Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Glimpse of the life of Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.

Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., also known as Butch Dalisay was born in Romblon, Philippines in 1954. He spent his grade school years in La Salle Greenhills and graduated in 1966. He completed his secondary eduacation at the Philippine Science High School in 1970. He dropped out of college and worked as a journalist. He was a political detainee during the Martial Law. He was imprisoned for a period of time due to his writings which were against the Marcos Regime. Despite a stall in his collegiate degree, he graduated Cum Laude from the University of the Philippines with a degree in English in 1984. He received an MFA from the University of Michigan in 1988 and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsis- Milwaukee in 1991.

He has won 16 Palanca Awards in 5 genres. He has received numerous awards like the National Book Award and 5 Cultural Center of the Philiippines awards for playwriting. He has published 15 books containing his own writings including Penmanship and Other Stories.


He currently writes for the Philippine Star. Also, he teaches English and Creative Writing in UP (University of the Philippines).

He is married to the artist June Poticar Dalisay. They have one daughter, Demi, born in 1974. He is fond of Macintosh Computers, old fountain pens, '50s watches, and Volkswagen Beetles.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Michael Ondaatje: a Non-Linear Fictionist

Philip Michael Ondaatje, born 12 September 1943) is a Sri Lankan Canadian novelist and poet, perhaps best known for his Booker Prize winning novel adapted into an Academy-Award-winning film, The English Patient.

Born in Sri Lanka, the former Ceylon, of Indian/Dutch ancestry, he went to school in England, and then moved to Canada. He is now a Canadian citizen.

Michael Ondaatje is one of the world’s foremost writers – his artistry and aesthetic have influenced an entire generation of writers and readers. Although he is best known as a novelist, Ondaatje’s work also encompasses memoir, poetry, and film, and reveals a passion for defying conventional form. His memoir of his Sri Lankan childhood is called "Running in the Family". In his transcendent novel The English Patient—later made into the Academy Award-winning film—he explores the stories of people history fails to reveal, intersecting four diverse lives at the end of World War II. His works of fiction include Anil's Ghost, The English Patient, In the Skin of a Lion, Coming Through Slaughter, and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid.

His style of fiction, introduced in Coming Through Slaughter (1976) and mastered in The English Patient (1992), is non-linear which means he creates a narrative by exploring many interconnected snapshots in great detail.

In 1988 Michael Ondaatje was made an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) and two years later became a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In 2000, Michael Ondaatje was awarded the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, the Prix Medicis, the Governor General’s Award, and the Giller Prize for his novel Anil's Ghost. Michael Ondaatje’s most recent nonfiction work is The Conversations: Walter Murch & the Art of Editing Film. His latest novel is entitled Divisadero (2007).

He is the brother of philanthropist and businessman, Christopher Ondaatje.

Ondaatje currently resides in Toronto with his wife, Linda Spalding. Together, they edit the literary journal Brick.

*Joanna Abril*

Sources: www.barclayagency.com/ondaatje, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ondaatje

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Look at Ichi Batacan

Maria Felisa Batacan, also known as Ichi Batacan(picture unavailable), is a fairly new Filipino writer. Her book, Smaller and Smaller Circles, which was published last 2002, won the 1999 Palanca grand prize for novel, the National Book Award from Manila Critics Circle in 2002 and the Third Madrigal-Gonzales First Book Award in 2003. She has a degree in Broadcast Communication and a Master's degree in Art Studies in UP Diliman.

She grew up in an environment where poor people were abundant. There weren't too many job openings during her time here in the Philippines and the economy wasn't also that good. Also, the Philippines she grew up in didn't have a decent police system. Crimes that were reported by people were most of the time left unattended. Policemen were slow in taking action whenever crimes were committed. For the typical Filipino, policemen were very unreliable.

She used these factors as her background in her novel Smaller and Smaller Circles.

She writes quite similar to Dan Brown. She likes to shift from a slow discussion about something to a quick action-packed scene. This makes the story interesting since the readers won't be able to anticipate what's going to happen next. She also likes to describe things in detail, particularly the murders done by the killer in her story. Blood is very abundant. Ichi also provides a look inside her murderer's mind (a first person type of thing) but besides that, nothing is known about the identity of the murderer up until the end, much like what Dan Brown does.

