IN SCIENCE, the word “gen” means to produce and is often affixed to words connoting the generation of a new breed. That is why the J. Elizalde Navarro National Workshop in Criticism on the Arts and Humanities gained the moniker Jen (much similar to how you pronounce “gen”) as it likewise produces year after year a new breed of critics.

Now on its fourth year, the Jen Workshop focused the spotlight on 12 aspiring critics of various art forms such as literature, music, and visual arts as esteemed scholars not only critiqued their works but also gave out helpful insights. The intensive one-week workshop was held last May 28 to June 1 at the Colione Bed and Breakfast in Baguio City.

Joining the mainstay panelists were poet Rebecca Añonuevo, Allan Isaac of Rutgers University, Robert Diaz of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, and Oxford-bred Lila Shahani, an adjunct professor of development communications at the Asian Institute of Management and assistant social welfare secretary.

The panel was composed of UST professors Ralph Galan, Ferdinand Lopez, and Joselito Zulueta; Ateneo de Manila professors Oscar Campomanes and Gary Devilles; and University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman professor Priscelina Legasto. Delan Robillos of Artery Manila joined the panel again for his third year.>

In her lecture “Ang Pagbasa Bilang Pakikipag-Usap” (or reading as a form of conversation), Añonuevo discussed dialogic dimensions of reading. Shahani’s lecture tackled the obstacles to dialogue.

Isaac talked about the “singularity of genre” in the Philippines. He said genre has become a “contract” that, if deconstructed, may cause the ire of the audience.

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JEN fellows this year were John Andrew del Prado, Conservatory of Music faculty member Renato Lucas, and NSTP coordinator Adrian Romero (UST); Hammed Bolotaolo and Doy Petralba (UP-Diliman); Dennis Ignacio (Mapua); Miguel Nograles Lizada and Louie Jon Sanchez (Ateneo); Sam Harold Kho Nervez and Kyle Matthew Santelices (University of San Carlos); Om Narayam Velasco of (UP)-Los Baños; and Rabindranath Polito (Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology). Brylle B. Tabora

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