond me.
I don't know but I have this feeling that Filipinos, much more artists, are very very hard to please. It's like, "uhm, I bet you, their pee is a lot higher and farther than mine" and believe me, with men, it's always about who can pee the highest and the farthest... Who has bigger balls, uhm, better yet, whose got the biggest peter around!!! Well, the General Assembly for "pinoy poets" and the first poetry reading was set and I said to myself, I better do this or forget about poetry. My only consolation was that Jardine will be there and I knew the guest poet, Sid Gomez Hlldawa, a poet and painter par excellance. I have worked with him before when he was curating Kulay Diwa and I had my students exhibit their best works there.
So, while I was on my way to Shangri-la mall, the agreed meeting place, I was kind of a nervous wreck not knowing what to expect once I'm in front of all these young, very talented, word weavers. (peeps, that's a term I borrowed from writersvillage before plagiarists get the wrong idea that it's okay to just borrow words and/or ideas without acknowledging where they were taken from) Once I got to the place and as soon as I shook the hand of the first guy introduced to me, I knew I was home. All my fears vanished for none of them fit my stereotype of a writer. They had smiles all the way to their ears and not even one of them was a snob.
The poetry reading was a success. Gee, I was even asked to read a Tagalog poem by a very beautiful, young poet by the name of Kathline Tolosan and even got to jam and play some blues with Jardine, and two others who I wouldn't dare identify at this time lest I commit a mistake. Should I say I enjoyed myself, having stayed until two in the morning? So, if there are any poets out there lurking in silence, why not check us out? You can access the site here!