She grew up here in the Philippines (exact place of birth and birth date not available on the net) and is currently a business copy editor for The Straits Times in Singapore.


-patrick sy

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Palm Sunday

by Sandra Nicole Roldan
744 words
created 15 July 2007

She walks into Myeongdong Cathedral, a small wet cedar leaf in her hand. An old gentleman at the church door keeps the leaves fresh in a bucket of water, and hands them out in lieu of the customary palm fronds. Dressed in jeogori and paji, the traditional pajama-like outfits worn by Buddhist monks and old people in Korea, the man greets her in English. He is the only person there to smile at her. Being the only foreigner in church, she stands out, and is mostly ignored.

Inside, the cathedral is more than half empty. The oldest church in Seoul was built in the gothic style, and remains unheated to this day. The air inside is damp and chill, the high vaulted ceiling is crowded with ghosts and echoes. The faithful are largely in their Sunday best: the men in suits, the women in traditional layers of silk reserved for special occasions. The long coats and pashminas are their only concession to weather. Most matrons have lace veils perched like doilies over lacquered hair dyed in shades of caramel and milky tea. In their spring hanbok, the women bloom like rows of tulips, with teal, cerise, chartreuse, and mauve petals.

The mass begins with chimes and clouds of incense. An acolyte speaks from a lectern, the words ringing through the cathedral’s nave even without a microphone. As the cold seeps from the granite floor through her shoes, her socks and into the ankle bones, she realizes her mistake: the mass will be in Korean. Clearly, the English service for foreigners is being held elsewhere. Another look around confirms another suspicion: only she and a young Korean man on the pew behind her appear under fifty. With her brown skin and his fuzzy pink sweater, they are the only ones who look out of place.

The mass is in chumdemal, the formal language used to address authority figures and those of higher rank like parents, professors, middle management, and God. She knows this from the imnidas that regularly appear at the end of each sentence. This early in her language studies, the most she can do is half-heartedly bow and mumble Annyong haseyo at anyone who pays her any attention. She doesn't understand the sermon but takes comfort in knowing that after the rumbling and the hissing, a soft imnida will be murmured at the end. Unlike the fluorescent-lit clap-intensive tambourine-and-guitar charismatic masses back in Manila, this one is a solemn affair. Every single utterance bears the weight of remorse, and the old faithful beat their breasts in a synchronized ritual that feels strangely pre-Vatican II.

She shivers. The thin wool sweater over her cotton blouse is no match for the damp chill that hangs in the air. The young man behind her seems uncomfortable as well. She imagines he is embarrassed. His shoes squeak each time he moves to stand or kneel with the rest of the congregation. From the creak of leather, she knows he has dropped to his knees, like everyone else. She, on the other hand, has chosen to stay seated on the wooden pew, trying to keep warm. There is a rustle behind her, barely discernible from the murmuring all around.

A hand touches the small of her back. At first, just a fingertip tracing a few centimeters of skin between the waistband of her skirt and the hem of her sweater. Then a man’s palm, warm and rough, slides under her clothes to rest briefly on the deep curve above her hip. A moment later, it is gone. For more than an hour, she sits, then stands, then kneels. But she no longer listens for the imnidas, just waits for the unseen palm to touch her again. It never comes. A series of chimes signal the end of mass. She gathers the courage to turn and look at the man behind her. But he is gone. She walks out into the sun this early spring morning, and takes the long subway ride back to her dorm.

Years later, in her tiny Mandaluyong apartment, she will dream of a day in church. A warm hand against her skin and a man’s voice, rumbling and hissing in that language she no longer understands. She will wake up at dawn and see her husband curled up beside her, his body warm with sleep. As sunlight slowly filters through the curtains, she will tell herself over and over: it happened. It really happened.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Jon Scieszka: In the Flesh

Jon Scieszka, a well-known children's author, was born in Flint, Michigan on September 8, 1954. His father, Louis Scieszka was an elementary school principal, and his mother, Shirley was a registered nurse. Jon grew up with five brothers, of which he was the second oldest.

