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Virgilio Almario releases revised edition of ‘Jose Corazon de Jesus: Mga Piling Tula’

Edited by Almario and published by San Anselmo Press, the collection features 200+ pages of de Jesus’ Tagalog poems, including the popular “Ang Pagbabalik”, “Ang Pamana”, “Ang Manok Kong Bulik”, “Ang Bato”, “Barong Tagalog”, and the poem-turned-patriotic anthem “Bayan Ko”, and other works.

National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario has released a revised edition of “Jose Corazon de Jesus: Mga Piling Tula.”

Edited by Almario and published by San Anselmo Press, the collection features 200+ pages of de Jesus’ Tagalog poems, including the popular “Ang Pagbabalik”, “Ang Pamana”, “Ang Manok Kong Bulik”, “Ang Bato”, “Barong Tagalog”, and the poem-turned-patriotic anthem “Bayan Ko”, and other works.

Jose Corazon de Jesus was a writer-performer who was dubbed as the Philippines’ “poet of the 20th century,” and “first king of poetry jousts (Balagtasan)”. Almario opens the volume with a 34-page updated essay entitled “Mga Kuwintas ng Bituin at Luha” wherein the National Artist looks back at the life and works of de Jesus. Almario has made tweaks to the 1984 edition (e.g. spelling, choices of poems, etc.) in order to make the collection more relevant and appealing to contemporary readers.

For Almario, de Jesus embodied poetry that is spoken and not just written. He elaborates on this by saying, “May musika at indayog ang wika nitó na mabilisang umaakit sa pakinig. Umiiwas ito sa oskuridad—sa pangyayáring hindi ito maintindihan—at ginagámit ang lahat ng tayutay at larô-sa-salitâ upang magpaliwanag sa ipinahahayag. At hindi ito madalîng gawín!” (“It has its own music and rhythm that quickly catches the ear. It avoids obscurity—because obscurity can be misunderstood—and uses all figures of speech and wordplay to explain what it means. And this is not easy to do!”)

For these reasons, Almario endeavored to research and gather the poems of de Jesus for posterity, so that current and future generations can study, enjoy and proclaim them.

“Jose Corazon de Jesus: Mga Piling Tula” is available through the San Anselmo Publications, Inc. Facebook page, and through Shopee.

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