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The Literary Apprentice 2009

The Literary Apprentice 2009 is a literary folio from the University of the Philippines Writers Club. It features works of the organization's members, alumni, and works from contributors. The best thing about it is its cover. Few local books accomplish a cover that others are envious of. I am not exaggerating. Well, okay, I am. But I can even go as far as saying, the cover of the book is fuckable. Yes, fuckable.

But as I am too lazy, imaginary audience, you all just have to settle for an old-school webcam shot. Keep in mind, the cover's prettier that my webcam will allow it to be.

First off, poems. To be specific, poems that I do not understand. Or whatever genre they want to classify it. But I'm classifying it under I-do-not-understand-these-so-I-don't-really-care-about-these-works. Yes, it's me, not them.

"Precipe" by Judd Willis
"Endo" by Debbie Nieto
"Last Day in the Red-Light Division of Fine Arts" by Alexandra Paredes
"Watermelon Sugarbaby" by Wyatt Ong
"Pigs on their way to slaughter" by Ayn Frances dela Cruz
"Highly Improbable but Likely" by Leslie Marie Prestoza
"Focus" by Wyatt Ong
"Folds" by Bernaddette Canay
"After" by Melissa Villa-Real Basmayor
"Everything merges with the night" by Adam David

With that aside, let's go on with the show. I'm warning you, this is a long show.

1. "Wingmaker" by Clara Buenconsejo

This is the writer that really made an impression on me among the others in this folio. I guess I'm just inclined to like pop-culturish stuff. "Wingmaker" is about someone who brought wings from an old mysterious man with goals of winning in a cosplay. I like how there is no blatant sense into its ending. Just cuteness.

2. "Holes" by Bernadette Canay

A poem that has blood and guns in it. I like it already.

3. "Espasyo" by Sierra Mae C. Paraan

A simple erotic piece that left me saying, "Aw, that's nice." Although I think it was meant to be sad.

4. "Quiapo" by John Paul Abellera

A story about a beggar kid exploited by a foreign photojournalist. It has potential but I guess that thing that bothers me about this short story is that I don't believe the author actually captured how a beggar kid would think. It still comes off as what a bourgeoisie author would think a beggar kid would think.

5. "Guhit" by Mary Anne M. Umali

THIS IS THE BEST STORY EVER. Kidding. Anyhow, it's weird (and probably unacceptable) to review this, I'll just dish the summary. It's about a high schooler obsessed with dissection.

6. "Bilang ng pinaslang na mamahayag tumataas" by Sierra Mae C. Paraan

A short story on journalist killings from a sad personal point of view. The author adopted an appropriate storytelling method and there's something very visual about its strong, silent ending. Which of course, is always fabulous.

7. "Desisyon" by Alexandra Paredes

A poem I felt I've already read from a high school publication.

8. "Prelude to Redemption" by Santiago Villafania

Summary: poets will redeem their Adamhood. Wait, so poets have to become... men?

9. "Latchkey Child" by Debbie Nieto

It's about, surprise! A very happy kid. Okay, it's not. It's about a latchkey child. How did you guess? The child also self-lacerates. Literally, with a blade. It's a sad poem. It's a sad poem that hates the mother. Pffft. People, stop blaming your mother for all your emptiness!

10. "Lighter" by Carmina Jariel

Just another cigarette poem.

11. "At night he tiptoes" by Oscar Serquina

A boy who witnesses his mother having sex. I actually liked it. Minus the jargon.

12. "When Will God Be Sick" by Jezriel Mangalit

So, what I can I say about this poem? Um, the title is cute.

13. "Ferryboat Rides" by Maria EJ Pia Benosa

I love it. No, not because I can relate to company outings, shut up. I love it because it's old school perfect. It's about an engaged woman finally admitting to herself during a company outing that her soon-to-be husband is an asshole.

14. "Wilting" by Leirald Reyes

Just another wilting flower poem.

15. "Alethea" by U Eliserio

Another BEST STORY EVERRR. Okay, kidding again. Another work it'd be weird for me to review because I was a part of its editing. It's about lesbians. And the usual guilt game. I still have to say that the author has written better works on lesbianism than this story.

16. "Sa Panggabi" by Bernadette Canay

A simple poem of bedtime storytelling. Cute and nostalgic enough.

17. Excerpt from Si Maricar, Ang Puno, Ang Libro, at Ang Baby by Surot Matias

Probably an excerpt from a chic lit novel. If chic lit means characters about working girls and their gay friends. It's a funny story. I just really hate those Terry Pratchett footnotes. I think only Terry Pratchett does them footnotes well.

18. "If this isn't Love," by Aaron Galzote

It's a story about a guy in love/obsessed with a prostitute. You would think that would make a proper plot enough but there's something utterly wrong about this story that I can't pinpoint. Probably sexism.

