2nd Davao Writers Workshop begins

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 April) – This city was bursting at the literary seams when writing luminaries gathered on Monday May 3 at the Lispher Inn to kick off the 2nd Davao Writers Workshop.

The panelists for this year include award-winning wordsmiths Ricardo de Ungria, Macario Tiu, Timothy Montes, and Anthony Tan. Rounding out the panel are veteran writer Satur Apoyon and UP Mindanao professor Genevieve Quintero. Other writers in attendance were Josie Tejada, Manuela Marfori, Arnel Mardoquio, Maria Morales, Rene Estremera and this writer.

Tony Tan in his keynote address discussed tension in poetry as found in tone and structure.

And tension may well have been the morning’s theme as twelve young poets, fictionists, essayists and a playwright were initiated into the world of workshopping.

The 2010 fellows are Ella Ismael, Freeda Ko, Freidreich Layno, Erika Navaja, Arvin Ortiz, James Pascual, Seneca Pellano, Reymond Pepito, (Davao), Gino Dolorzo, Jayson Parba (Cagayan de Oro), Hiyasmin Espejo (General Santos), and Iryne Kaamino (Ozamiz City).

Tan himself seemed like a bundle of nerves, chuckling that he would have backed out from his talk had he known that Tita Lacambra-Ayala and Aida Rivera Ford would be present to listen to him.

Ricky de Ungria, the Davao Writers Guild president, in his welcome remarks offered the fellows some comfort by telling them not to take the comments they will receive personally or deeply. Instead, he said they should come out of the workshop more enlightened, having learned from the criticism of the panelists and co-fellows.

De Ungria proffered further encouragement by volunteering to assist them in setting up their own writing guilds once they get back home. As the chair of the Commission on Literary Arts he added that the National Commission on Culture and the Arts is willing to lend financial support to those who seek it.

Also in attendance to greet the writing fellows was University of the Philippines Mindanao Chancellor Dr. Gilda Rivero. A biologist by profession, she revealed that one of her daughters was a creative writing major, giving credence to her drawing a parallelism between the literary arts and the sciences. She said that while the writer and the scientist work with different tools—one with words and the other with equations—both are on a quest to understand reality.

The workshop will plumb the reality of writing creatively for five days, with each day starting off with a panelist’s lecture on craft.

The culminating night on May 7 will have the fellows present reading performances of their works. Fittingly, the entire workshop—co-sponsored by the DWG, UPMin, and NCCA—will be concluded with a launching of the reprint of Davao Harvest 1, the original anthology of Davao writers edited by Lacambra-Ayala and the late Alfrredo Navarro Salanga. (Bj A. Patiño/MindaNews)