eK! is electronic Kabalen, a web-exclusive Kapampangan journal of ideas

papa osmubal
oscar balajadia RIGHT AFTER the Second World War, Edward Louis Bernays wanted to use propaganda in order to promote people's well-being. He thought that if propaganda worked for war, it could work for peace; and if it worked for destruction, as was seen during the last two wars, it could work for building and rebuilding. Bernays, though, had this hesitation in (or, perhaps to put it precisely, fear of) using the word propaganda because it had been used by Hitler and other European fascists to promote their cause, which added more fuel to the seething European conflicts. The fascists' use (or misuse) of propaganda made European conflicts, which were supposedly be just continental in scope, into a bloody world war. After the war, the world was left totally submerged in another brutal, yet subtle, form of strife, called the Cold War. It was during this post-war crisis that the term "propaganda" got savagely demonized. To avoid the stigma that the term was carrying, Bernays had to come up with an alternative phrase or name—thus, the emergence of "public relations." This capitalist concept of propaganda helped economies worldwide get back on their feet after the war much faster than people had expected and economists had predicted.

I want to do in Kapampangan poetry what Bernays did in post-WWII world economy. But to avoid my being misunderstood and further hurting the feelings of our overly sensitive Kapampangan poets (as we are quite a notorious bunch when it comes to emotions), I want to refer to "Kapampangan poetry" or "Kapampangan poet" as the mainstream poetry or poet. Mainstream here means that which we have already seen and read and that which has since been dominating our literary history. Not that which we have yet to see and read, or that which we might have seen and read quite a bit in dribs and drabs, but that which should first become visible and a vital part of the so-called Kapampangan literary cannon to affirm its validity, contention and existence. The former (already read and seen) is a concrete subject for study and criticism because of its history, dominance and influence in our current writings. While the latter (yet to be seen and read) is at this point a mere speculation, because 2 or 3 budding poets are not a force to be reckoned with, therefore it is rather a future to be hoped for, achieved, and eventually affirmed.

Recently, I wrote a critique on Kapampangan poetry. Two budding Kapampangan poets welcomed it with wild fracas. I don't know what parts of my critique that made them passing mad, but I pretty much know what parts of their poetry were put under fire, challenged, tested, and refuted. And they know that too—that is why they exploded with wrath in the first place. Their reactions spoke for them and from where they were coming from. All I know is that these budding poets were hit exactly where I intended to hit them. Now I hope they will heal their wounds properly for the betterment of whatever they want to do. I see one trying his hands at something innovative, although it still sounds much like what his great-great-great grandfather did. But he seems to be starting to realize that poetry is not bound by the law of genetics and heredity. What he does is not poetry yet (but then, also, his great-great-great grandfather's work, by modern standards, was not poetry either). He should improve upon it, or else he will end up with nothing. He should test the waters by sending his poems to literary magazines (there are quite a lot of them either online or hardcopy) where editors are not Kabalens, and he would know what I mean. He has to know how brutal and savage the literary world can be outside eK! and outside the Kapampangan world, so that he will realize that where he stands is not where a poet should be. He has to be somewhere where pamikakabalen doesn't count.

I have not seen the new work of the another budding poet. She must have totally given up writing. I hope and pray that my error-prone intuition is not correct this time. (What did I just say? Is that a Freudian slip?). These budding Kapampangan poets think that their (what? 4, 5 years of) effort and literary musings electronically buzzed over to a handful of fellow poets (whom they fondly call Koya and Atse , who in turn call them Wali ) in Internet forums are already part of the Kapampangan literary terrain and cannon. Ah, the usual behavior and reactions one always sees in and gets from new poets! A slight move of their pen and they think they have already done history and culture a big favor, and for that they already deserve a monument! But then we live in a strange world where a poet can be named a laureate just for the brand name of the jeans he/she wears. There are millions and millions of poets laureate out in the world nowadays and the driver on the bus you took today can be one of them. Every organization appoints one. Every university names one. And it is not uncommon that one poet can be named laureate 5 or 6 times by 5 or 6 different organizations and/or universities. This is fiesta! So our budding poets have something to work and hope for.

