LITERATURE is not limited to what your teachers tell you.—This, in a nutshell, was the accent of the trendiest names in Philippine Pop Literature today, who fittingly graced the book talk “The Emerging Genres in the 21st Century Philippine Literature” last Oct. 18.
Held at the Philippine Normal University (PNU), the event had Thomasian authors Joselito
de los Reyes and Eros Atalia, and poet Pia Besmonte as speakers.
“Ang panitikan sa atin is a very middle-class concern. Ang masa ang dapat target-in ng akademya,” said Atalia, a three-time Palanca winner, underscoring that the first world countries’ concern is different from that of third world countries, like the Philippines.
“Kasi ang problema sa bansa natin ay ‘yong mga matatalino, sila lang ‘yung mga nag-uusap. Sa mga conference, pataasan sila ng ihi,” he added.
Atalia encouraged those who attended not to undervalue online storytelling platforms, such as Wattpad, which appeal to a majority of aspiring young writers.
“May problema mismo ‘yong akademya. Sinasabi kasi na hindi tinatanggap sa akademya ang Wattpad, na hindi siya literature,’” he stressed.
Atalia recently bagged the grand prize in the Nobela category in the 67th Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for his “Ang Ikatlong Anti-Kristo.”
De los Reyes, already a two-time National Book Award recipient, emphasized that there is no problem in reading conversational works, which appeal to a wide audience.
De los Reyes cited Lang Leav, a Thai author and social media sensation, who is criticized for her “generic” poems which has a huge following.
“At least nagbabasa. Hindi na dapat pa nating problemahin ‘yon. Dapat alamin natin ngayon kung ano ‘yong binabasa at tignan natin,” he said. “Kasi ang hirap na sabihing ‘hindi sila literature e.’ Sino ba ngayon ang nakapangyayari sa mundo? Tayo ba o silang bumabasa ng Lang Leav?” he added.
De los Reyes was named “Makata ng Taon” by the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino in 2013.
The event was hosted by Circulus Literati, an organization of literature students of PNU.