Poets and writers sang anthems to peace when they gathered last May 14 to read literary works as their way of supporting the current peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The event, Macondo: Poetry & Peace from QC to Colombia, was held in Quezon City.

Poet and critic Gemino Abad said the activity was organized by the World Poetry Movement.

Khavn de la Cruz, festival director of .MOV Fest, said that he got the name Macondo after the fictional town in Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

He explained that the role of poets in the face of conflicts and crises is to keep an “absurdist hope.”

“There is still this hopeless romanticism in every poet to wish for a better system in our country,” he said.

Poet Dakila Cutab, who emceed the event, said that poetry readings, whatever their advocacy, should be considered positive undertakings for keeping Philippine literature alive.

“We could also promote our culture through how things are done in these poetry readings by having music [and poetry],” Cutab said.

Abad read “Peace,” an episode from Michail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov's “Quietly Flows the Don,” and Jose F. Lacaba’s “Tagubilin at Habilin.”

Lacaba’s wife, Marra Lanot, read the poem “Ang Bala,” which tells how a deadly weapon sows discord.

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Thomasians RR Cagalingan and Karl Orit also read on stage.

Cagalingan, a member of Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo, recited his political poems “Pamamahay” and “Distansya Amigo,” the first a critique of traditional politicians and the second evoking the sadness and burden of being away from home, like the overseas Filipino worker.

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Orit, president of the Cavite Young Writers Association, read an excerpt from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, which is about the journey of a soldier named Billy Pilgrim during World War II and the trauma of the war.

The on-going peace talks between Colombia and FARC parallel the negotiations between the Philippine government and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front to end the decades-old conflict.


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