Shelter Gallery | November 25 - 26, 2022

“Recitations,” a [reading room] two-night event, occurred on Nov 25 & 26 from 6pm-9pm. [reading room] collaborates with writers, artists, and other cultural workers on the provision of post-studio/post-writing spaces to allow for the critical engagement and reconsideration of the objects of culture that we author. "Recitations" was a makeshift assembly of committed practitioners (artists, writers, scholars, educators, activists) attending to the reading of selected texts from the group’s own members. 

W. H. Auden

Now home is miles away, and miles away 

No matter who, and I am quite alone

And cannot understand what people say,

But like a dog must guess it by the tone;

At any language other than my own

I’m no great shakes, and here I’ve found no tutor

Nor sleeping lexicon to make me cuter.


Angela Gabrielle Fabunan - Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art"

The VYP Elizabeth Bishop Series: Poet Angela Gabrielle Fabunan reads Bishop’s villanelle “One Art” where Bishop contemplates the experience of loss as a manageable experience that can be mastered by practice, like an art – even though her own lingering over the details of her beloved, whom she fears losing, clearly suggests that the poet herself hasn’t mastered that art.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Angela Gabrielle Fabunan - "At the Fishhouses" by Elizabeth Bishop

The VYP Elizabeth Bishop Series: Poet Angela Gabrielle Fabunan reads Bishop’s contemplative poem “At the Fishhouses” where Bishop solidly places the reader into a scene created out of her masterful dedication to details of sights, smells, and sensations, turning the mundanity of what is actually described into a magical existence where the sea and the earth have an unmistakable influence on the human body, and where "knowledge" flows not just through minds but through the tangible earthly elements the body is created from.

Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
a dark purple-brown,
and his shuttle worn and polished.
The air smells so strong of codfish
it makes one's nose run and one's eyes water.
The five fishhouses have steeply peaked roofs
and narrow, cleated gangplanks slant up
to storerooms in the gables
for the wheelbarrows to be pushed up and down on.
All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea,
swelling slowly as if considering spilling over,
is opaque, but the silver of the benches,
the lobster pots, and masts, scattered
among the wild jagged rocks,
is of an apparent translucence
like the small old buildings with an emerald moss
growing on their shoreward walls.
The big fish tubs are completely lined
with layers of beautiful herring scales
and the wheelbarrows are similarly plastered
with creamy iridescent coats of mail,
with small iridescent flies crawling on them.
Up on the little slope behind the houses,
set in the sparse bright sprinkle of grass,
is an ancient wooden capstan,
cracked, with two long bleached handles
and some melancholy stains, like dried blood,
where the ironwork has rusted.
The old man accepts a Lucky Strike.
He was a friend of my grandfather.
We talk of the decline in the population
and of codfish and herring
while he waits for a herring boat to come in.
There are sequins on his vest and on his thumb.
He has scraped the scales, the principal beauty,
from unnumbered fish with that black old knife,
the blade of which is almost worn away.

Down at the water's edge, at the place
where they haul up the boats, up the long ramp
descending into the water, thin silver
tree trunks are laid horizontally
across the gray stones, down and down
at intervals of four or five feet.

Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
element bearable to no mortal,
to fish and to seals . . . One seal particularly
I have seen here evening after evening.
He was curious about me. He was interested in music;
like me a believer in total immersion,
so I used to sing him Baptist hymns.
I also sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."
He stood up in the water and regarded me
steadily, moving his head a little.
Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge
almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug
as if it were against his better judgment.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
the clear gray icy water . . . Back, behind us,
the dignified tall firs begin.
Bluish, associating with their shadows,
a million Christmas trees stand
waiting for Christmas. The water seems suspended
above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
icily free above the stones,
above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.

Invocations to the Muse 

Libraria | February 20, 2023

At Libraria Bookstore in 58 EJ Blanco, Dumaguete City, we had our first of many continuing events. This one was on the theme of love, called "Invocations to the Muse." Poets gave their own evocative and personal reflections on love, allowing the audience vulnerability and introspection. A night of poetry, it was well-attended by many local artists and writers.

Resonance - A Celebration of Women's Voices Through Stories and Songs

Libraria | March 31, 2023

At Libraria Bookstore in 58 EJ Blanco, Dumaguete City, we had our second event. This one was on the theme of women's voices, called "Resonance." With musical numbers by local artists and spoken word, fiction, and poetry by local writers, this event shed a light on the importance of women's issues in today's society. A night of stories and songs, it was well-attended by members of the community. 

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