Answering The Question: Why Read Poems?

Well I will not spead the whole post making excuses on why I’m 30 minutes late for this afternoon event at the Lopez Museum and Library. So I might as well go to the nitty gritty of things.
The event entitled “Why Read Poems?” was held last November 16, 2013, 4 of the foremost comtemporary poets were invited to read their favorite poems and answer the question: Why read poems?” The poets who took turns in reading, explaining and most importantly captivating us . The four poets are Mark Anthony Cayaman, Adam David, Allan Popa and Vincenz Serrano. Their works are published by High Chair, a non-profit small press that promotes poetry in the Phlippines. The libarary filled with paintings and books added an intimate backdrop for the talk.

First to go into the fray is Mark Anthony Cayaman which of course I missed half of his talk. Still having a hangover with my Komikon adventure, I wasn’t able to dig in of what he just said. So lets jump over to the next poet 🙂

Next was Adam David, wearing something out of a North Face ad, but still this man has some heavy stuff to say. He shows us his favorite book “Waking Ice” by Ricardo de Mungria, a collection of poems for his deceased son. So David’s topic is writing poetry in response to a tragedy. He told us that in writing this kind of poetry we should avoid emotional blackmailing the readers. With the recent Tyhoon Yolanda calamity, floods of poems came rushing to different social media about the tragedy. Some are good but the notables are the bad ones. He points at that we should steer away from this err thats stains the art form that in the process betraying our readers.

Third in the list and my favorite is Allan Popa. He prefered to sit down and introduced us to a book by Belinda Santos “Pali-Palitong Posporo.” He read his favorite poems on that collection which made us smile. He then brought out his commentary on the book and his take on the why we should ream poems. He titled it “Distancia Amigos”. He told us, as he reads the essay that, even if a poem reveals certain things their is still a gap between understanding and not understanding it. Poetry has self control and has boundaries that only the author knows. He compares it with the donut, which someone may consume but not the empty circle part which goes to the poet. He adds thats knowing the poem in the process and fuels the curiosity of the reader. Wow we are floored by this man.


The last to talk was Vincenz Serrano who shared with us his love for Joseph Lacaba’s “The Annotated Catechism”. This poem was released during the Martial Law 1st Quarter Storm. Lacaba’s work is a response to that event. As the title suggest its the annotation or sort of comment on a catechism (a religious Q & A book). The bizarre thing is the annotations which contain reference from pop culture and society that are juxtaposed on the suppose content of the cathecism (or maybe the author is on drugs or something). Serrano wants us to appreciate writing forms montage and collage through the eyes of Lacaba by disecting some lines from the poem. In the end, what we consider a LSD trip of the poet turns into a relevant and important message to the Martial Law era.

If you ask me why read poems well its simple. Its another way to express yourself and what you are trying to express has soul. Its has depth.

Do I have a taste for poems? Well I like poets like Pablo Neruda, Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Frost (I have his book). I have two Dovers book on poems. So this event truly add some appreciation to the art form. Also when I hear poetry or poems as a Christian it reminds me of the Song of Solomon the Bible, John Milton’s epic poem “Paradise Lost” and John Piper’s poems.

Before I head home I indulge myself with the complimentary hot coffee and checked out the Trajectories exhibit.

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