I find Gamalinda's poems unbearable at times, one of those books that I can hardly read one poem at a time. Sometimes a single line will stall me, and I have to, quite literally, put my head in my hands the way I've done when I've seen some terrible accident or been graced unexpectedly with strange music.
--Patrick Rosal on Eric Gamalinda
I'm really happy to see Patrick's write-up on Eric Gamalinda. Patrick is right to note that Eric isn't as well-known as he should be. I would just go further than what Patrick says to note -- Eric's achievements in poetry has nothing to do with "contemporary" or American poetry. Eric is simply among the greatest poet out there to have lived and wrought poems -- worldwide, and for all time.
On a more personal note, Eric's collection LYRICS FROM A DEAD LANGUAGE (Anvil Publishing, Manila) is one of the most influential poetry books ever to take Moi soaring beyond Heaven. That's why in the last poem in The Light, I made a brief homage to Eric by citing him among a list of poet-greats that includes Rilke, Whitman and Olson.
Eric's won the Philippines' greatest literary awards (often more than once). Then he emigrated to the U.S. where (despite various accolades) he's not really been a part of the poetry-award-contest machinery that often serves as the primary determinant for great poetry being written today. But check out Eric's poems, please. It'll blow away (as it did for Patrick) much poetry that you are reading elsewhere.