Kapampangan poets freak out like wet rats, hopelessly trying to get into the safety of their holes, at the very mention of the phrase "free verse." (Sorry, I promise that that was the last time I mentioned that dreaded name, except only on special occasions like Halloween and April Fools' Day). Upon hearing such forbidden name, Kapampangan poets douse themselves with holy water and burst into litany of Hail Marys and Our Fathers as if the Black Death has crept back in everyone’s medieval veins and bones.

Instead of calling it with the dreaded name, which I will never again mention, let me do a Bernays-like attempt at calling it "revived poetry" for the benefit, peace of mind, and safety of the ever-nervous Kapampangan poets, lest their nervous breakdown gets worse and the funny houses will run short of beds.

That is what tradition does to people. It makes them panic for no apparent reason at all. It instills fear in them—the fear to venture out; the fear to go beyond the norms. Our old writing tradition brutally dictates that Kapampangan poetry is pure rhymes and rhythm, no more, no less. To those who are within the walled norms, that is all they know about poetry. Tradition dictates it. Tradition suppresses one's abilities and skills and limits one's perception of one's reality. The old nauseating "Dad did it, so I have to do it" attitude is viciously entrenched in Kapampangan literature and it mercilessly incapacitates the Kapampangan poet's way of looking at things. Our poets write for the sake of tradition and its lost glory, not for the sake of poetry and the living language it wants to promote, propagate and celebrate. They behave like hardnosed fanatics, and yet they don’t approve of my calling them "Ayatollahs"—the highest title a person of their convictions can have.

Clearly the traditionalist Kapampangan poets have difficulty with figures of speech. My figurative expression comes from immature name-calling. Admittedly, the Ayatollah thingy was way too much for them to bear. But that is a metaphor—an exaggerated metaphor, or hyperbole. Why do Kapampangan poets need to be reminded of this? They should have known how to distinguish, utilize and analyze literary representations and figures by now. They are poets but they behave like crybabies. It sure is name-calling if I called them "sexual perverts." For that I need to be thrown behind cold bars because that has nothing to do with what has been going on. But, in the name of the Frowning Jesus, my calling them Ayatollahs needs intelligent explicating. It involves one's knowledge of history and current events. It tackles lots of questions and issues. Like the following questions: Do you seek refuge in tradition and religion? Do you use God and God's Word to prove your arguments and to negate other people's contentions? Do you encourage or tolerate changes? Do you impose your tradition and old practices on people? Do you call those who oppose your tradition and old practices unintelligent and uncivilized? How do you behave when presented with new ideas? Those are some of the questions I wanted answered. They have to know history and current events in order to understand that Ayatollah metaphor. It could have been better regarded as an invitation for an intelligent and meaningful discussion. These Kapampangan literary Ayatollahs define what is ethical and what is not. They have their own standards for propriety. They define what Kapampangan is and what is not. They have the final word on Kapampangan poetry and language. They have the declare who a Kapampangan is and who is not. If one falls out of their favor, one has nothing else to do but to chill it down and wait for the fatwa issued on him/her. Like, one will find oneself without Koyas, Atses and Walis, if one gets busted and kicked out of the fold. I just don’t know how Kapampangan literature will progress with this kind of setup and scheme. It is too feudal in nature. Piwali-wali re ing panyulat Kapampangan. Piyatsi-atsi re ing panyulat Kapampangan. Pikoya-koya re ing panyulat Kapampangan. Now, Kapampangan writing lacks neutrality and professionalism. Kapampangan writing is a familial endeavor and affair. Like in a normal family, its setup is hierarchical—the Koyas and Atses are on top of the pecking order. They are in that position because of their ages, not because of what they have got up there an inch or two above their necks.