19. "Southbound" by Pola Del Monte

You know those typical pop songs with typical lyrics that go "I miss you/ Now the sky is blue/ But what do I do/ I'm so in love with you" And you say, ugh, this is so typical but you say awww anyway because you've just experienced heartbreak. "Southbound" is like that.

20. "Familiarity" by Ivy Jean Vibar

Another mother angst poem. But at least there's a reversal of roles between the father and the mother.

21. "Pimples" by Zaldy Dandan

I had a teacher in high school who feels she's a great poet because she writes poems about spiders. She said great poets can write about anything ordinary. This is the point where some students secretly smirk. And somehow, the anecdote I just shared with you, imaginary audience, has something to do with this "Pimple" poem.

22. "This Side's for Loners" by Ronn Angeles

Um, so a poem for the loners. I think I'm being too harsh and I really want to stop being harsh. But it's corny.

23. "III. Pag-iwas sa Kalungkutan" by Genaro Gojo Cruz

One comment: Why do we like hurting cats?

24. "Bugbog" by Chuckberry J. Pascual

Rape. Effectively disturbing.

25. "Listahan ni Aling Amelya" by Ronn Angeles

One comment: Um, yeah.

26. "Bulalakaw" by Ronald R. Ramos Jr.

This work is about? Guess. Again, I hate being mean but is this all we can come up with?

27. "Overdue" by Debbie Nieto

A rape poem done proper. I can go as far as saying it's cool. And you don't see the words rape and cool together much.

28. "He said/She thinks" by Alexandra Paredes

How heterosexual love works. Nice because it's true. And it's always nice when you can mix the function of words and love together.

29. "Kung Gagahasain Ang Mga Cyborg Ba'y Dumaraing Din?" by Sarah Grutas

I started this story thinking I was going to be bored with it. And with that condescending air of "Meh, yeah, yeah, you write about cyborgs and you're cool?" But the author proved me wrong, and I love being proved wrong. It's a nice blend of identity and woman issues. And let's not forget, kick-ass.

30. "Aguinaldo" by Carmina Jariel

One cute feature of The Literay Apprentice 2009 is you can play with the layout and blend in pictures with your work for the proper delivery you would like your work to have. I don't get why the text of Aguinaldo is placed sideways. It's as if it's trying to be cute.

31. "Mileage" by Sarah Matias

A short story on a common life evolution of a bourgeois family. It goes against the rule of stereotypical-characters-for-stories-suck. This story does not suck. This story is win.

32. "The tao of the motel room attendant" by Zaldy Dandan

I would have loved this story if I can suspend disbelief. But reality crashes and makes me ask, motel attendants talk fancy? Wait, how come the motel I've been in doesn't have an attendant? Fuck, I'm cheap.

33. "Regular Casanova" by April E. Agustin

So how can I summarize this story without ruining its ending. I can't. Anyhow, it's interesting enough.

34. "Tira-tira" by Phillip Kimpo Jr.

First I was like, huh? And then I was like, oh! Those shock-stories mixed with urban poverty.

35. "Isa lang naman ang dahilan ng paghuhuramentado ng kanyang lama't loob" by Sierra Mae C. Paraan

Sierra, darling, I love you. Don't hate me for this comment. The story is typical meta.

36. "Hunger" by Clara Buenconsejo

Infection? Zombies? Aliens? Or is it just plain cannibalism? Favorite story in this collection! I'm shallow and predictable but who cares?

37. "The Infinite Lives of Marie San Juan" by Anne Lagamayo

Different girls, familiar girls, familiar stories. The author aced content and form. The kind of story you'd want to read again.

38. "Manitingon and the Skymaiden" by Kristine Marie T. Reynaldo

One of those inspired-by-epic stories that tries to be all Filipino-like but ends up being colonial. Also, if I were the protagonist, I won't forgive his or her jerky father. The story has lots of potential though.

39. "Night Parade" by Francelle Napura

So it talks about lights. During the night. And um, I believe it hopes to deliver a sense of nostalgia which I hoped to feel. But I didn't. Which confuses me because it's written well enough. There's no... umph to it.


sarah said...

Kinakabahan ako nung binabasa ko yung unang part ng review na ito. Buti na lang nagustuhan mo kwento ko. Haha! Mabuhay ka!

Anonymous said...

I know this post is beyond ancient but is it possible to ask for a copy of "Holes" by Bernadete Canay? She's one of my colleagues at work right now and she keeps telling me that there's no way I'll be able to read that poem of hers. I'd already read "Folds" and liked it so I'm sure I'm going to love this one. I just can't seem to find it anywhere online. I hope you reply to this comment because I have very few options left when it comes to looking for that poem. Thank you very much!

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