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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jose Garcia Villa's Literature

Jose Garcia Villa was the first Filipino National Artist for literature, an award-winning poet here in Philippines and in United States. He is known for his "reverse consonance" style in poetry such as "said" and "days". He is also popular in his style for "comma poems" with every word with commas making the reader pause for every word, slowing the pace of poem resulting to what Villa called "a lineal dignity of pace and movement".

Jose Garcia Villa is the son of personal doctor of Emilio Aguinaldo, Simeon Villa. He was born on August 5, 1908 in Singalong , Manila. He enrolled in school of Medicine, shifted to Law school, but realized his passion is arts. He start in painting but later focus in creative writing after reading Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson.

In 1929, he published an erotic series of poems called "Man Songs" which tend UP Administrators to suspend him from the University and even fined of seventy pesos for "obscenity" by the Court of First Instance. During that time he won P1,000 from the Philippine Free Press or his "Mir-i-Nisa" which he used to migrate to United States. He enrolled at the University of New Mexico and finished Bachelor of Arts Degree. In 1942, after the released of "Have Come Am Here", he introduced his "reversed consonance" rhyming scheme and in 1949, he introduced his comma poems.

Villa's major works are Philippine Short Stories in 1928 (best 25 short stories, 1929), Footnote to Youth (short stories,1933), Many Voices (poems, 1939), Have Come Am Here (poems,1941), Selected Poems and New (1942), and A Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry (1962).

Villa's awards includes Guggenheim Fellowship, Academy Award for Literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letter on 1943, First Prize in Poetry Category in UP Golden Jubilee Literary Contests on 1958, Pro Patria Award in Literature and Heritage Award for Poetry and Short Stories on 1961, Honoraris Causa doctorate degree for Literature in FEU on 1959 and the prestigious National Artist Award for Literature on 1973.

Here is a sample of Villa's work, an excerpt from "Have Come Am Here" lyrics (1942):

     In my desire to be Nude
     I clothed myself in fire:–
     Burned down my walls, my roof,
     Burned all these down.

     Emerged myself Supremely lean
     Unsheathed like a holy knife.
     With only His Hand to find
     To hold me beyond annul.

     And found Him found Him found Him
     Found the Hand to hold me up!
     He held me like a burning poem
     And waved me all over the world.

Next is "The Anchored Angel" with style using commas: 

     And, lay, he, down, the, golden, father,
     (Genesis', fist, all, gentle, now)
     Between, the, wall, of, China, and,
     The, tiger, tree, (his, centuries, his,
     Aerials, of, light) —
     Anchored, entire, angel!
     He, in, his, estate, miracle, and, living, dew,
     His, fuses, gold, his, cobalts, love,
     And, in, his, eyepits,
     under, the, liontelling, sun —
     The, zeta, truth — the, swift, red, Christ.

     The, red-thighed, distancer, swift, saint,
     Who, made, the, flower, principle,
     The, sun, the, hermit's, seizures,
     And, all, the, saults, zigzags, and,
     Sanskrit, of, love.
     Verb-verb, noun-noun:
     Light's, latticer, the, angel, in, the, spiderweb:
     By, whose, espials, from, the, silk, sky,
     From, his, spiritual, ropes,
     With, fatherest, fingers, lets, down,
     Manfathers, the, gold, declension, of, the, soul.

     Crown, Christ's, kindle, Christ! Or, any, he,
     Who, builds, his, staircase, fire —
     And, lays, his, bones, in, ascending,
     Fever. Verb-verb, king's, spike — who, propels,
     In, riddles! Six-turbined,
     Deadlock, prince. And, noun,
     Of, all, nouns: inventor, of, great, eyes: seesawing,
     Genesis — unfissured, spy: His, own, Arabian,
     his, love-flecked, eye!
     The, ball, of, birth, the, selfwit, bud,
     So, birthright, lanced, I, hurl, my, bloodbeat, Light.

      And, watch, again, Genesis', phosphor, as,
     Blood, admires, a, man. Lightstruck,
     Lightstruck, into, the, mastertask,
     No, hideout, fox, he, wheels, his, grave, of,
     Burning, and, threads, his,
     Triggers, into, flower: laired,
     In, the, light's, black, branches: the, food, of,
     Light, and, light's, own, rocking, milk.
     But, so, soon, a, prince,
     so, soon, a, homecoming, love,
     Nativity, climbs, him, by, the, Word's, three, kings.

     — Or, there, ahead, of, love, vault, back
     And, sew, the, sky, where, it, cracked!
     And, rared, in, the, Christfor, night,
     Lie, down, sweet, by, the, betrayer, tree,
     To-fro, angel! Hiving, verb!
     First, lover, and, last, lover, grammatiq:
     Where, rise, the, equitable, stars, the, roses, of, the, Zodiac,
     And, rear, the, eucalypt, towns, of, love:
     — Anchored, Entire, Angel:
     Through, whose, huge, discalced, arable, love,
     Bloodblazes, oh, Christ's, gentle, egg: His, terrific, sperm.

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