Simeon Dumdum, Jr: “Cattle Egret”

Excerpt From CATTLE EGRET

— by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

You’re riding on a carabao
(Oh, what a day and what a life)
As birds would settle on a bough

Light cuts the sky with a long knife
And morning drops its load of dew
(Oh, what a day and what a life)

— from the collection If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2010)

Simeon Dumdum, Jr. is a judge in the central Philippine island of Cebu. His other poetry collections are The Gift of Sleep, Third World Opera, and Poems: Selected and New (1982 – 1997)

The white Cattle Egret is found throughout the Philippines. It perches on grazing cattle and rids them of lice. Its native name is: talabong, tabong, tagak kalabaw.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Simeon Dumdum, Jr.: Haiku

Blue-Breasted Quail

by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

The Blue-Breasted Quail
Flies from my feet and I see
That I have no shoes.

Poet Simeon Dumdum Jr. has written six books, four of which won the Philippines’ National Book Award. He works as a Regional Trial Court Judge in Cebu City.

And self has been to his house!

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

“I had a bird-filled childhood.”

If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly, by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

Simeon Dumdum, Jr. has written six books, four of which won the National Book Award given by the Manila Critics Circle. He works as a regional trial court judge in Cebu City and lives with his wife and daughter in Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Transtromer: Train Poem for The Hunger Games

Regular readers of this blog know that self is a fan of:

  • Hunger Games/Everlark/fan fiction
  • Shadowhunters/Victorian Steampunk/ anything related to Will Herondale
  • Dystopia
  • Poetry, all kinds (Miguel Hernandez, Tomas Transtromer, Luisa Igloria, R. Z. Linmark being self’s enduring favorites)
  • Fiction (Current faves: Mary Gaitskill and Kurt Vonnegut)

In honor of a deleted scenes from The Hunger Games movies finally crawling its way into the universe (Katniss & Peeta discussing the meaning of throwing bread), here is a train poem from Transtromer. Because self is all about intersecting universes:

Tracks

2 a.m. moonlight. The train has stopped
out in the middle of the plain. Far away, points of light in a town,
flickering coldly at the horizon.

As when someone has fallen into a dream so deep
he’ll never remember having been there
when he comes back to his room.

As when someone has fallen into an illness so deep
everything his days were becomes a few flickering points, a swarm,
cold and tiny on the horizon.

The train is standing quite still.
2 a.m.: bright moonlight, few stars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Depth 5: About Self’s Attachment to Books

Books, for self, are the ultimate uncharted territory.

The depth of her love for books knows no bounds.

She was running low on her copies of Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila and Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, but her publisher sent a box of those to Mendocino last week and they arrived safely.

Two other books: Mayor of the Roses and The Lost Language, are in Gallery Bookshop on Main Street. Those copies she signed.

Self ordered more copies of her books. They arrived from the publisher last week.

Self ordered more copies of her books. They arrived from the publisher last week.

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino: A shelf in the science fiction section (BATTLE ROYALE meets LORD OF THE RINGS)

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino: A shelf in the science fiction section (BATTLE ROYALE meets LORD OF THE RINGS)

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Personal Library 6

First Bookcase in Dining Room, Shelf # 1:  61 books

Selected Titles:

  • San Francisco Nightlife:  Zagat Survey 2006/07 (“Covering over 615 bars, clubs and lounges”)
  • Natural Selection, by Frederick Barthelme
  • The End of the Class War, by Catherine Brady
  • Dark Hours, by Conchitina Cruz (She was in the Filipino women’s anthology self co-edited with Virginia Cerenio, Going Home to a Landscape )
  • How to Clean Practically Anything, by the Editors of Consumer Reports Books with Edward Kippel
  • The Joys of Motherhood, by Buchi Emecheta
  • English-Tagalog-Visayan Pocket Dictionary, by M. Jacobo Enriquez, Jose A. Bautista, and Francis J. Lamolangue, Jr.
  • The Bread of Salt and Other Stories, by N. V. M. Gonzalez
  • Danger and Beauty, by Jessica Hagedorn
  • Type O Negative, by Joel Barraquial Tan
  • Angry White Pyjamas, by Robert Twigger
  • Another Spring, Darkness, by Anuradha Mahapatra, transl. by Carolyn Wright, with Paramita Banerjee and Jyotirmoy Datta
  • Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White

150 + 61 = 211 Total Books Counted So Far

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Bataan Day/ Discovering a Book List

Bataan Day is tomorrow, April 9.  It is the 70th anniversary of the surrender of combined U.S. and Filipino forces to the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

How sad is this day?  The husband’s grandfather, a brigadier general, was one of those who surrendered on the Bataan Peninsula.  He made it as far as Fort Santiago, but disappeared shortly thereafter.  No one knows what befell him.  He was simply gone.  His eldest child, the husband’s father, was 16 years old.

Self was reminded of this very important anniversary by Hyphen Magazine.

Self also discovered this list of novelist Abha Dawesar’s Favorite All-Time Books.  It is a very eclectic list. Self decides to print it out so that she can start reading the books on it.

Towards the bottom of the list, self finds her second collection, Mayor of the Roses.  It follows right after Zack’s second book (after Rolling the R’s), Primetime Apparitions.

Mayor of the Roses, the title story of self’s collection, was published in Hyphen Issue # 6.

The list appeared in Hyphen Issue # 7.  Which must have been some time ago, for now Hyphen‘s current issue is # 24.

