Interestingly, the four contributors from Central Visayas chosen to be part of the Ubod 2020 anthology are all men. And even if the poetry suites begin with poems of desire for a beloved, what I’d like to dwell on, however, is the commonality of all the submissions in the tendency towards the “self reflexivity”, particularly towards the polemical.
In Kenneth Michael Baba’s suite of poems, his last, “Diskurso”, he raises the concern of how the politician’s empty promises will eventually render the grandfather’s three-year-old apo into one of the faceless citizens in a future where each constituent will be treated like trash.
In Kevin Lagunda’s final poem in his suite of three, “Panagtagbo” speaks of the meeting with the self in which the lost persona is advised by his shadow to get to know himself and, instead of retracing his steps, to return to the path where his feet have never trodden yet.
Still squaring off with the self, and even without the caveat that the short piece was a not a story, “Testimonya”, by CD Borden explores the feeling of one caged like the birds in his memory and imaginings. On the other hand, one can read it as a positive coping with imprisonment where memory and imaginings serve as the escape from the ever-spiraling condition of one who is confined.
Finally, Charles Dominic Sanchez’s direct attack of the elitist education of private schools in “Looking Back on and Reassessing an Education”, is not only a commentary on the resulting insensitiveness to the plight of the poor and the apathy towards societal struggles. The essay is also an honest berating of the author’s upbringing, a cathartic release from a guilty middle-class haven one usually becomes trapped in.
The four writers featured here are certainly a welcome addition to a new breed of writers needed in our society today—one who is not afraid to assess himself and speak of the personal, but also transcends the personal to unflinchingly announce to the wider community the problems and needs of the time.