Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Erotica bared

EROTIC literature in the country seems not anymore underground; it is going mainstream through pocketsize novels now sold in major bookstores nationwide. Having seen how erotic literature has been widely accepted in the United States and other parts of the world, writing group LitErotika is promoting erotic writing, which would be a mix of erotica and “chick lit” (a literary genre aimed at young single women).


EROTIC literature depicts sexual love in more or less explicit detail, which gives rise to charges it’s really nothing but pornography.

But the genre’s apologists have argued that erotic literature also delves into the spiritual and intellectual dimesions of sexual relations.

And erotica merely show the sensuality that is intrinsic in literature’s chief medium, language or words.


SAMUEL is forced out of dreaming when his mother, pounding heavily on the door to his room, calls out his name.
“You’re going to be late,” she says.

He eats his breakfast with his father, who impales a sausage with a fork and waves it in the air as he tries to convince his only son to become a lawyer.
“That’s where the money is,” he insists.

Words, images go hand in hand

YOU CANNOT judge a book by its cover. But no one can deny that unless the writer is a best-selling author like J.K. Rowling or C.S. Lewis (or other such writers who do not even have to spell their first names out), a book will not catch much attention on the shelf with just a blank page on its front.

For this very reason, writers seek the aid of visual artists to help attract readers to their work. Consider it an icebreaker, an appetizer hinting of great things to come.

For prize-winning artist and UST College of Architecture graduate Jose Miguel Tejido, literature and the visual arts complement one another. “Art lets the ‘unsaid’ come into the scene, where the artist can put in mini elements based on his own interpretation, like little side comment jokes, allusions and even foreshadowing clues to a next scene,” he said.

Midnight hauntings and daytime fantasies

TALES of Enchantment and Fantasy (Milflores Publishing, 2008), a compilation of 20 short stories edited by former Varsitarian editor in chief Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, sprinkles supernatural twists and hilarious out-of-this -world encounters on mundane activities.

Today’s writers again prove themselves innovative, amusing and full of new flavors by unleashing their inner child through exploring the recesses of the human imagination.

Starting off the collection is F.H. Batacan’s “The Gyutou,” a story about a knife and how it serves a noble wife and her kitchen. The knife, together with all the other utensils, is fervently cared for by the wife.

After the wife separates from her husband and moves out of the house, the rest of the utensils start seeking revenge for their master by giving the husband’s young concubine a hard time at the kitchen.

Unwanted wanted

ENTRAPPED in a mighty hug, the mother and her young struggle
to untangle the tentacles of an octopus. So tight is its embrace
that her might vanishes. In the dim light, her misty eyes
search along the corridor for an armored knight.

Her children’s cries are drowned by the beast’s warning:
“Submission makes it painless, reluctance sets hurdles,” resounding
in every corner, giving chills to every child. In an instant, hope
is heard in between a child’s sobs.

In a web, a man swings by over her. He takes
her out of the captor’s embrace and shields the little. His fists
blast away at the villain’s slimy limbs. While she,
regains her beauty and composure.

The hero unmasks himself, and stretches out his hand,
yet, she, seeing through his stare, screams out loud.

April twenty-fourth

Illustration by Carlo Patricio P. FrancoIT IS NOW a hundred days. A hundred days in between January 15 to April 24, 2008. In these hundred days, things have changed.

The morning sun scorches Hanna’s shoulders as she steps out of the house. It has taken her quite a while to get dressed, having been so busy trying to find “non maternal” clothes. She signals her baby Julie’s nanny to hop in the car. The nanny hurries toward the car, carrying shoulder bags and pushing Julie in her stroller.

“Manong, let’s go to St. Luke’s,” Hanna says to the driver. Today is Julie’s hundredth day, and Hanna wants to start her day with Julie’s monthly pediatric consultation. In the afternoon, they will head to the grocery, buy baby diapers, and then head home so the baby can rest.

A piece of heaven in a perilous earth

IF A NOVEL is labeled “Harry Potter and the Holocaust” by the New York Times, it can only mean that it is probably worth looking into.

The novel is The Book Thief, by Australian novelist Markus Zusak. Unlike the author’s first few contemporary novels which carried with them the elements of the fantastic, such as I Am the Messenger, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl, this new book sets itself in a totally different league and is considered Zusak’s debut as a historical fictionist.

Under the Sun

Illustration by S.I.R. MacaisaTHE WARM breeze and sunlight’s caress
Signal the stretch of a day’s stay–
As streets teem with toddlers
In torn and tattered jeans
Tracing the upward trail of hills.

I find my spot at the base of a tree,
My back lying flat on its sturdy trunk.
Birds soar toward the bright horizon
While I dwell beneath the dimness’ embrace.

In the shelter of my shade, a sudden gust
Brushed the sweat off my cheeks. A shaft of light
Seeped through the canopy of leaves.

Pulling myself up, I inch my way out of my loyal safe,
As the warm breeze and sunlight’s caress
Signal the stretch of a day’s stay.

Agnes Ruth Diana S. Bordado

Literature’s varied connections tackled

LITERATURE and how it intersects with culture and other disciplines such as the sciences was the focus of “Inter/Sections: Crossroads and Crosscurrents in Literatures and Cultures,” a three-day national conference on literature organized by the UST Graduate School recently at the UST Thomas Aquinas Research Complex auditorium.

Quoting the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, UST Acting Rector, Fr. Rolando De la Rosa, O.P. said in his opening speech, “a turning wheel that causes no motion in other places is not part of a machine.”

He called on literary practitioners “to give literature its moral anchor,” to counteract the escapist and fantastic works that abound today.

Making those present aware of the power of the written word, the Rector urged writers to create an audience that “seeks meaning in the triviality of the present,” and to “convince everyone that there are absolutes.”