December 7, 2007
Sure I have been on TV before, but this time, it’s a different thing. An ABS-CBN Bicol crew actually came to my house for an interview—for a poetry prize. Yeah, it’s cool to be on TV, but it’s cooler to be on TV for poetry.
Now I saw this as a chance to put Bikol literary arts where it should be—mainstream. It’s a curious thing that for a country so rich with culture and language, we are not a poetic lot. My teacher Cirilo Bautista would always tell me, the poetry page of Philippine magazines is avoided by the country. No wonder we don’t send food, pens or flowers to our poets. We don’t give them discount in our coffee shops of booze joints. We don’t buy their books. We even mistake them for the dead.
I totally object to this. The poet deserves attention when he deserves it. The same as when actors get featured when they win a Famas, poets ought to be in boob tubes when they win prizes. This way our countrymen will see that poets are given importance, making them read more and possibly aspire to become poets themselves.
So there I was trying to be coherent in front of the camera, explaining dimensions of poetics and literary culture to a young female reporter who is not so much acquainted with it (she had to ask me what a Palanca is). I was also asked about my poem, the one that won, and I had to explain the difference between Balagtasismo and Modernismo. From being maligoy to being compact, logical and direct.
Too bad it came too all of a sudden. I got an SMS and the next thing I knew, they were right at my doorstep. I was not able to have with me my Homelife Prize co-winners. But then, I made sure they were mentioned and got their due, specially the Kabulig-Bikol and our advocacy.
The news feature was aired on Friday, December 7 at around quarter to six in the evening. The reporter was Ms. Rizza Mostar, an AB MassCom student of Unibersidad de Santa Isabel-Naga.