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Filipino Women Writers and Jose Garcia Villa Essay Sample

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Filipino Women Writers and Jose Garcia Villa Essay Sample

Estrella D. Alfon (July 18, 1917 – December 28, 1983) was a well-known prolific Filipina author who wrote in English. Because of continued poor health, she could manage only an A. A. degree from the University of the Philippines. She then became a member of the U. P. writers club and earned and was given the privileged post of National Fellowship in Fiction post at the U. P. Creative Writing Center. She died in the year 1983 at the age of 66. Estrella Alfon was born in Cebu City in 1917. Unlike other writers of her time, she did not come from the intelligentsia. Her parents were shopkeepers in Cebu.[1] She attended college, and studied medicine.

When she was mistakenly diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to a sanitarium, she resigned from her pre-medical education, and left with an Associate of Arts degree. Alfon has several children: Alan Rivera, Esmeralda “Mimi” Rivera, Brian Alfon, Estrella “Twinkie” Alfon, and Rita “Daday” Alfon (deceased). She has 10 grandchildren. Her youngest daughter, was a stewardess for Saudi Arabian Airlines, and was part of the Flight 163 crew on August 19, 1980, when an in-flight fire forced the aircraft to land in Riyadh. A delayed evacuation resulted in the death of everyone aboard the flight. Alfon died on December 28, 1983, following a heart attack suffered on-stage during Awards night of the Manila Film Festival.

Professional

She was a student in Cebu when she first published her short stories, in periodicals such as Graphic Weekly Magazine, Philippine Magazine, and the Sunday Tribune. She was a storywriter, playwright, and journalist. In spite of being a proud Cebuana, she wrote almost exclusively in English. She published her first story, “Grey Confetti”, in the Graphic in 1935. She was the only female member of the Veronicans, an avant garde group of writers in the 1930s led by Francisco Arcellana and H.R. Ocampo, she was also regarded as their muse. The Veronicans are recognized as the first group of Filipino writers to write almost exclusively in English and were formed prior to the World War II. She is also reportedly the most prolific Filipina writer prior to World War II. She was a regular contributor to Manila-based national magazines, she had several stories cited in Jose Garcia Villa’s annual honor rolls. Alfon was one writer who unashamedly drew from her own real-life experiences.

In some stories, the first-person narrator is “Estrella” or “Esther.” She is not just a writer, but one who consciously refers to her act of writing the stories. In other stories, Alfon is still easily identifiable in her first-person reminiscences of the past: evacuation during the Japanese occupation; estrangement from a husband; life after the war. In the Espeleta stories, Alfon uses the editorial “we” to indicate that as a member of that community, she shares their feelings and responses towards the incidents in the story. But she sometimes slips back to being a first-person narrator. The impression is that although she shares the sentiments of her neighbors, she is still a distinct personality who detaches herself from the scene in order to understand it better.

This device of separating herself as narrator from the other characters is contained within the larger strategy of ?distantiation? that of the writer from her strongly autobiographical material. – Thelma E. Arambulo| ”| In the 1950s, her short story, “Fairy Tale for the City”, was condemned by the Catholic League of the Philippines as being “obscene”.[3] She was even brought to court on these charges. While many of her fellow writers did stand by her, many did not. These events hurt her deeply.[1] In spite of having only an A.A. degree, she was eventually appointed as a professor of Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines, Manila. She was a member of the U.P. Writers Club, she held the National Fellowship in Fiction post at the U.P. Creative Writing Center in 1979.[5] She would also serve on the Philippine Board of Tourism in the 1970s.

Stories
* Magnificence and Other Stories (1960)
* Stories of Estrella Alfon (1994) (published posthumously)
* Servant Girl (short story)
* English

Jose Garcia Villa

Jose Garcia Villa (August 5, 1908 – February 7, 1997) was a Filipino poet, literary critic, short story writer, and painter. He was awarded the National Artist of the Philippines title for literature in 1973 as well as the Guggenheim Fellowship in creative writing by Conrad Aiken. He is known to have introduced the “reversed consonance rime scheme” in writing poetry, as well as the extensive use of punctuation marks—especiallycommas, which made him known as the Comma Poet. He used the penname Doveglion (derived from “Dove, Eagle, Lion”), based on the characters he derived from himself.

These animals were also explored by another poet e.e. cummings in Doveglion, Adventures in Value, a poem dedicated to Villa. Villa was born on August 5, 1908, in Manila’s Singalong district. His parents were Simeon Villa (a personal physician of Emilio Aguinaldo, the founding President of the First Philippine Republic) and Guia Garcia (a wealthy landowner).He graduated from the University of the Philippines Integrated School and the University of the Philippines High School in 1925. Villa enrolled on a Pre-Medical course in the University of the Philippines, but then switched to Pre-Law course. However, he realized that his true passion was in the arts. Villa first tried painting, but then turned into creative writing after reading Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson.

Writing career

Villa’s tart poetic style was considered too aggressive at that time. In 1929 he published Man Songs, a series of erotic poems, which the administrators in UP found too bold and was even fined Philippine peso for obscenity by the Manila Court of First Instance. In that same year, Villa won Best Story of the Year from Philippine Free Press magazine for Mir-I-Nisa. He also received P1,000 prize money, which he used to migrate to the United States. He enrolled at the University of New Mexico, wherein he was one of the founders of Clay, a mimeograph literary magazine.He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and pursued post-graduate work at Columbia University.Villa had gradually caught the attention of the country’s literary circles, one of the few Asians to do so at that time. After the publication of Footnote to Youth in 1933, Villa switched from writing prose to poetry, and published only a handful of works until 1942.