Our traditionalist Kapampangan poets obviously cannot get enough pleasure from confusing linguistics with poetry. Now they dip their poetry in theology. They counter my critique by quoting rebuttals from the Bible and they advise me to put God and God’s Word in my writing. Okay, these "winged and haloed" poets have "God and God's Word" in their poetry, but (in the name of the Man upstairs who, at this very moment, I know, is sure shaking and scratching his head) they should refrain from doing that by all necessary and possible means. It is a miracle if you had God and God's Word in your poetry without sounding like a Born-Again Christian, annoyingly maundering before a bus full of commuters in a hot summer afternoon. To have God and God's Word in one's rhymed poetry and call it art and literary work, one has to be a Gerald Manley Hopkins, a John Donne, a William Blake, a Saint Therese of Avila, a Rene Maria Rilke, a John of the Cross—our Juan dela Cruz (the patron saint of our country and the symbol of our identity, and yet many of us have not yet seen this great poet's poetic sheen). The Kapampangan poets' attempt at metaphysical, theological and religious poetry is an insult to both God and the art—and I just don't know how our national patron, San Juan dela Cruz, could possibly intercede for our literary misdemeanor and felony. If one uses God and God's Word in one's poetry as retaliation to one's literary critics or to simply work for God's great causes, then one is in the wrong gig. One should leave poetry alone in peace. There are more meaningful and effective ways in promoting God and God's Word than through poetry. (For instance, one can sell badly cooked pancakes with a catchy brand name like "Yahweh’s Low-Fat Manna.")

Contrary to popular belief, "revived poetry" is much older than its rhymed counterpart. "Revived poetry" is, in fact, the first ever kind of poetry. Now that is confusing, is it? The older one should be called "traditional" and the one that came way long after should be called "modern." "Revived poetry" did not become "traditional" because it is the ultimate definition of literary freedom—it gave autonomy and a lot of open space to the poet. Whereas, its younger counterpart earned its sorry epithet and notoriety for putting the poet in a suffocating box. That is the reason why this much younger poetic form fast became too old. It never gave itself enough room to flex its muscles. Now it is an old paralytic man that barely moves. To make matters worse, it was in fact born with Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome. The much older "revived poetry" is not traditional because it is active and dynamic. It keeps on changing and moving, so it never feels the onslaught of aging. It is the grand magus in the literary world. It is what you call normal conversation, like when one talks to one's kith and kin. It was the conversation our ascendants had around bonfires, in their caves. Flavor those conversations with encrypted meanings, prune some of their unnecessary words, and you have "revived poetry." It had already been a common practice way before rhymed verse first saw the light of day. The Bible is a good source of poetic works in "revived form." Don't ever think that King David's lyrics had word rhymes. They were constructed with parallelism of thoughts, or thoughts that rhyme, because ancient Hebrew poetry, like that in any of the ancient civilizations, almost did not use word rhymes. Ancient Hebrew poetry was almost entirely written in "revived form." "Revived form" is rife with thoughts that rhyme, because it is cerebral. But "revived poetry" has a sense of humor too, and it plays tricks on the untrained eyes and ears. This little fellow appears to be not using word rhymes, but at closer look one may find that it actually wallows in them. The secret is, don't find them at the end of the lines. Yes, they may be there once in a while, but that is not particularly their favorite place for a nice cold beer and peaceful late afternoon snooze.

"Revived form" is deemed modern because it reemerged in the midst of a very strong and established tradition set by its young, rather haughty, grandson. (Since it never gets old and it is always fresh, "revived poetry" can be forever regarded as "modern.") It was resurgent at a time when people did not know any other poetry but the rhymed format. When it reemerged, people thought it was one of those new kids in town. They did not know it was their ancient sage that came back with the same wisdom, yet with new looks. Clearly, that created quite a concern, because it challenged the then-established tradition when it came to reclaim its rightful place in literature. That is the advantage of "revived poetry"—it can mutate and evolve into something totally different. That is the strength of "revived poetry"—it wades in the fountain of youth. It is the Peter Pan of poetry and poetics. It constantly changes, so that it can resist aging and cheat death.

