To continue with our previous column’s list of fresh literary publications in the face of our lengthy lockdown, here are more titles that have been rising to the challenge of the times.
We start off with women’s writing, here exemplified by four new publications, most available online, but also promising hardcopy editions.
KUMUSTA KAYO? Narratives of Peasant Women in the Pandemic is produced by #RuralWomenAdvocates, Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, and Gantala Press. It was launched online on June 10. Women mostly from the farming sector of Regions 2 to 7 wrote their experiences during the lockdown. Cover art is by Marc Cosico of the Philippine High School for the Arts.
The PDF version will be available to donors of P200 or more to @amihan.peasant_women in support of its projects. Currently, Amihan is still raising funds for peasant families in Samar struggling to recover from Typhoon Ambo. Queries may be sent to [email protected].
Dapitan 2020: Ina was published via issuu.com and launched online last Mothers’ Day. The selection, introduction and final coordination were done during lockdown by guest editors Beverly Wico Siy and Dr. Joselito delos Reyes and the publication staff of The Flame, the student publication of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Santo Tomas.
This year, the theme is Ina, focusing “on narratives involving the mother — the multi-faceted and complicated figure who has brought on the existence of humanity and how her role has continued to evolve over time.”
The Dapitan 2020: Ina can be viewed anytime for free at https://issuu.com/abtheflame/docs/ina_ver4_pgs/4?fbclid=IwAR145ChBZX66jOi0Llece3hp2KWIaSn38sCcnbHDIbBamsBvncH5LF1UEo4
King Ina Corona: Panulat ng Kababaihan sa Gitna ng Pandemya is a collection produced by Filipina writers Sabado, Villalon, Cruz, Espino, Ishtar, Vasquez, Fajilagutan, Riddle, Gana, Lim, Salvador and Marbella. Containing poetry and prose in Filipino and English, it was launched last April 30 on Facebook, via https://www.facebook.com/KingInaCorona/photos/a 113360287021029/113375127019545/?type=3&theater
Here’s a sample poem from the anthology, by Vxyz Vasquez, titled “A Draft”:
“We walk for the first time in weeks together / the first in your brief stay without anybody / to say hi to // The lights in most houses are on; some street / lamps flicker with the belief that energy / passed on makes them go out // No people audible except for livestreams / of a president-ramble and we are checking / the dark corners of the village // for unusual stirrings. There’s nothing there / except for the things we make up, shadows / you think are monsters // as you cycle away from me and your dad / to go back inside our house—I wonder / should we run after you // and urge you not to come back out / to look at how much closer than yesterday / to us the moon has become.”
Both The Dapitan 2020: Ina and King Ina Corona are due to be printed as hardcopy editions any time soon.
Meanwhile, Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon has just released her second collection of short stories in English, titled Lies All Lies. Written in the past five years, the 11 short stories follow up on her similarly indie-published first collection, People in Panic, which merited a highly favorable review in this space.
The book’s back cover titillates with the info that four of the stories deal with the following: “Deceased senator Raul Roco rises from the dead to join the latest presidential debates; The mechanic behind the Iglesia ni Cristo’s rocketship church has a lapse of faith; Same-day edit videos legally replace wedding ceremonies; A woman suspects a psychic connection between her puppy and Rodrigo Duterte.”
The author offers a special early bird discount from July 8 to July 17, via https://forms.gle/YX7McV9j2JqzQE6DA
The new collection sells for P350, or bundled with People in Panic, at P500. Since she’s a one-woman team, she says that “processing may not be super quick, but I promise to do my best!”
Other, mostly online releases, include the following:
Pride Folio: Tahanan sa Ilalim ng Bahaghari, a special issue from Malate Literary Folio, together with DLSU USG, DLSU CSO, DLSU CSG, and Center For Social Concern and Action — COSCA (COSCA-LOVE). “Ang Pride Folio ay isang maikling koleksyon ng sining at literatura upang ipagdiwang ang buwan ng pagmamahal ng kung sinuman at ipaglaban ang diskriminasyon mula sa kahit anong kulay at sekswalidad.”
It had an online launching on June 24. Contents may be read anytime at https://issuu.com/malatelitfolio/docs/tahanansailalimngbahaghari?fbclid=IwAR0th1ELTKdNtreodYC_XoSk0Byodexi1-mQixgkEtqqM5nps7jwRH745oY
Malate Literary Folio also has TOMO XXXVI Bilang 1. “Sa isyu na ito mula sa De La Salle University Manila, magbalik-tanaw tayo sa ating mga pinanggalingan. Maisip natin kung tayo’y nabigyan ng espasyo para magbago, o nakulong tayo sa lumang prinsipyo. Sana’y matagpuan ang mga bagay na nakalimutan sa mga tula, prosa, sining, at retrato sa folio na ito. At sa huli’y— matutuklasan na ang kinalakihan. Sarili’y makikilala, mababalik-balikan.”
Launched online on July 4, its contents may be viewed at https://issuu.com/malatelitfolio/docs/mlf_tomoxxxvi_bilang1?fbclid=IwAR1VJDGLCFJ4O7h5ysjl5MpMrIRUhZ06LTMPv38lYZDGltMBM_4PuPnU96I
Four issues of the Kasingkasing Press’ Nonrequired Reading in the time of COVID-19: Alternative Digital Poetry Magazine were brought out recently, with Ferdinand Pisigan Jarin as guest editor. The magazine is “committed to inspire writers, especially the community, to write local narratives related to the COVID-19 pandemic; all of the issues contain poetry, fiction, artwork and essays.”
These may be viewed at https://drive.google.com/…/1OJe0QNXGLHoZT8Fb1QaEigXg4…/view…
Writers from the Western Visayas are highlighted in this West Visayan Literary Digital Content: Issue No. 1 (https://drive.google.com/… /1BQSUrHHApTE04OxNNfc0ri9bnTzBgFHK);
Lastly, we just had word from our friend Abdon Balde, Jr. that he has released his second ebook, Sa Checkpoint ni San Pedro — a new collection of 40 KISLAP (Kuwentong ISang igLap) in the time of coronavirus. JR Abdon Balde is expected to announce details on his Facebook page.