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
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
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
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.
- 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?