Alfred Yuson Essays About Education

Kibitzer

If nothing else, he was a superb arranger of other men’s flowers.
                                     —Gore Vidal, of Michel de Montaigne

It wasn’t as if he made it a habit
looking over other manly shoulders.
     Dandruff couldn’t repel him.
Not whiff of chess, musk or cologne.
Sometimes the brutes even stank
of patchouli, lotused in peace
under black lights, fingers grooved
to an impossibly cheery victory
they thought was theirs to share.
     He didn’t mind the roguish
quality of personnel, gifts, abilities.
Nor when they drank and raised guttural
voices to defend philosophy or rumor.
     What appalled him were the uncommon
crimes: connoisseurship of whisky,
ministry of poker, genius in the manner
of whipping up corned beef.
Whether they stood tall on beaches
or slurred their speech towards home
in daily cities of deference—
     oh they seemed to be alert
     to the rather vague distinctions—
he didn’t think them gross or sad
or lonely as they really were,
before the quiet sleep of children
or the mindful snore of spouses.
     His radar read them princely
when they bowed to smell their labor.
Or knelt before the idle names they gave
whatever they picked, or grew,
or cultivated. The way their mothers
taught them to say grace, drive a car,
find a mate, religiously water.

The Homebody Goes on Tour

Each day I think of how you receive
my postcards, sons and daughter.
The way they’re read to you, by kin
or help, matters much. They’ll fail
to feign or attach the tremolo I assume
in this cafe or that, after the awed
regard of marvel: sheer cliffs, drops,
the azure of ancient sea, monument
in ochre, sand-sprayed, eroded,
mysterious, grand, breathtaking,
leaning, recently unveiled.

How relate a kill in the long-pursued
checklist of dreams? How share extravaganza
that began with boyhood’s will? Not wish,
mind you, but certainty, a matter of time.
Before shores were breached and souvenir
photos sent back a week or so (fingers crossed)
into the impossibly importunate, wistfully bereaved,
laughing-like-destiny’s, cave. I had hoped
it were by torchlight or bonfire (with ’mallows)
that y’all would see the pictures. I
miss you like anything.

Still, a mission to fulfill, this.
Warm up points of known compass until
sons and daughter, with possible lovers,
y’all, take leave of first sentiment
and find another & others. Send new
stamps to avenge all distances. in time
past and lengthening—longitudes between
us when you cried for better translation
and I wished the same.

In the sacred name of home and the mango
tree we skipped about before the tour began,
I wished and wish the same.

PRESS RELEASE: For his 2017 Adrian Cristobal Lecture, award-winning writer Alfred 'Krip' Yuson proposes to reflect on the changing modes of genre writing in the age of social media

This is a press release from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas.

MANILA, Philippines – Award-winning writer and columnist Alfred “Krip” Yuson will deliver the 2017 Adrian Cristobal Lecture, which will be held on Monday, February 20, at 2 pm, at Function Room 1, AIM Conference Center Manila, JV del Rosario Building, Benavidez corner Trasierra streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City. His lecture is entitled "Evolving Genres of the Written Word: ‘Fake News Fiction’ and the Like(s)."

The Adrian E. Cristobal Lecture Series was established by the Cristobal family, in collaboration with the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas or the Writers’ Union of the Philippines. It aims to honor the intellectual legacy of the late renowned writer and former Umpil chairperson whose name the series carries.

In this annual event, a Filipino public intellectual delivers a keynote speech on a topic related to a current socio-political condition in the country or a cultural development. The past lecturers include Gemino Abad (2011), National Artist Virgilio Almario (2012), Resil Mojares (2013), Reynaldo Ileto (2014), Solita Monsod (2015), and Marites D. Vitug (2016).

Yuson proposes to reflect on the changing modes of genre writing in the age of social media. The summary of his lecture states that "it will be in/an appreciation of the global pivot to a curiously novel inclusion among the genres of writing. While it started with a fringe kind of journalism – blogs and trolling on social media – the initially questionable purveyance of fake or false news has seeped into established tri-media, with prominent personalities, mostly related to politics, spewing mind-toggling conundrums or seemingly oxymoronic terms such as 'alternative facts, post-truth, default narrative, and creative interpretation.' These are now the syndromes that stupefy us who are worshipful of the word, written or expressed in any which way.”

Yuson has authored 28 books thus far, including novels, poetry collections, short fiction, essays, children’s stories, biographies, and coffee-table books, apart from having edited various titles that include several literary anthologies.

He has gained numerous distinctions, including the 2009 Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas from Umpil, the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan award from the City of Manila, and the SEAWrite (SouthEast Asian Writers) Award for lifetime achievement. He has also been elevated to the Hall of Fame of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. His poetry and prose have been translated into 10 languages. He co-founded the Philippine Literary Arts Council, the Creative Writing Foundation, Inc. (CWF), and Manila Critics Circle, and served as chairman of Umpil.

He has taught fiction and poetry at the Ateneo de Manila University, where he held the Henry Lee Irwin Professorial Chair. He serves as Philippines editor for MANOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, published by the University of Hawaii. He contributes a weekly arts and culture column to The Philippine Star and a monthly column to Illustrado magazine published in Dubai.

This event is open to the public. Admission is free. For more details, please contact John Iremil Teodoro, Umpil secretary general, at 09158834917 or email: jieteodoro@gmail.com or Michael Coroza, Umpil president at mcoroza@ateneo.edu. – Rappler.com

Published 9:12 PM, February 09, 2017

Updated 9:27 PM, February 09, 2017

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