Literature lovers will be delighted by the five new offerings from the UST Publishing House bookstore this March. Their new titles are: The Heart of Need and Other Stories by Augusto Antonio Aguila; Burning Houses: Poems by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta; Discernments by Ralph Semino Galan; To the Evening Star by Simeon Dumdum Jr.; and Autumn in Madrid and Other Travel Tales by Alice M. Sun-Cua. The titles are currently only available at the UST Publishing House bookstore. Call 4061611 local 8424/8252 or 7313522 for inquiries and orders.
Below are some of the praise for the new titles, respectively:
Part of the power of this first book by Tots Aguila derives from a sharp eye for the multifarious details that make up the Metro Manila sprawl, from its seedy boarding houses and its shadowy bars, to its tree-sheltered campuses; and a keen ear, attuned to its multiple accents, chiefly those of the ordinary folk… a plain-looking, lonely bachelor… an overworked teacher trapped by a hopeless love… a macho dancer, unaware that the sickness in his stomach is self-disgust… a bright high school boy preyed upon by someone he trusts… a disillusioned academic… There is restlessness, a raw edginess to these stories. But despite the bleakness of some of its scenes, here is a fresh young voice, raised in affirmation of life. – Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo
When a reader pries the rind of a poem open and works down to the pith, what will she find? Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta answers, and truthfully so: “Perhaps stones, perhaps sugar.” In Burning Houses, her second collection of beautifully crafted poems, the poet continues the exploration of those themes which she first took up in The Proxy Eros: the lives of the body in love, in relationship with self and/or other. In this new work, however, the poet’s voice has acquired more complex richness, a resonance made possible by her willingness to deeply live the questions that language details. After all, “No one said marriage was [merely]/ Architecture”—for if it were, its blueprints would be nothing more than marks on paper. Good poetry—like satisfying sex, a satisfying marriage, a satisfying relationship, authentic feeling (whatever feeling)—can’t be faked. Here is a poet who is wise beyond her years, whose address of contemporary life and its postmodern predicaments is unsentimental without jettisoning tenderness. – Luisa A. Igloria
… what distinguishes Galán’s literary and hybrid style of critique is its well-conducted deployment of sly techniques of sublating the creative-critical and the theoretical, subsuming, without overpowering, the creative and theoretical aspects into the primary or governing function of critique. In the context of local art and cultural criticism, and in comparison to some other, equally, refreshing voices in this realm who bring the theoretical and/or creative into their critical practice, Galán’s modality of delivery makes the theoretical material “new” even if it should already be familiar or old material for some. –Oscar V. Campomanes
I have been charmed by Simeon Dumdum’s essays and verse for the last quarter of a century. His light and humorous touching on the everyday detail of small lives always surrenders a profound illumination. These Bisayan beguilings now amount to one of the most valuable assets in the repository of his national literature. – Timothy Mo
What makes us marvel is the way Alice Sun-Cua retrieves for us, not the merely adventurous or challenging, but more importantly the quiet, indelible moments when authentic, albeit oftentimes passing, human contact in friendship and compassion is achieved and celebrated… her essays go the extra mile, bringing to us the specific and particular through her stories composed of memorable places and people. She writes of things unrepeatable, even if she were to go back to exactly the same place in another time. Thus, while she tells of gypsies and flamenco in Andalusia, of old churches, monasteries, forts, palaces and museums—things one would expect to see in a Spanish sojourn—she also brings us on less-travelled paths, ‘In search of Cervantes,’ or of ‘Rizal’s Madrid,’ and Solsona of Cataluña … -Marjorie Evasco