The Nymph of MTV by Angelo Suarez

Angelo Suarez was 19 when The Nymph of MTV first came out, the product of a young poet already comfortable with wordplay and surreality and the enviable assurance that what he has to say will be heard. His debut certainly made a splash, garnering praises from the likes of Ophelia Dimalanta (who wrote the foreword for Nymph) and Cirilo Bautista, giants of Filipino poetry–this collection inevitably won a Palanca Award. More than technical brilliance, however, Suarez’s poems exhibit a deep accessibility of feeling and a sensuality that belies any assumption of inexperience.

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Day 16 – Favorite poetry

Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry

Forgive my overzealous quoting, but I simply couldn’t limit myself to naming just one poem. Truth be told, reading an entire poetry collection is something I should do much more these days. But I do consume individual poems quite a lot and here are just five of the many that have resonated with me through the years. I don’t actually own Richard Siken’s Crush, but that is something I intend to rectify very soon.

It calls the heart, this music, to a place
more intimate than home, than self, that face
aging in the hall mirror. This is not
music to age by — no sprightly gavotte
or orderly pavane, counting each beat,
confining motion to the pointed feet

Rachmaninoff on the Mass Pike,
Rhina P. Espaillat

Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.

The Gift,
Li-Young Lee

Now you know: this is the place
where water insists on being ice,
where wind insists on breathlessness,
where the will of the cold is so strong
that even the stone’s desire for heat
is driven into the eye of night.

The Last Poem About the Snow Queen,
Sandra M. Gilbert

Tila ako si Bidasari —
Patay sa araw, buhay sa gabi:
Naghihintay kay Sultan Mogindra
Na sa buhay ko’y ikaw;
Naghihintay ng maalat na halik
Na isisiil mo sa dagat na dibdib
Upang ibangon ako
Sa masasamyong panaginip.

Tila Ako si Bidasari,
Ruth Elynia Mabanglo

Here is a map with your name for a capital,
here is an arrow to prove a point: we laugh
and it pits the world against us, we laugh,
and we’ve got nothing left to lose, and our hearts
turn red, and the river rises like a barn on fire.

Saying Your Names,
Richard Siken

Tila Ako Si Bidasari, Ruth Elynia Mabanglo

Tila Ako si Bidasari
— Elynia Ruth Mabanglo

Tila ako si Bidasari —
Patay sa araw, buhay sa gabi:
Naghihintay kay Sultan Mogindra
Na sa buhay ko’y ikaw;
Naghihintay ng maalat na halik
Na isisiil mo sa dagat na dibdib
Upang ibangon ako
Sa masasamyong panaginip.

Laon,
Laon na,
Laon na ngang ika’y naghihintay
Sa mga hubad na paang iyong idadantay
Upang muli’t muli’y iyong mapakislot
Ang kiliti kong natutulog
Sa balakang at batok.

Ay, dilim lamang ang aking kaibigan,
Ang karagatang lalanguyan
Ng gintong isda nga aking pagnanasa.
Kaya’t doon
Doon mo iamba
Ang salakab ng dudupil
Sa mala’y kot pagkamulat.
Lambat mo’y ihagis,
Ihain ang bitag,
Lamayin ako sa iyong magdamag.