DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Feb) – Award-winning poet, writer, artist and professor Ricardo de Ungria was among a number of Mindanawon poets who joined the poetry reading during the opening of the 1st Mindanao Book Festival at the Ateneo de Davao University on Wednesday.
Another award-winning poet Tita Lacambra-Ayala, who chose to be in the audience, likewise graced the poetry reading event that talked on the theme “Writing Mindanao, Righting Mindanao.”
Organized by the Mindanao News and Information Center Service Cooperative (MindaNews Co-Op) in partnership with the Ateneo de Davao University Department of Literature and Arts, the poetry reading was part of the two-day 1st Mindanao Book Festival held in the same venue.
De Ungria, a six-time Palanca awardee and nine-time National Book Award recipient, read three poems – “Tools of the Trade”, “Peace on Paper” and “Flag”. De Ungria first received his Palanca award for the poem entitled “Boxes” in 1974.
Another Mindanawon writer, Dominique “Dom” Cimafranca, welcomed the gathering with a message of caution about the appreciation of today’s generation on the power of the word.
The theme of the festival, he said, is “important in light of globalization where there is undue focus to economics…. It is not that this is not important… but (this) should not (be) at the expense of our soul – of who we are, what we are.”
Cimafranca emphasized on the theme’s essence that “writing and righting” Mindanao is about “understanding ourselves” as it is also about “poetry” that “takes us to the roots of who we are.”
Young Davao poet Karen Mae Dicdican of ADDU started the reading with her poems “Fragments” and “I”.
This was followed by Davao poet Neil Cervantes who read his poem with background music, which he termed as “Kuntaw”. Cervantes’s poetry is angst-filled on society’s ills, including poverty and the continuing saga for peace in the country and Mindanao with titles “Walang Kapayapaan dahil Gutom ang Bayan” and “Ganitong Nabubuhay tayo sa Dilim”.
Cervantes said such “new” style of poetry reading accompanied with music is meant to add texture to the poem and add more emotion to the poet as he reads his piece.
Other poets and their poems who joined the event were Paolo Andeo Sandalo and Kuntaw with “Home”; Noy Narciso with “Kape” and “Terminal” and another piece; Michael Angelo Marquez with “Impyerno nga Hardin” and “Ang Katapusang Bakho sa Makililimos”; B.J. Patiño, “Ninth Day”; Maria Morales, “Para Kay A” and “A Thursday Morning”; and Jhoanna Lynn Cruz, “Leavings”.
Narciso’s piece on “Kape,” accompanied with acoustic guitar, received a resounding applause from the audience apparently because of the humor injected on the poem.
The ADDU “Carillon” Glee Club performed an intermission number preceded by a rendition of Joey Ayala’s “Walang Hanggang Paalam” by Arjay Viray.