‘Prose and Poetry’ by Jaime Gil de Biedma

FOR TODAY at 6 p.m.:

“Las Tres Marias” opens at Qube Gallery in Crossroads, Banilad. Michelline, Beatrix and Maxine Syjuco exhibit their latest sculptures, paintings and installations, up to June 7.

The Mandani Bay show gallery will be launched on site, regarded as the finest show gallery in the country, by Hongkong Land and Taft Properties, in Mandaue City by the sea.

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“Jaime Gil de Biedma in the Philippines Prose and Poetry/Prosa y Poesia” was launched on April 23 at the Ayala Tower One & Exchange Plaza along Ayala Avenue in Makati.

It was organized by Instituto Cervantes as one of the highlights of its celebration for this year’s El Dia Internacional del Libro (International Book Day). The book has been published by the Vibal Foundation.

Barcelona-based Jaime Gil de Biedma (1929-1990) is one of the most enigmatic and least understood figures of the late 20th century Spanish literature.

His life and work involved extensive travel to and immersion in the Philippines, a country which formed him as the United States did for the other great Spanish poet of the 20th century, Federico Garcia Lorca.

The complete poetry is accompanied by extensive notes taken from Miguel Dalmau’s monumental biography as well as an international roster of literary scholars.

Gil de Biedma’s diary has been enriched for the first time by Filipino scholar Wystan de la Peña with over 500 literary and biographical notes, thus affording the first-time reader a deeper understanding of the art and times of the Spanish writer.

Gathered for the first time in one bilingual slim yet complete poetic anthology The Persons of the Verb (Las Personas del Verbo), and his posthumously published diary Portrait of the Artist in 1956 (Retrato del Artista en 1956), can both be interpreted as double autobiographies where the poetic verses are much influenced by ruminations in prose.

Both the book and its accompanying 20-minute documentary attempt to reconcile the many contradictory personas of the poet.

By daytime he was an upper-crust gentleman, a high-ranking executive of Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas (Tabacalera), and a dutiful son.

By night, he was a brooding poet, a voracious reader, a nocturnal adventurer, a vivacious drinking party host and a rabid pursuer of pleasure.

Gil de Biedma’s lineage as a chronicler is traced through 300 years of Hispano-Filipino encounters from Spaniards Gaspar de San Agustin, Menceslao Retana and Fray Juan Delgado to Filipino hero Jose Rizal.

Gil de Biedma’s body of work could be claimed to be the most deeply reflective Hispanic post-colonial chronicle. Fiercely conscious of the two countries’ racial history, he sought to transcend the divide with both his writings and his personal relations.

Unlike other earlier Spanish writers, he boldly uses his writing and sexuality to forge a bond of commonality between himself as a Spaniard and the Filipino.

Jaime Gil de Biedma lived true to his promise that he first posited in his poetry: that the greatest art he could create would be his very own life.

TAGS: art, books, literature, poet, poetry, writer
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