Weeks ago, I was tasked by Sir Ian to introduce Ma'am Marj Evasco in her lecture on Cebuano poetry during the 2007 Literatura Festival. Marjorie Evasco is one of my favorite poets and she knows that I'm here number one fan in Silliman.(Sir Ian told her and my friends can attest to that.) Who would say no to this seasonal offer? As far as I can remember, this is probably my first time to introduce a speaker--and of all the speakers in the world, it was Marjorie Evasco, whose poems I memorize heartily.
At the beginning, I thought it was an easy job. Dili man diay, especially when she told me that we still have to wait for Krip Yuson, Gemino Abad and Butch Dalisay because they will also be attending the lecture. Oh my, I don't know if I should be glad or not. I'm finally meeting them, but this also means that they will be listening to my introduction. Then, the trembling began. After Ma'am Padernal's opening remarks, it was mt turn at the podium. From my vantage point, it was both scary and delightful seeing Krip Yuson, Gemino Abad, Butch Dalisay and Ma'am Marj herself listening to me. Haha!
Here's an excerpt of my introduction:
In 1999, she came out with her second collection Ochre Tones: Poems in english and Cebuano, which was launched at the residence of Dr. Edith Lopez Tiempo in Montemar. It took her 12 years to complete this books and calls it "the book of changes anchored upon the primary elements of earth, water, fire and air." It is in this book where she started to reclaim her mother tongue through giving the Cebuano-Visayan translation of her English poems. For her, the shift to becoming a bilingual writer-Cebuano and English-is a political and artistic choice in the context of postcolonial acts of language.
To Ma'am Marj: Thanks for the Heron poetics...