Waray poems by Voltaire Araza, read for a fundraiser in New York City

The video is in honor of poets from Leyte and Samar. It was terrible, in the days after the storm, to hear silence from my friends, the Waray poets, on Facebook. I realized, if one of these poets disappear, we lose a culture. So I wished to read Waray poems when asked to contribute for a typhoon fundraiser by Asian American Writers Workshop. Voltaire is from my mom’s hometown, Barugo—he’s a lyrical writer who puns and plays with Waray and boldly uses the every day to create meaning. Here’s from a review I wrote of his poetry:

The rich use of verbals throughout this collection is not just incidentally an aspect of the Waray; these are also the poet’s choices.  These voluptuously lucid portraits of the Waray by verbs occur because of Oyzon/Araza’s aesthetic: he believes that our ordinary lives are powerful, and the power of the ordinary is the arena of art.  Verbs are the snapshot of that individuation, conjugating, dividing and splicing time and moments, establishing the concrete absolutely.  Oyzon does this well.  His poetry makes apparent and transparent the nature of our language, which is, of course, our self.  And this is why an maupay hini nga koleksyon an paggamit ni Oyzon hin Waray: maabtik, nakakapanguga, pataraw-an, mahinumdumon. [the good thing about this collection is Oyzon/Araza’s use of Waray: shrewd, astonishing, amusing, reflective]

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