Writing poetry, creative nonfiction involves ‘revealing oneself’

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WRITING, particularly poetry and creative nonfiction, always involves the revelation of one’s self.

This was the message of Thomasian creative nonfictionist Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo and poet Ned Parfan in the roundtable discussion dubbed “Maskara: UST Authors’ Series” last Feb. 21 at the Tanghalang Teresita Quirino.

“In choosing to write, the best strategy is that you have to be revealing. You uncover everything about you. I think it’s a deliberate choice, [and] the less you’re inhibited, the less afraid you are to reveal,” Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo, director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS), explained that writing creative nonfiction involved “making bargain” with one’s readers.

“When you declare that your work is nonfiction, you’re actually promising the reader that you’re telling the truth and that you’re not inventing your persona here,” she said.

Parfan, a CCWLS fellow, said all forms of writing were personal, with writers having the “freedom to reveal” certain things.

“[I]kaw lang makasusulat nun. Even when you’re doing conceptual words or using other people’s words, ikaw pa rin ‘yung nagdecide nu’ng design niya or nung sequence niya,” Parfan said.

Hidalgo’s book “The Thing with Feathers: My Book of Memories,” published by the UST Publishing House, and Parfan’s poetry collection “Tilt Me and I Bend,” published by the University of the Philippines Press, were both relaunched in the event.

Hidalgo’s book is a collection of memoirs about her writing life, while Parfan’s poetry collection mainly deals with his desires and himself as a person. Both books were published last year.

The UST Authors’ Series is an event that showcases the latest works of CCWLS fellows.

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