As a child, Jon Scieszka always wanted to become an author, but he decided to attend military school first. He graduated after three years from Culver Military College in Indiana. Jon
then moved to Albion College where he started to study medicine, but ended up getting his B.A. in writing in 1976. He was accepted into John Hopkins Medical School, but instead went to Columbia University where he received his Master of Fine Arts in 1980. Today Jon Scieszka and his wife, Jerilyn, son, Jake, and daughter, Casey, live in Brooklyn, New York.

His influences can basically be summed up in one word: "anything." His inspirations are a combination of what he is reading, the music he is listening to, the movies he watches. However, he considers his two kids as his biggest inspirations. He likes kids because he thinks that kids are the perfect audience since they are willing to be goofy and wonder what if. However, one of his biggest influences has been Dr. Seuss and his famous book, Green Eggs and Ham, which made The Stinky Cheese Man possible. After reading Dr. Seuss books over and over, Scieszka realized that books could also be goofy.

In 1986, he met up with his illustrator Lane Smith and they became instant friends. He already received numerous awards including The 1994 Rhode Island Children's Book Award for The Stinky Cheese Man; Math Curse was an American Library Association Notable Book in 1996; in 1995 he received a Blue Ribbon Book from the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Book, and many more.

He always takes into consideration his audience, especially when he is creating new ideas for his wacky children's books. He uses imagination, creativity and fun to bring three different themes into his works. The themes are putting a new twist into old tales, hearing the other side of the story before judging, and simply having fun.

~~~.xoxo, Ace Gapuz :)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Meet Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was born on September 13, 1916 to Norwegian parents, and he died on November 23, 1990 at the age of 74 due to a rare blood disease -- Myelodysplastic Anaemia. He is currently buried at the Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

His writings were mostly influenced by his own experiences. He had his own autobiography published entitled Boy: Tales of Childhood. At the age of eight, he and four of his friends were caned by the headmaster after putting a dead mouse in a jar of sweets at the local sweet shop, which was owned by a "mean and loathsome" old woman called Mrs. Pratchett. The book came out as the Great Mouse Plot of 1923. Another would be the famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Cadbury, a chocolate company, would occasionally send boxes of new chocolates to his school to be tested by the pupils. Dahl himself apparently used to dream of inventing a new chocolate bar that would win the praise of Mr. Cadbury himself, and inspired him to write his third book for children.

There came a time when Dahl was subject to boycotts in Israel and in other places because of his alleged anti-Semitism (discrimination and prejudice directed to Jews). Years later, he claimed that he was only against injustice, not the Jews. Roald Dahl has also been active during World War II. He was made officer in the King's African Rifles, commanding a platoon of askaris. He also joined the Royal Air Force. Six months later, he was made Pilot officer and was assigned to No. 80 Squadron RAF, flying obsolete Gloster Gladiator, the last biplane fighter plane used by the RAF. In one of his flights, he crashed on a desert because he ran out of fuel and he was given the wrong information of where he was supposed to be headed. This accident blinded him but five months after, he was discharged, had his eyesight back and was ready to fly again. During the war, Dahl supplied intelligence from Washington to Stephenson and his organization known as British Security Coordination. He became a Flight Lieutenant, Assistant Air Attache and he ended the war as a Wing Commander. One of his books about the war was Shot Down Over Libya, which was about the crash of his gladiator.

Dahl created the best loved children's stories of the 20th century. These stories are usually told from the point of view of a child and they involve villains and a good adult to counteract the villains. His mom usually told him stories about mythical Norwegian creatures and his sister's tales were about trolls. These also contributed to Dahl's story making. At present, the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery is open at Buckinghamshire County Museum in nearby Aylesburry. In June 2005, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre opened in Great Missenden to celebrate the work of Roald Dahl and to advance his work in literacy.

~Arianne Aguenza

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Knowing Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman was born on October 4, 1941 to Arthur Cushman and Loretta Lipski in Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Cushman has a bachelor’s degree in English and Greek and a master’s degree in both human behavior and in Museum Studies.

