[Blog Tour] Poems by Filipino makers of verse if you’ve loved In the Jaded Grove by Anela Deen

Hello everyone! This post is part of the #KindredRealmsTour organized by Caffeine Book Tours. Check out my non-spoiler review of In the Jaded Grove by Anela Deen here.

In the book, the main character Jessa is an award-winning poet who, after a huge tragedy, struggles to write even a single line. She then borrows words from other makers of verse such as Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and William Shakespeare to express her own feelings and to cast her own kind of magic.

Because of copyright laws, Anela Deen is not able to include other more diverse poems in the book, and you can check out the author’s note at the end to know other “wordsmiths who have moved, inspired, and made [me] feel seen, who cut to the heart of things, proving the pen is indeed mighty”.

The note inspired me to put together my own list of poems to match the themes and emotions presented in In the Jaded Grove. All of the poems below are written by Filipino makers of verse, and unless otherwise indicated, they are originally written in English. They are picked according to the themes present in the book. I hope that this list moves you to explore the rich literary tradition that Jessa belongs to.

Woman of Many Words by Merlie Alunan

for all the times you are full to bursting with words for a lover

Woman of Many Words
by Merlie Alunan

She loved him with words, torrential.
She threw the words down from skyscrapers,
cathedral spires, belfries of country churches,
thatched eaves of peasant homes. The words
tumbled and clattered and zoomed and slithered
and flew over tin roods, tops of trees, umbrellas,
they tickled the ears of children and dogs
and elephants in the zoo, and made them dance
and wriggle and prance, they rained down
on rivers and ponds and oceans, rode
on the backs of turtles and seals, and the whale
heard them and echoed them in arctic waters
cold and deep, and some words fell on the sand
for snails to nibble and crabs to drag to their lairs.

Her words would not stop coming, so now
his ears were full of them, clogging his nose,
cramming his pockets, his shirts ballooned
with them, they squished in his shoes, they littered
his bed, the carpet, the table where he worked,
every cup in his kitchen brimmed with them.
They fell from the trees when he took a walk,
every flower he passed called them out to him,
even the birds could not stop chattering
as they flew from earth to tree to earth again,
the red dragonflies spelled her words in the wind,
and the fireflies blinked them all night long.

Still her words came, an endless joyous rain,
he swam in its flood, he filled his mouth
with them, and still she loved him and loved him,
her words flooded his mind and stole his sleep.


Rindu by Isabela Banzon

when you’re longing for your other half who lives in a world away and has a different mother tongue

The Guerilla is a Poet by Jose Maria Sison


to a warrior bent on winning freedom for his people; to him whose dance with blood and rage is a legend worth a song

If you want to read other nationalist poems written during periods of colonization and Martial law, you can see other picks in this list.


Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa by Andres Bonifacio [Love of Country]

remembering why we fight for our land and country

Original Tagalog version of Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa
Source: Malacanang Palace Presidential Museum and Library
English translation of Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa by Epifanio de los Santos. Published in The Philippine Review. Alternate translation by Teodoro Agoncillo, but some lines are omitted.

Nothing beats the original version, but the English translation will have to do. Read notes on translation here.

Prometheus Unbound by Jose Lacaba

an anthem for the revolution

Fascinated by the highlighted letters? Read the context of this poem and its not-so-hidden acrostic message here.

“Marcos, Hitler! Diktador, Tuta!” is still a common cry during protests today. It is revived as a tirade against the current president Rodrigo Duterte, whose incompetent leadership stokes the very same anger that moved Lacaba to write this poem. Oust Duterte! Never Again!

Cementerio del Norte by Angela Manalang-Gloria

while grieving our dead and remembering their lives

Cementerio del Norte
by Angela Manalang-Gloria

    To the memory of Consuelo

    And so, it all must come to this—a dying afternoon,
    Thin cerements of rain around the forlorn ghost of weeping,
    White tombs so desolately splendid, a priestly monotone
    Drifting in sacramental grace, and then—the final sleeping.

    What else is there to say? (The last word has been said too soon
    For you and all the golden hopes once minted for your keeping)
    White tombs so desolately splendid, bone unto alien bone,
    What else is there to say, now that the sleepless dead are sleeping?

***

That’s it for my stop today! I enjoyed putting together this list and making the graphics from scratch, which is a first for me! I hope you like it 🥺👉👈

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the #KindredRealmsTour.

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Let’s chat:

  • Do you have a favorite poem by a Filipino maker of verse? Drop your recs in the comments!
  • Which of these poems do you like best?
  • Are you interested to explore more Filipino poetry?

2 thoughts on “[Blog Tour] Poems by Filipino makers of verse if you’ve loved In the Jaded Grove by Anela Deen”

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