One of the seeming reasons why traditional rhymed verse once became famous is because it adopted the language of the royal courts and senates in the Old World. Look at the scenario in this context—you have the people using crude and popular language and expressions (revived poetry) on one side and you have the nobles, scholars and law-makers using this elegant language and expressions (rhymed and sing-song verse) on the other. Rhymed poetry used the language of the rich, the powerful and the intellectual. At that time, a politician or one in the academe without the glibness at this type of prosody was like a toothless lion in the wilderness. So this type of writing (rhymed) exuded with immense might and influence. Scholars had to write in such same fashion, because it was then the badge of superior intellect and scholarship. So this type of writing was the "rocket science" of that particular epoch in human history. Evidently, politics played its role pretty well. Nowadays, many of our Kapampangan poets still wittingly or unwittingly cling to that idea, or so it seems. They feel secure within the walls of the tradition. That seems to be one of the reasons why they keep on holding on to the established tradition and can't go out of it. Thanks to Spanish political legacies and of the Kapampangan politicians-cum-poets of the past. Read Kapampangan literary history, and it annoyingly feels like reading political history. It was lacking in art. Our poets sounded like kings and popes. I just don't know why Kapampangan poets of the past had quite a time for politics. And then again, I just don't know why Kapampangan politicians of the past had quite a time for poetry. I just can't connect the dots. I just can't put all things into proper perspective. I don't know how I put it in percentage, but a great number of our Kapampangan poets were politicians—many of them held elective and/or appointive public positions. That is outstanding and unprecedented even in English poetry. Did Kapampangan literature once play a role in suppressing and exploiting the people it was supposed to enlighten and set free? Was Kapampangan literature once used by the elite for personal and political gain? We have millions of quasi politicians-cum-poets in Kapampangan literature. Ah, the golden age of Kapampangan literature! It is nebulous, as how a poet-friend describes it. Indeed, it is nebulous.

Going against the tradition is difficult. It is going up against all things that one thinks are right. Going outside of tradition is a negation of the established self and of its manipulated reality. Self and reality will then have to be ultimately recreated by letting them reemerge and freely grow in the very ways their surroundings want them to. But that is quite a paramount and nearly an impossible task. One has to divest oneself of all the things one knows and reckons to be right and appropriate. The mind shall again become a squeaky clean sheet (tabula rasa or "unscribed slate," as Aristotle called it), to be filled with new information and codes that shall formulate the meanings. That is why tradition is hard to break. Tradition dictates that there is nothing outside the walls it has built around the person. One can't go out of those walls. In order for tradition to work well, it has to efface the concept of freedom and suppress all meanings. Which is why within a tradition, one doesn't have one's own perception and interpretation of reality. One can do that only when one is free. Tradition is a despicable tyrant that, if not deterred and eliminated, can be omnipresent and constant as one's own shadow. It is annoyingly easier to defend tradition than to oppose it. And, despite its notoriety, there are more people supporting tradition than those who want it dismantled and changed. To people who don't want responsibility and independence, tradition is a home, a refuge. And our Kapampangan poets and their poetry have themselves insulated from such "dire straits."

Is it also tradition that made the Kapampangan poets too emotional and sentimental? Looking at Kapampangan poetry, one immediately finds out that the Kapampangan poet is neither a philosopher nor a soldier. The Kapampangan poet is so thin-skinned that he/she gets easily stirred up and hurt just by a slight nudge or pinch from a critic. This is perhaps the reason why literary criticism is almost non-existent in the Kapampangan literary terrain, when in fact this endeavor has been an old form of writing in many cultures. As for those Kapampangan politicos-cum-poets of the past—what with the flammable wick of the notorious Kapampangan temperament deeply rooted in politicos keeping guns—who would dare engage in literary criticism in Pampanga?

