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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Thursday, September 30, 2010



A case of "reverse" Ekphrasis, these lines from some poems I have already written created the image of "chairs" which is the given poetic gestalt. As a writing exercise, a "picture discovery" could objecify what may have been merely an abstract concept. In Chinese ideography, the single image is a conglomerate of all characters (ideographs) that might have "drawn" (pictured) the idea.

This happenstance of an aposteriori picture validates the "imaging" energies of words and the universe of meaning they bring into the poetic line in particular and to the poem in general. Is it a "creative" drill? While it may not be as creative as proceeding with composition from the "given line" (idea, concept, theme, or experience as the germinating kernel of the creation)  in the stimulating ideograph (picture, painting, drawing, articulated image), it could be a springboard for other mnemonic associations which could shape themselves into other poetic expressions or corollary images.

In the case of "Chairs," the woman on the chair --- who appears with what seems to this beholder a "lonely" repose --- would have been the "picture" conjured by all the words in the three excerpts, if it were vice versa. Picture first. Then reactions: words, images, structures, tropes, etcetera) But the picture came after the words, therefore, it was not the ekphrasis stimulus.

It could be a posterior "epiphany" or the issue of a "surprise (poetic) pregnancy" in the words of poet Jose Garcia Villa. It is the cart before the horse, as it were.

Now go figure what this is all about.

September 30, 2010 Re-view

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