As a child, she loved to read. She was said to go alphabetically down the shelves of the public library. She had a distinct interest in history particularly, the middle ages. But, she wasn’t very fond of the focus always being on the kings, queens and other people in power. As she said “I grew tired of hearing about kings, princes, generals and presidents. I wanted to know what life was like for ordinary young people in other times.” With that, she wrote about normal people at the time.

She also claims to be a late bloomer. This is proven by the fact that she began to write her first book at the age of fifty. Her first book, Catherine, Called Birdy would eventually be her first book and would go on to win numerous awards.

As a writer, Karen Cushman is known for describing characters in great physical detail. Also, she is known for using similar settings throughout her books. Lastly, she is known for using chapter names that are alike.

Currently, she resides in Oakland, California with her husband, daughter, two dogs, a cat and a rabbit.

Sources: http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~kvander/cushman5.html




by Angelo Torres

Getting to Know Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Gabo, was born on March 6, 1928 [though his father said that it it was really 1927] in Aracataca, Magdalena, a town in Northern Colombia. He is
In his early life, he practically had no interest in his law school. He read poetry instead of law. He became like a slacker. Then everything changed when he read Kafka's The Metamorphosis which had a liberating effect on him. He felt free when he wrote.

He began his career as a reporter and editor for regional newspapers. He joined the Baranquilla group which was a group of writers and journalists. The group gave him motivation and inspiration in writing.

His first major work, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, created public controversy. It told a true story of a shipwreck caused by overweight of contrabands aboard a Colombian vessel. In real life, it said that the shipwreck was caused by a storm and glorified the surviving sailor, which wasn't what really happened. He became a persona non grata to the government.

Most of his works took place in "his universe." Characters, events, places repeated and repeated in the stories. They were full of magical realism, which is a combination of ordinary life and fantasy and magic. They also contained actual history.

His most commercially successful novel was One Hundred Years of Solitude which was influenced by how his grandmother told stories, fantastic, supernatural but completely natural, without expression on her face. he had to believe his stories with a brick face. He won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature for One Hundred Years of Solitude.

He was also a political activist. He has always been critical of the political situation in Colombia. He was actually friends with Fidel Castro but he still tackled the shortcomings of the Cuban Revolution and Castro's Regime.
In 1999, he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer and to this day, he undergoes treatments.
-Shai Bautista

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Glimpse of Nick Joaquin

Nicomedes Marquez Joaquin was born in May 4, 1917 in Paco, Manila as the son of Leocadio Y. Joaquin, a lawyer and a colonel of the Philippine Revolution, and Salome Marquez. Despite the fact that his mother was a school teacher, he dropped out of high school as he got bored with classroom work. He continued his studies by browsing at his father's own library and going to the National Library to read books, mainly fictional.

He started as a proofreader at the Philippine Free Press and then rose to contributing editor and essayist. He had the pen name 'Quijano de Manila' (Manila Old Timer). His journalism was markedly both intellectual and provocative, an unknown genre in the Philippines at that time, raising the level of reportage in the country. He left the Free Press in 1970 and transferred to Asia-Philippine Leader as an editor. Nick Joaquin was suspended in 1972 when martial law was declared by President Marcos, and then became the editor of the Philippine Graphic magazine and publisher of the Women’s Weekly.

During his younger years, he started to write short stories, poems, and essays in 1934. n 1947 his essay on the defeat of a Dutch fleet by the Spaniards off the Philippines in 1646 earned him a scholarship to study in Hong Kong at the Albert College, founded by the Dominicans. Joaquin's studies for priesthood explains part the Christian setting of his stories and constant attention to the practices and superstitions of his characters. However, he left the seminary in 1950, finding it impossible for him to adjust to rigid rules.

After years of writing quality journalism and literature, Joaquin died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004. He died in his home in San Juan, Metro Manila. At the time of his death, Nick JoaquĆ­n was editor of Philippine Graphic magazine and publisher of its sister publication, Mirror Weekly, a women’s magazine. He also wrote columns (“Small Beer”) for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Isyu, an opinion tabloid.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

