New book of Kinaray-a poetry by Jose Edison Tondares launched

Mga Laragway halin sa Paraiso ("Photographs from Paradise") is Jose Edison Tondares’s collection of Kinaray-a poetry with translations to English.  Published by the Kasingkasing Press,  Mga Laragway halin sa Paraiso is the most recent literary output of significance from Antique, receiving praise from top literary figures of Western Visayas.  Tondares is a pioneer advocate and writer of Philippine Literature in Kinaray-a.

The book is introduced by Dr. Genevieve L. Asenjo, Chair of the Literature Department, College of Liberal Arts of the De La Salle University.  In her introduction, Asenjo says: “The archipelago is in Photographs from paradise – the world, rivers, fields, desert, roads, steps of the bamboo stairs, room ‘that opens doors to sunrise.’ Here are the seasons: the edge of spring, long Christmases, month of the indigenous peoples, the coming of monsoons, dreaming and remembering the skin… Kinaray-a is Tondares’s touchstone, giving us these pictures – the blue of the sky – so we may listen once more to the water, remember the salt maker, keen the senses at dusk for new dreams where we cross the river together; in our cold, our concern for each other even greater.”

Dr. Isidoro M. Cruz, Secretary of the National Committee on Literary Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, says of the book: ‘“Mga Laragway halin sa Paraiso”, the poem that girds Jose Edison Tondares’s anthology, reminds us that writing poetry is like language or desire: the route to our intended end does not quite bring us there.  It brings us elsewhere, to this liminal space between speech and muteness, between fulfillment and loss―or, as the persona says, between “welcome or goodbye.”  The poem is not quite like any other I have read in recent years, in that wisdom is arrived at by not getting there…  What is hidden may very well be what we seek.  In his poetry, Tondares maps the route to that which we seek… and so we read him, he who is not quite like any other poet I have read in recent years.  Here is significant writing from a different place that hides so many stories!”

Dulce Maria Deriada, Humanities professor at the University of the Philippines says, “Jose Edison Tondares’ poetry is a feast for the wandering soul as it takes one to places – from the scorching Middle East to the flaming Amazon to the fiery recesses of one’s heart.  Powerful, lyrical, intuitive, this collection affirms Tondares’ standing as one of the best poets in the region.”

The book was launched last February 26, 2020 in St. Anthony's College, San Jose, Antique.

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