Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Ron Silliman's blog today notes several links to Filipino poetry/poets which is how I discover ABS-CBN quoting me as saying something about Edith Sitwell and Jose Garcia Villa, to wit--in a Q&A with Joel Toledo, there's this question worded as:
Q. Eileen Tabios once said that Villa was so well-supported by Edith Sitwell because he was exoticized as an Oriental--nothing like that happened to you?

For the record, this is not a claim I make. I have no idea (nor could I give a bucket of carabao spit) as to why Sitwell "supported" Villa. Now, I suspect the interviewer is quoting me once referencing (and snorting over) some sentences in a Sitwell biography (too lazy to look up the title) where Edith says something about Villa that in politically-correct quarters would be considered "exoticization". But this doesn't necessarily mean I believe Sitwell didn't like Villa's poetry for other reasons than how ABS-CBN phrased it (for all I know, Sitwell genuinely liked Villa's poetry....even as she, cough, edited it with a hand as heavy as, yes,s a carabao).

You know, when erroneous stuff gets said about me, I don't usually respond. But as regards Jose Garcia Villa, I'm feeling compelled to respond -- maybe because his COLLECTED POEMS just came out from Penguin Classics.

So, since we're on the subject of Jose Garcia Villa, may I also correct something frequently said about me when it comes to linking my name with Villa. For the record, I am not a "heir" to Villa. I admire his poems and, yes, edited a book on his work. But as a poet I am not his heir. (I'm reminded of this point because Ron Silliman also links to a Manila Times article on Villa that, while not mentioning me by name, mentions Villa's "heirs". Not to say I'm claiming the author Ordonez even had me in mind, but just that I was reminded of having been called one of Villa's "heirs" a number of times before.)

As a poet, I am nobody's heir, even as I occasionally act as certain puwets' herrings.

Last but not least, as regards the question posed by Ordonez's article and repeated on Silliman's Blog on whether "Philippine literature should 'move on' from Jose Garcia Villa?"....Dude and Dudettes, that cart was pulled beyond the horizon a long, long time ago by yet another carabao. That'd be obvious if, ahem, one were to actually read contemporary Philippine poetry....Like, how's 'bout this idea: MY books!

In this BRICK, for instance, my non-ancestor Villa would probably find much to detest!

Sigh. Isn't it a pain in the butt when, in discussing poetics, one must be led to actually read ... poems?

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