Self is tickled pink to be included on a list that begins with:

  • The Symposium, by Plato
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
  • Notes From the Underground, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Manila, Its Surreal Glory (Courtesy of Linmark)

Self is so spoiled.  She got to listen to Zack read, two nights in a row:  last night at Skyline College, tonight at Yerba Buena.  It rained buckets while self was driving to the City this evening.  In spite of the nasty weather, there was a good-sized crowd.

Yerba Buena is such a great space. Sort of like the Negros Museum, only modern. Self means: a great place to hang out in, to let ideas formulate. But she knows she only feels that way because Joel is there! Joel, you do such a great job as Director of Community Engagement (Did self get your title right?)

During Q & A, self discovered that Zack and Joel T call Manila “Paris.”

Self got to see a short by a young Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity in Literature Without Borders: Philippine PEN Congress Ends

One cannot speak to everyone, but here are the people who self enjoyed spending time with, the past few days:

  • Karina Bolasco:   Anvil Publisher and Star, star, star.
  • Nguyen Bao Chan from Hanoi:  She read after dinner last night.  Her voice is magical.
  • Jose Wendell Capili:  Self hung with him today.  Wendell, you make everything fun.
  • Erma Cuizon:  Self of course knew of Erma’s work because she included one of Erma’s stories in Going Home to a Landscape.  Yesterday, self bought a copy of the anthology Erma edited, The Cebu We Know and has been avidly reading it.
  • Marjorie Evasco:  Self listened to her read, with awe.
  • Shirley Lua:  One of the conference organizers, and absolutely tireless.  Today tried her to the max, as she had to hand each writer their honorariums and collect receipts, a thankless job if ever there was one.  But she was still smiling in the late afternoon.  Thanks a bunch, Shirley!
  • Ruth Elynia Mabanglo:  Even though self and Ruth were both listed as writers from the USA, Ruth demonstrated that Hawaii is a world unto itself —  and she gave a powerful reading.  Self knew her from the time she attended a conference at the University of Hawaii.  Ruth, it’s been too long.
  • Charlson Ong:  Self has been reading him for ages, ever since his very first book.  She finally, after all these years, got to meet him in person and he is just so nice.
  • Carmen Sarmiento:  She was on the same panel as self, the panel on “Writing and Writers in the Americas.”  Her topic was Filipino komiks, a topic self found absolutely fascinating

The two people who self met for the first time and who made self feel immediately welcome were Susan Lara and Danny Reyes.  To tell the truth, self arrived in Cebu severely jet-lagged and more than a little tired.  She probably wouldn’t have made it through the first day without the welcoming presence of these two generous writers.

The Celebrity Ballroom of the Montebello Villa Hotel was full to capacity for practically all of today’s sessions.  Hardly anyone left, even during the Q & A, which self considers a really hopeful sign and bodes well for the Filipino writing community.   Self would also like to thank the waiters who were so conscientiously passing out snacks (ensaimada , ube!  A bowl of Batchoy!  Dinner rolls!) and serving lunch and drinks throughout the day.  One, without being asked, placed before self a hot cup of tea minutes after she sat down after finishing her presentation!

The Montebello Villa Hotel people were so sweet.  This afternoon, after her panel, self found a woman standing in the lobby, preparing puto bumbong from a cart.  She seemed pretty lonely, so self ordered a plate, which came with hot tsokolate for only 35 pesos!  This woman even brought self a copy of today’s paper (The Philippine Star), and self got to peruse it while sitting next to a window overlooking the hotel’s lush garden.  There was a bougainvillea bush that was about three stories high and just bursting with magenta flowers —  the biggest and most beautiful bougainvillea self has ever seen.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Birds of the Philippines, and Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

The maids packed for self.  That suitcase was pretty heavy.  After self lugged it into her hotel room last night, she found out why:  gorgeous tunics and silk blouses, courtesy of Dearest Mum, enough to keep self in soignee look for at least a month.

The writing conference is only two days.

Self greatly admires the sheer, feminine blouses of a Vietnamese writer she met last night, at the dinner.

Today, she is hard put to keep her eyes open.  The last thing she did before going to bed (2 am again, aaargh) was read a student piece about grandparents.    The piece was so wrenching, so absolutely moving and well written,  that it kept her awake half the night.

So she presented at the conference registration this morning with tremendous eyebags (She will never be able to go a day in the Philippines without tremendous eyebags.  But self knew this, even before she left)

Here’s the thing:  The keynote address this morning was delivered by a courtly judge named Simeon Dumdum, Jr.  Self had never heard him read before.  Now, listening to him in the Celebrity Ballroom of the Montebello Vista Hotel, she fell in love with his graceful cadences. Quite a spellbinder he was (Yesterday, the spellbinder was Marjorie Evasco)

Suffice it to say, Dumdum’s address was such that not even a minute after he had uttered his last sentence, self rose and went to the book table to buy his newest collection, If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly.  There were less than 10 copies on the table.  Self was perhaps second to buy one.  In less than ten minutes, all were gone.

Let’s see if self can summarize a little of what he said (She wishes the address had been taped).

It seemed the judge had hoped to keep his schedule clear so that he could devote sufficient time to prepare his speech.  Reality, in the form of a murder case, intervened.  And so went the speech, which wound seductively around the topics of writing as healing, a man who beat his wife, wholeness, thoughts, writing two bird poems a day until he had exhausted the entire list of Philippine birds (of the 600 bird species in the Philippines, 400 are migratory, according to Dumdum).  And he then began to name the birds of the Philippines —  not, of course, all 600 species, but:  egrets, sandpipers, terns, plovers, spot-billed pelicans and blue-back parrots.

Self can never forget this address, dear blog readers.  Never.

Stay tuned.

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