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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.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

FIREPLACE HAIKUS (Poems triggered by a given line---ligne donne): Series


Now I may wither into the truth.
—W. B. Yeats

The lass on my lap
Said: I won’t play with snow
Today, abuelo.

Even snowmen
Will freeze, will crack in two.
Can’t play tomorrow.

On the frozen pond,
Dead frogs and birds on icy
Snow are broken, too.

O, look! The mouse jumped
Into his hole in the wall
To keep his tail warm.

Inside, a fireplace
Crackles, a heated teapot
Is on the table.

A soggy paper
Of old and current events
Says: Cold kills homeless.

Use paper for fire,
Abuelo, the lass offered.
Nodding approval

I muttered wryly:
The snow is my newspaper,
Your eyes my fireplace.

Mississauga, ON 1-23-11

The Given Line (ligne donne) from Morning Porch

In the bitter night, a white-footed mouse bounded unerringly from the corner of the wall to a hole 20 feet away. The snow is my newspaper.---Dave Bonta, Morning Porch, 1-23-11 (

In the same blog, Philippine-born Norfolk poet Luisa Igloria explains the composition process she uses in writing her poems in response to the Morning Porch meditations. Like this writer, she subscribes to the process of letting the lines "trigger" a poetic experience that she pursues through its complexities. Also found in Bonta's Via Negativa (

Likewise, through this series, I expect to write  about how a "poem happens" when it springs from the given line (ligne donne) or lines that gets the poem written (i.e., style, technique, theory, evaluation).

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