Immersion in literature forms national solidarity – Thomasian scholar

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Thomasian poet and critic J. Neil Garcia delivers his speech during the Paglulunsad 2018, the midyear book launching of UP Press, last Aug. 3 at Balay Kalinaw in UP-Diliman. (Photo by Hazel Grace S. Posadas/ The Varsitarian)

A THOMASIAN poet and critic has called for Filipinos’ deeper immersion into literature to boost national solidarity, during Paglulunsad 2018, the midyear book launch of the University of the Philippines (UP) Press last Aug. 3.

“The mission to commit ourselves to the ideals of national solidarity, for example, requires a bookish or textual—rather than an oral—memory,” said journalism alumnus J. Neil Garcia in his speech at Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman.

Garcia, director of UP Press, said Filipinos are not “bookish,” which makes them easily persuaded with hearsay.

“[W]e cannot really remember the way books remember. Now and then it seems that we change our minds as easily as tsismis (rumor) changes mouths,” Garcia said.

The two-time Palanca awardee added that Filipino books exist to enrich one’s imagination for “a better reality.”

“Among such truths is the dream of an aborning and more inclusive community that the nation—or, indeed, on another level of argument, the entirety of the human world—must ultimately be,” he said.

Garcia is the author of “Philippine Gay Culture, the Last Thirty Years: Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to MSM,” which won the National Book Award for Literary Criticism. H. N. Lavarias

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