Aristotle's "Poetics" is proof that criticism has always been a literary endeavor in the west for millennia. How far removed we are from other cultures, and yet we have the temerity to say that ours is a culture to be proud of. There is nothing sweeter to the ears of the Kapampangan poet than to hear that his/her poetry is a great work of art. While the critic is the devil incarnate aiming at spreading terror and trying to destroy all civilizations known to man. By the looks of it, Kapampangan poetry is nothing more than a clique of emotionally impaired individuals who praise each other's work. To them the poem is the poet and the two can never be separated. The order of the day in the Kapampangan literary scene is: criticizing one's poetry is criticizing one's personality. To avoid offending the Kapampangan poet, don't hurl unreserved comments at his/her poetry. Praise is the Kapampangan poet's definition of criticism. But then, this is detrimental to the art as it suppresses and aborts the growth and exchange of knowledge and creativity. I feel so sorry for Kapampangan literature.

By insinuation, or some "reason" near to the meaning of the word, rhymes and rhythm are exclusive possessions of traditionalist Kapampangan poets. It is as if rhymes and rhythm are the be-all and end-all of poetry and knowledge. Childlike as it may sound, traditionalist Kapampangan poets even go so far as challenging their critics to show if they (the critics) can write the kind of poetry they criticize. Human reasoning freezes there. All logical arguments end there. This is ad hominem abusive— or ad personam. That is where human reasoning collapses and is rendered absurd and futile. Kapampangan poets are quite absolute in their blind belief that writing rhymed poetry is still the "rocket science" it used to be and that only the "gifted" can do it. Little do these individuals know that rhymes and rhythm can just come naturally out of a person like hair or nails growing out of him/her; and that, as in the case of a bird or the wind, they come out with humility and gentleness, without imperial loftiness and haughtiness. I am a writer of verses and I don't write them in rhymes because, as an advocate of "revived poetry," I give emphasis to meaning and profundity. When I write I usually come up with accidental or unintentional rhymes. What does that want to imply? It wants to tell us that all people, all poets, can write in rhymes, but not all of them can write with meaning and profundity. Without planning, meditation and intention, a bard can never acquire meaning and profundity. Without intelligence, discipline, wisdom and creativity, the bard can never achieve meaning and profundity.

What traditionalist Kapampangan poets can't understand is that rhymes and rhythm just simply come out when they have to come out. But meaning and profundity cannot come around just by sheer accident. Birds chirp in rhyme and rhythm. Do birds understand their surrounding the way we humans perceive it? That is the difference between a cerebral poet and a mere "bird" poet. Cerebral poets rationalize sound; "bird" poets just create sound, or call it noise. It is the task of the poet to encrypt meaning, or hide it, and make it glorious with the beauty and magic of sound. We humans are endowed with intellect and sensitivity to command and grasp that meaning.

In fact, rhymes and rhythm are all over us—the sighing and panting of a worker at work; the wind in the meadow; the sound of a flowing brook; a city in its usual drudgeries; a farm in the silence of the night at; the cry of a restless baby; the lullaby of a mother. So traditionalist Kapampangan poets should not just insinuate that these are their possessions and that other poets don't have them, and so that the latter do not have the right to criticize the former. That accusation is blind negation of nature. Poets advocating the "revived form" are like birds and the wind; they let rhymes and rhythm come out naturally and—this is where their bird-ness or wind-ness end and their human intellect comes to work—they preoccupy in formulating profound meaning and in encrypting that meaning. To the poets who advocate "revived poetry," what matters most is not the sound (rhymes and rhythm), rather it is the sense (meaning) and essence (profundity) that should come along with the sound. If the sound has no sense and essence, it is just an unnecessary noise. Poets who advocate "revived poetry" give priority to meaning and profundity clandestinely thriving in man's immediate reality and within man's deepest consciousness. It is, therefore, the task of the bard to inspire readers to unearth, cultivate and own the grandeur of meaning and profundity. Meaning and profundity are the foundations of "revived poetry." What separates the real poetry from the Hallmark-type of verse is meaning and profundity.

