Book Ends: Women in and for poetry

AS their ode to the National Women’s Month Celebration last March, the Women in Literary Arts Inc. (Wila) staged a poetry reading last April 10 at the University of the Philippines Cebu. With the theme “Women in March,” which encapsulates the celebration and the idea of moving together as one, the event served as avenue for poets—both women and men—to voice out their views, commentary and musings on the various issues surrounding women.

“There are certain concerns that only women go through, and that we feel only women can speak thoroughly,” shared Wila chairperson Haidee Palapar. The readers were Palapar, Erma Cuizon, Shane Carreon, Desiree Balota, Ernesto Lariosa, Erlinda Alburo, Reginald Quirong, Krizia Lucero, and the group’s neophytes Shiela Pialago and Ushabelle Bongo.

All spoke of varying narratives—from Carreon’s account of a daughter’s letter to her mother back home, to Balota’s take on a woman’s identity. Quirong shared his Cebuano poem, Swerte ang Lalaki, and Palapar tackled religious consciousness with Never Mary.

The event culminated with a short talk by the evening’s guest, American writer Nancy Lueckhof, who read an excerpt from her self-published debut novel, Suluan. Loosely based on a true story that took place in the Philippines in 1937, it is about a young girl’s inspiring tale of survival at sea after a terrible storm. Lueckhof has been based in the Philippines for most of her life, and said that the inspiration for her novel came from an anecdote shared to her by a friend on their way to the island of Suluan itself.

“Women in March” was WILA’s second reading for 2015. It precedes a series of more events including the upcoming launch of their latest anthology of poems titled Femi-nest. Palapar revealed that a coffee table book about the 24-year-old literary group is also in the pipeline, and more school-based activities as they want to reach out to more aspiring writers and promote Cebuano literature among students.
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