Monday, April 13, 2009

To Yet Another Jose: Prison Deform

With Jose Dalisay, Hwang Sok-yong, Khet Mar, and Susan Rosenberg; moderated by Jackson Taylor. Even for those with a limited sentence, the deforming pressure of incarceration affects the mind, body, and spirit. Here, four writers each with personal experiences of the prison system—some as political detainees—will discuss the influence of that exile on their work.

"I belonged to a small wave of Filipino writers that included Fidelito Cortes, Gina Apostol, Ramon Bautista, and, a little later, Eric Gamalinda and Ricardo de Ungria. In one of the more remarkable success stories of its kind, Gina Apostol had written John Barth directly at Johns Hopkins; this was all before e-mail, and had sent him some of her stories; he responded with an offer of an assistantship. All of us were friends here, and all of us found ourselves scattered all over America within a year or so of each other. Some-- Cortes, Bautista, Apostol, and Gamalinda would stay on. It seemed a good time to be a Filipino writer in America. As I was finishing my PhD, around 1990, the big news was Jessica Hagedorn and the thumbs-up review she got from John Updike in The New Yorker."--Butch Dalisay, "Writing for America"

This event is part of The Fifth Annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 27-May 3, 2009.

Wednesday, April 29, 6–7:30 pm, free and open to the public,
co-sponsored by the PEN Prison Writing Committee

The Martin E. Segal Theater, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10016, phone (212) 817-1860

Saturday, April 4, 2009

From Jose To Jose

From the AAWW website:

JOIN US FOR A SPECIAL reception in celebration of two heroes of Philippine literature and of the Philippine-American heritage and experience, and for a lively discussion and refreshment.

Noli Me Tangere is the great Philippine novel by Jose Rizal (1861-1896), a love story set during the Spanish occupation, and the story of a young gentleman who returns to the Philippines from Europe after his father's death. This powerful, moving novel and its sequel, El Filibusterismo were banned by Spanish authorities. Rizal was subsequently executed for sedition and is the best-known Philippine national hero.

Harold Augenbraum discusses Rizal's life and reads from his translation of the Noli, published by Penguin Classics, and then from his translation-in-progress of the Fili. Augenbraum is executive director of the National Book Foundation and a well known translator and critic.

Known as the "Pope of Greenwich Village," Jose Villa (1908-1997) was arguably the most important Asian American writer of the mid-twentieth century, as well as a colleague of modern literary giants such as W.H. Auden and Tennessee Williams. Edith Sitwell called him "a poet with a great, even an astounding, and perfectly original gift. . . The best of his poems are among the most beautifully written in our time."

Luis Francia, a well known writer and poet, discusses Villa and reads from his poetry, and will also read from his own book Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago, a semiautobiographical account of life straddling American and Philippine culture which won the Pen Center Beyond the Margin Award and The Asian American Writers' Workshop Literary Award in 2002.

An informal discussion will be encouraged after the presentations. Wine and merienda hors d'oeuvres will be served.
Tickets: $25; students $15; VIP $50. For tickets click here.

Asian-American Writers' Workshop, 16 West 32nd Street, 10th Floor (between Broadway and 5th Avenue), New York, New York 10001, phone (212) 494-0061