Traditionalist Kapampangan writers should know that poetry is serious business. Poetry should cater to meaning and profundity, whether one writes in "revived form" or in the traditionalist way. They should know that advocates of the "revived poetry" respect and, if necessary, use rhymes and rhythm, but that their main priority is meaning and profundity. If employment of rhymes and rhythm diminishes or aborts meaning and profundity, then why bother doing that at all at the expense of the art and its future? But as I have already said, rhymes and rhythm come out naturally. It is all but likely that a cerebral verse written in the "revived form" has them, hidden within the lines. That is what traditionalist Kapampangan poets don't understand too. Rhymes don't just come at the end of the lines, or what are called as end-rhymes or tail-rhymes. In the eyes of the traditionalist Kapampangan poets, there are no rhymes other than perfect end-rhymes or tail-rhymes. They don't know that "revived poetry" is sated with rhymes that are meticulously placed within the poem and yet are just not readily visible to the untrained eye. I just don't know why traditionalist Kapampangan poets don't see this in the "revived form," when in fact they are supposed to have "trained eyes and ears" for poetry. I want to blame one's intellect here, but I prefer to stick to blaming the tradition.

It is as if tail-rhyme or end-rhyme is the only rhyme scheme known to the Kapampangan poets, young and old. There are many rhyme schemes in existence and, as necessity arises, they are employed by poets who write in "revived form." Aside from end-rhyme, there are other rhyme schemes out there, such as sound rhyme, eye rhyme (visual rhyme), and many more. But traditionalist Kapampangan poets think that rhymes is just end-rhymes, which is why much of Kapampangan poetry sounds like the famous "Baa-Baa Black Sheep," or something that has the same sound and rhythm. This is what those who came before us taught us. They did not give us other options. Meticulous as they were with their end-rhyming, older traditionalist Kapampangan poets would bombard their younger lackeys with the usual hidebound peeve—"Ginu ko, nanu yan? Lawen me ini, loko, o ini pa ing taganang pamagrima. Loko, ing keka e naman taganang pamagrima! O ini pa taganang poesiang Kapampangan, loko!" Where we are now is the result of that typical Kapampangan closed-mindedness. They made our literary path too narrow and very specific—just a slight move and you are sure to fall. I don't want to blame them, but as a lover of the art, I feel robbed of something. Now it is quite difficult to put modern ideas in the consciousness of our poets, whose minds were formed within that typical medieval-styled Kapampangan framework. You can't also blame our poets because they do things according to how they were conditioned and nurtured to do them. In fact, writing in rhymes is very free and wide, and you can never go wrong doing it. It is always right so long as you have those "homographs and homophones" at the end of the lines in a poem. That's fine. Life has been good. And life will always be good. But I am still wondering why we let our literature suffer this much.

One may as well argue that our language has different linguistic properties and one can't just use other rhyme schemes used in English or in other languages. There I question our inventiveness and creativity. Why wait for others to invent things for us? Why sit and see what will just fall before us? English invented its own rhyme schemes, why can't we invent our own, suitable to the nature of our language? Why stick to the perfect tail-rhyme that limits our creativity and paralyzes the meaning in/of our poetry? We want rhymes? Yes. So, we have to invent more rhyme schemes that are suitable to our language, so that our poetry will not be so monotonous like it is now, so that many more poetic forms and styles will come up. The Japanese invented their own poetry and rhyme schemes based on what their language can do. Now the world has tanka and haiku (with similar literary features as with the Tagalog tanaga and ambahan ), which, I am glad, Kapampangan poets are starting to imitate and cultivate because these forms are suitable to our language, as Kapampangan and Nihonggo share slightly similar linguistic properties.

Kapampangan literature is still medieval when it comes to form, diversity, meaning and depth. Once I opined that literary movements passed us by, and one traditionalist Kapampangan poet asked what movements did so to us. Need I answer to that typical Kapampangan reaction? The answer to his question is simple—"Open your eyes, you effing son of Sinukwan!" We are still in our dark caves, while Post-Modernism is fast losing its appeal and glory (and might as well be in a coma at this very moment and can't even lift a finger), and a new epoch or movement (the name of which is yet to be determined) is currently being conceived to stand against the former, if not to replace it. While things were happening around us, what did we do? We were in our caves counting with our fingers the syllables of the words for our "Humpty Dumpty" sort of verses.

