Saturday, January 5, 2013

An email that made me remember these poems

Today I received an email from a certain Mikaela. Here is an excerpt:

Good day to you Ms. Imelda!

Before I start, I must say although there are only a few of your works I could find at the moment, I am already a fan and looking forward to more of your poetry :)

I am currently a student in a university. I have a paper to write on three poems from third-world/Asian poets and originally submitted a proposal with a different set, but when I read your poems "Old House", "Photograph: Father and Kids at Home", "I sing", "Morning Shadows" and "A Little Before Dying" I immediately thought of changing the poems I have to use because they were so close to the heart. I really went through the first five pages of google to search for your works and those were the ones I found.

Now that I've read them over and over again (because understanding poetry takes an immeasurable amount of time for others like me), I still need more information so I could add input to my paper. I know that I'm supposed to be doing this on my own but I'm the kind of reader who gets overly-attached to what she's reading and I really want to know the history behind what I'm reading.

I just had to ask you a few questions because it is intriguing and I'd like to further understand the poetry based from you; if you would do me the honor of answering them.

These are my answers to her questions:

1. Some of your poems are focused primarily on family and within the grounds of their homes; why is that?
In my life, the most meaningful changes and actions happen in the home, with people closest to my heart. My poetry seeks to freeze these moments through words to help me remember, not only the images but more importantly, the feeling. Poetry does a good job of doing this.

2. What is the significance of the number 17 from "Photograph: Father and Kids at Home"? I can't quite put my finger on its juxtaposition to the water meter, and mailbox.
It is the number of the house from my childhood. The same house I grew up in and the place where all of the early milestones in my life happened. This particular poem was written about the photograph.

3. Is the person speaking in first person point of view from "Photograph: Father and Kids at Home" the Father in the title? Is he also the father of his own nephew? Because that's how I understand it especially when you mentioned "naughty grin".
No, the speaker in the poem is the one looking at the photograph, apparently the father's daughter, who is not in the picture. The title is the caption of the photo. The nephew is the observer's nephew.

4. In "A Little Before Dying" was the woman in the poem dying of cancer? She had a slow death, but does the woman have a family? What can you say about its setting?
It was not said what afflicted the woman, it could just be that her loneliness was slowly killing her. It was also not said if she had family, but that she was waiting for "things that will never arrive." And this could be people, or thoughts, or feelings. The setting is obviously the woman's sad and small home, filled with furniture that have sharp corners.

5. "I sing" obviously is about a mother-child relationship; Was the point-of-view based from your own experiences as a mother?

6. Where did you find inspiration for writing "Old House"? I'm referring to the dramatic situation and the figures of speech po (I really loved the line "It has memories of lives other than ours"!!!)
After I left my childhood home in "Photograph: Father and Kids at Home" I, together with my ex-husband, lived in a series of rented houses. I could never forget the image of me trying to wipe off the writings on a cabinet door in an old house we rented in Los Banos, Laguna. I wondered then how many lives were lived in that house, how many people it had known, how much sorrow (or joy) it carried, and so on.

7. I have only to choose three, which would you suggest I pick? I love all of them but which are the ones you love most?
Definitely these three: "Old House," "Photograph: Father and Kids at Home," and "A Little Before Dying".


In the chaos and fullness of my days in the past months (years?), I have forgotten all about poetry. I'd pick up a poetry book, or read an essay, write a few lines now and then. Sometimes I needed to be prompted by patient friends and FB friends (like Angelo Ancheta!) to write a few poetic lines. Daily. Something that I should be doing, but not. Oh, shame on me!

Happy New Year to the one or two readers of this blog.

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