During the release of Have Come, Am Here in 1942, he introduced a new rhyming scheme called “reversed consonance” wherein, according to Villa: “The last sounded consonants of the last syllable, or the last principal consonant of a word, are reversed for the corresponding rhyme. Thus, a rhyme for near would be run; or rain, green, reign.” In 1949, Villa presented a poetic style he called “comma poems”, wherein commas are placed after every word. In the preface of Volume Two, he wrote: “The commas are an integral and essential part of the medium: regulating the poem’s verbal density and time movement: enabling each word to attain a fuller tonal value, and the line movement to become more measures. Villa worked as an associate editor for New Directions Publishing in New York City between 1949 to 1951, and then became director of poetry workshop at City College of New York from 1952 to 1960.

He then left the literary scene and concentrated on teaching, first lecturing in The New School. The New School for Social Research from 1964 to 1973, as well as conducting poetry workshops in his apartment. Villa was also a cultural attaché to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations from 1952 to 1963, and an adviser on cultural affairs to the President of the Philippines beginning 1968.

Death

On February 5, 1997, at the age of 88, Jose was found in a coma in his New York apartment and was rushed to St. Vincent Hospital in the Greenwich area. His death two days later was attributed to “cerebral stroke and multilobar pneumonia”. He was buried on February 10 in St. John’s Cemetery in New York, wearing a Barong Tagalog.

Personal

In 1946 Villa married Rosemarie Lamb, with whom he has two sons, Randy and Lance. They annulled ten years later. He also has three grandchildren.

Works

As an editor, Villa first published Philippine Short Stories: Best 25 Short Stories of 1928 in 1929, an anthology of Filipino short stories written in English literature English that were mostly published in the literary magazine Philippine Free Press for that year. It is the second anthology to have been published in the Philippines, after Philippine Love Stories by editor Paz Márquez-Benítez in 1927. His first collection of short stories that he has written were published under the title Footnote to Youth: Tales of the Philippines and Others in 1933; while in 1939, Villa publishedMany Voices, his first collection poems, followed by Poems by Doveglion in 1941.

Other collections of poems include Have Come, Am Here (1942), Volume Two (194 in that year when he edited. The Doveglion Book of Philippine Poetry in English from 1910. Three years later, he released a follow-up for The Portable Villa entitled The Essential Villa.Villa, however, went under “self-exile” after the 1960s, even though he was nominated for several major literary awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. This was perhaps because of oppositions between his formalism (literature)formalist style and the advocates of proletarian literature who misjudged him as a petty bourgeois.

Villa only “resurfaced” in 1993 with an anthology entitled Charlie Chan Is Dead, which was edited by Jessica Hagedorn Several reprints of Villa’s past works were done, including Appasionata: Poems in Praise of Love in 1979, A Parliament of Giraffes (a collection of Villa’s poems for young readers, with Tagalog language Tagalog translation provided by Larry Francia), and The Anchored Angel: Selected Writings by Villa that was edited by Eileen Tabios with a foreword provided by Hagedorn (both in 1999). Among his popular poems include When I Was No Bigger Than A Huge, an example of his “comma poems”, and The Emperor’s New Sonnet (a part of Have Come, Am Here) which is basically a blank sheet of paper.

Paz Marquez Benitez

She was Born in 1894 in Lucena City, Quezon. Marquez – Benítez authored the first Filipino modern English language short story, Dead Stars, published in the Philippine Herald in 1925. Born into the prominent Marquez family of Quezon province, she was among the first generation of Filipino people trained in the American education system which used English as the medium of instruction. She graduated high school in Tayabas High School now, Quezon National High School and college from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912. “Marquez”Benitez. She was a member of the first freshman class of the University of the Philippines, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912. Two years after graduation, she married UP College of Education Dean Francisco Benítez with whom she had four children.

Márquez-Benítez later became a teacher at the University of the Philippines, who taught short-story writing and had become an influential figure to many Filipino writers in the English language, such as Loreto Paras-Sulit, Paz M. Latorena Arturo Belleza Rotor,Bienvenido N. Santos and Francisco Arcellana. The annually held Paz Marquez-Benitez Lectures in the Philippines honors her memory by focusing on the contribution of Filipino women writers to Philippine Literature in the English language. Though she only had one more published short story after “Dead Stars” entitled “A Night In The Hills”, she made her mark in Philippine literature because her work is considered the first modern Philippine short story. For Marquez-Benitez, writing was a lifelong occupation. In 1919 she founded “Woman’s Home Journal”, the first women’s magazine in the country.

Also in the same year, she and other six women who were prominent members of Manila’s social elites, namely Clara Aragon, Concepcion Aragon, Francisca Tirona Benitez, Carolina Ocampo Palma, Mercedes Rivera, and Socorro Marquez Zaballero, founded the Philippine Women’s College now Philippine Women’s University. “Filipino Love Stories”, reportedly the first anthology of Philippine stories in English by Filipinos, was compiled in 1928 by Marquez-Benitez from the works of her students. When her husband died in 1951, she took over as editor of the Philippine Journal of Education at UP. She held the editorial post for over two decades. In 1995, her daughter, Virginia Benitez-Licuanan wrote her biography, “Paz Marquez-Benitez: One Woman’s Life, Letters, and Writings.”

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