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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two Poems: A COUNTRY OF MY OWN & REKINDLED

A COUNTRY OF MY OWN

And I measured your symmetry
with a gaze or a look
every curve and every contour
or slope or a mountain that
I have conquered

I traversed your horizon
with just a blink of an eye
tamed and rode the four winds
galloping in your green stables

I crossed your rivers on carabao’s back
and lined the muses to know the secrets of your
first name and orient beginning

I learned your folktales and legends by heart
mythologized the loves and lives
of your sons and daughters in my verses
as if they were written a thousand years ago

I have lived to add colours, and lease of life
to your golden age and renaissance

I have lied a thousand times even more
for your histories to be heard
amongst your own people who are losing
their legacy and the salt of their tongue

you are within my grip Caboloan
Camelot of my imagination
you are the country of my own
right here in the province of my heart
when syllables palpitate like the breathlessness of turtledoves
where words are red wine flowing
like the blood in my myocardial arteries

let me hear once more the bamboo songs
the lover’s sonnets and serenades
the manag-anito and orisons o let me hear
even the silence of the hillocks
before I fall into my darkest night
before I soar into my dreadful flight

rise up Cabaloan and speak through my words
speak in your language dying for your rebirth
until your children learn to lend their ears

listen to the voice of their inmost selves
hasten to the quickening of their disquieted souls
speak before I give away my existence
and/or turn into a reed or a blade of grass


REKINDLED

There’s a rice-pounding song tonight playing
somewhere not to distant the hunter’s moon
bathe in all her glory unconcealing
the primeval dance of the gathering
where the reapers offer what they have sown
to the goddess of the earth and planting

I hear their silent chanting and singing
the last of the Tumatagaumen
with his uncouth and commencing
the rhythmic gyrations—the quickening
I see them all glistening flesh and worn
ere the embers consumed its own breathing

they touched me not softly with rememb’ring
this pagan ritual this primal passion
but the bardic voice within my being

there’s a rice-pounding song tonight playing
somewhere not too distant the reapers’ moon
will embrace my adamhood arising
they will hear me scream my
poems of hunting

Published in the Manila Times / Sunday Magazine, 13 March 2011

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A Tao 道 Sign

Le poèt de Pangasinan

Santiago B. Villafania, a bilingual Filipino poet who writes in English and in his native language of Pangasinan, is the author of poetry collections Bonsaic Verses (2012), Pinabli and Other Poems (2012), Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles (2007), and Balikas na Caboloan (Voices from Caboloan, 2005) published by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) under its UBOD New Authors Series. He has been published in several countries and translated into several languages. Villafania is one of the 11 Outstanding Pangasinan conferred with the 2010 ASNA Award for the Arts and Culture (literature) during the first Agew na Pangasinan and also the 430th Foundation Day of the province on April 2010. He is a member of Philippine PEN writes a regular weekly column for the Sunday Punch.

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A collection of ghazals in Pangasinan language. Order now at Amazon.com


A collection of haiku, senryu, tanka, haiga, and other poems in English and Pangasinan language. Order now at Amazon.com


“Santiago Villafania is a searcher with a seemingly insatiable curiosity and endurance. His quest has brought him to explore world poetry from points East and West. He is no stranger to sophisticated verse forms such the Sapphic strophe nor to the diverse permutations of the Japanese haiku. But he is not a formalist, he has daringly explored Asian and Western cultures in a very personal way and writes his mind with a daring, invigorating, aesthetically pleasing ease. In his poetry Villafania displays not only a breadth, but it feels very much like a breath of fresh air.” – Ute Margaret Saine, poet, critic, translator, past president of PEN Orange County and the former editor of the California Poetry Quarterly

“Villafania’s emergence as a poet is a fine moment to celebrate. Another voice from the regions augurs a richer body of writing that Filipinos can hold up as a mirror of our native culture.” – Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature

The Beloved Idiom | A Reading of Villafania’s ‘Pinabli & other poems’ by Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo


LCCN.: 2010338612

Order your copy now at CreateSpace or Amazon.com :)

"The publication of Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles by Santiago B. Villafania should be a source of rejoicing for readers of regional literatures. This second book by Pangasinan's leading poet today is impressive in both form and substance. Villafania has created 300 sonnets and 50 villanelles in his own language that attempt to reflect the primacy of native culture and return the poet to the central stage of social life."A Boost to Pangasinan Literature from Breaking Signs by Cirilo F. Bautista (Philippine Panorama, 16 Dec. 2007, pp.25-26)

"Villafania is not only a visionary poet, he is a linguistic philosopher who codifies the origin of language and culture, dissects the myths and the common beliefs of the people against the urban legends, juxtaposes the literary tradition against the modern influences by dialectically infusing them in his poetic revelation of truth."Poetic Revelation in Language and Culture by Danny C. Sillada (Manila Bulletin, 12 May 2008, pp. F1-F2)

Photos: Book Launching at the Pearl Manila Hotel, 5 Feb. 2008


"Santiago Villafania's Balikas ed Caboloan certainly has reinvigorated the anlong tradition of Pangasinan that for a long period of time suffered silence from the hands of writers more attuned to English writing. Characteristically anacbanua, Villafania's poetry echoes his predecessors and presages a promising era for young writers in Pangasinan." – Dr. Marot Nelmida-Flores

Thesis: Bilay ed Caboloan - Reconfiguration of Space using a New Historicist Lens by Ayesah Tecson

from Pangasinan 'Anlong': Oral tradition into the 21st century published in Manila Times / Sunday Magazine, March 13 & 20, 2011.

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Translations of Sonnet To A Pilgrim Soul in different languages.

Translations of Erolalia in German, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, and Hindi language. And here is the 1st version of the poem published in The Sunday Times (Manila Times, 11.23.2003).

Six of my poems translated into Arabic by Prof. Abdul-Settar Abdul-Latif (English Dept., College of Education, University of Basrah, Iraq) and have been published in TEXT - the Cultural Monthly Journal, Issue No.13

Swansong of the sea with translations in Italian, Arabic, Hindi, and Spanish.

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