The Quezon City government is leading rites to mark this year’s National Poetry Day (Pambansang Araw ng Pagtula) on Nov. 22, the birthday of eminent Filipino poet and “King of Balagtasan” Jose Corazon de Jesus, popularly known as Huseng Batute.
Huseng Batute’s legacy of patriotism through poetry continues with activities organized by the Quezon City government, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, book publisher San Anselmo Publications Inc., and the poets’ organization Linangan sa Imahen Retorika at Anyo (Lira).
San Anselmo Publications and Lira have been holding a daily online challenge to writers, encouraging them to submit original poems based on a different prompt each day. Three winning poems are chosen and their writers are given cash prizes.
On Nov. 17, Lira held a poetry reading “to stand with and sympathize with those affected by strife in the Philippines and in Palestine.” On Nov. 19, it presented “Balagtasan at Tanghal Tula,” with the performers including educator and SEA Write Award laureate Michael Coroza and language researcher and poet RR Cagalingan.
On Nov. 22, at 2 p.m., poet-lawyers Nick Pichay, Argee Guevarra, Marvin Aceron, Tin Lao, Jing Panganiban and Noel del Prado will read their pieces on the radio program “Hello, Attorney!” at dwPM Radyo 630 on the AM band and on Facebook.
The Quezon City government will preside over a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the Jose Corazon de Jesus statue and the Balagtasan and Timpalak Kundiman national finals at the Quezon City Hall Risen Garden at 2-6 p.m. Admission is free.
Vying for the best in Balagtasan are Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila, San Miguel High School in Bulacan, and Region XII Bagong Koronadal in South Cotabato.
Rommel Gojo Music Production, Team Romblon, Guang Ming Cuerdas and Kalilayan of Gumaca, Quezon, are the finalists of the Timpalak Kundiman.
National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario reiterated poetry’s significance when he said in a poem, “Ang pagtula, kahit paano, ay naghahandog ng liwanag (Poetry somehow brings illumination). For this reason, Almario and other National Poetry Day advocates hope that Filipino poetry will be more ingrained in Filipino hearts and minds.
For details, follow the Facebook pages of San Anselmo Publications and Linangan sa Imahen Retorika at Anyo.