Great poets like Verlaine, Pessoa, Borges, Lorca, Heaney, and many more, who took poetry to a whole new level, cleverly employed rhymes, but they did not stop right there, as history shows. Their works show that these bards used rhymes more efficiently than did the traditionalist poets in their respective times. But their aim for writing was not to display verbal fireworks with their sparkling rhymes and rhythm, but rather to explore human intellect and consciousness. That is what modern writing is all about—going to the deepest of man's being, going as far as our imagination can take us.

"Revived poetry" came out just when the world needed it most. The Old World was in chaos and the common people were in the streets shouting in their language, shooing away dynasts and patricians. Old kingdoms got divided, weakened, then fell, and along with their downfall was the demise of feudal thoughts and old traditions that impoverished not only the Old World's economy but also its intellect. Courts and legislative houses started to get populated with plebeians, and pompous sing-song rhetoric was replaced by straightforward and honest speeches that tackled man's real conditions. Literature followed suit. Literature started to speak the people's language. Thus, literature was freed and "revived poetry" emerged with the same virgin wisdom and language it had had at the dawn of human civilization.

As was expected, the New World (which is, ironically, the home of mostly all of the traditionalist Kapampangan poet laureates and their henchmen) was one of the places to benefit from the emergence of "revived poetry." Perhaps without it, American literature would not be as intellectual and free as we know it now. It was Walt Whitman who started it all. Perhaps one may assert (and with "one," I mean a traditionalist Kapampangan poet) that Whitman did not know how to write in traditional form, with rhymes and rhythm. Whitman could have been a great traditionalist poet had he only decided to be one. His "O Captain, My Captain!", his only verse in rhymes and regular rhythm, is a great piece of work in traditional form, celebrated and praised by modernists and traditionalists alike. But Whitman chiefly and largely used the "revived form," as a symbolic gesture that a new America is born—an America that is free and out of the dark shadow of the Old World. In order to tackle and study America's immediate reality and modern concerns (politics, freedom,science, technology, economy), Whitman employed a non-traditionalist approach in writing, and the rest is history. It is just funny that our traditionalist poets, their laureates and their stooges (many of whom are naturalized Americans), live in their caves (as well those even in the US, the so-called wellspring of modern thoughts).

Consensus and compromise should perhaps be reached to solve all the problems in the Kapampangan literary scene. Say, writers of "revived poetry" will write in rhymes and rhythm in Kapampangan traditional form (with end-rhymes, regular meter-and-foot measurement, and whatnot), while traditionalist writers write in the same traditional format, but with meaning and profundity. I don't like putting people on the spot, but perhaps if that happens, somebody will surely be enlightened and educated, albeit in a very nasty way.

[About the author. Papa Osmubal is Oscar Balajadia of Magalang (Well, don't get fooled by that name), now a Macau resident (Sorry, where?) and married to a Chinese local (How? How come? Why?). He has been a Catholic seminarian (OK, he once opened a book at an exam in Latin and Romance Languages---but who in frigging hell did not?), a Catholic missionary (Oh, the rosary is the answer to our country's economic problems and to your alcoholism and addiction to nicotine!), a bookstore staffer (Yes, sir, listen here, we know it is urgent, so your book is on its way from Guangzhou and will be here in 8 months!), a librarian (Oh, it's Friday the 13th and I am not putting 666 as Dewey call number on this bloody book!), and a teaching assistant (OK, pal, I know you prepared for the exams so I will check and mark them!). He is currently a teacher (yawn) and has an M.A. in English Studies (yawn even more, nod off, and then snore) from the University of Macau (sorry again, where?).]

-Posted: 8:20 AM 10/19/09 | More of this author on eK!