Jose Marte A. Abueg, a longtime editor and writer, has had no formal training in writing poetry except for an elective he took before graduating from the University of the Philippines School of Economics.

For many years he could not even read poetry. In 2001, wanting “to be a better man,” he found himself reading a book of poems, and afterwards tried writing a few lines.

His Bird Lands, River Nights, and Other Melancholies won poetry prize in the Gawad Likhaan: The UP Centennial Literary Awards, and has been published by UP Press.

He had previously won a Palanca short story award and a Free Press poetry award.