T.C. Boyle : Uncovering One of Literature's Top Cats

Thomas Coraghessan Boyle or T.C. Boyle is an American short story writer and novelist who was born Thomas John Boyle on December 2, 1948 in Peekskill, New York. He earned his BA in English and History from the State University of New York and his MFA and PhD from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Boyle is currently a Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

Despite the fact that T.C. Boyle was born in New York, his stay at the Western frontier to pursue his studies was one of the main things that had influenced some of his early works. It is usually shown in the American preoccupations and settings of his stories. Another event in Boyle’s life which inspired many of his short stories and novels was the post-World War II Baby Boom(1940s-1960s). This generation’s appetites, joys and addictions were the motivations for stories like Modern Love and The Road to Wellville.

Boyle’s pieces are famous for its unusual themes such as the often-misguided efforts of the male hero and the slick appeal of the anti-hero, appear alongside brutal satire, humor, and magic realism. His fiction has been compared to that of Mark Twain’s because it combines humor and social exploration as it deals with the ruthless and unpredictable toll of nature and the human society on the environment. He is also renowned in his historical novels which have been thoroughly researched but nevertheless possessing bizarre and comedic bits.

Some of Boyle’s early achievements include a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim in 1988. After such, he received numerous literary awards like the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel World’s End, the PEN/Malamud Prize, the PEN/West Literary Prize, the Commonwealth Gold Medal for Literature, National Academy of Arts and Letters Award for prose excellence as well as six O. Henry Awards for short fiction, multiple Best American Short Story awards and Drop City is a National Book Award Finalist.

T.C. Boyle presently lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Karen Kvashay and three children Kerrie, Milo and Spencer.

Submitted by: Stephanie Grace C. Lucero     R54     1-BSM AMF

A bit about Estrella Alfon

Estrella Alfon (1917-1983)

Estrella Alfon was a known story writer, journalist, and playwright who hailed from the San Nicolas/Pasil District of Cebu. Unfortunately, she passed away in 1983 at the age of 66.

Estrella Alfon is the author of "Magnificence and other Short Stories", published in 1960. She also wrote several plays and has another book, "Stories of Estrella Alfon", published posthumously in 1994. Besides the book she is known also for winning four Palanca Awards for her One-act plays, winning 3rd place in 1960, 1st in 1962, 2nd in 1963, and 3rd in 1968. She also won a 2nd place Palanca Award for her short story, "The White Dress" in 1974. She was also given the honor of the National Fellowship in Fiction post at the UP Creative Writing Center.

Her stories were mostly about women and their relationships, mother-daughter, women and their lovers, wives and their husbands, and women and their women friends. She was primarily a story-teller, and her writing style seen in the characters she chooses and the way she portrays them. Her female characters are often portrayed as victims of male domination in society, mostly middle class common women who are subject to the patriarchal society. She often drew inspiration from personal experience when writing stories, therefore, her writings would have strong autobiographical elements, making them more personal and intimate, specially for the female audience.

Estrella Alfon wrote after the war and the Japanese occupation. It is possible that her writings were a response to the Spanish-Christian feudalistic tradition, how the Filipino woman was a colonial subject even more so than men. She was also alive around the time of the first and second waves of feminism but because the concept was not as concrete in the Philippines, it may not have been as big an influence. She unfortunately passed away before she could see the development of feminist literary criticism which celebrated the works of women among the predominantly male literary culture.

Edward dela Vega Lit13 R54

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
American novelist and short-story writer, one of the great American writers of the 20th century
Born: July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Chicago, USA; son of country doctor, second of six children
Lived in a strict, religious household; was an exceptional child
Grew up well-rounded, afraid of nothing, did things properly, loved nature (trained by parents)
Worked as reporter, world war 2 ambulance driver, canteen duty
Fell in love a lot of times: Agnes von Kurowksy (nurse), Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gelhorn, Mary Welsh
Loved hunting, fishing, and being in the battlefield
Seen as “action man”, filled with confidence and authority, but was shy and bitterly frustrated in reality
Inquisitive and determined but poor eyesight and health kept him from fulfilling his goals (wanted to be a WW2 soldier)
Turned to writing when dream of being a war hero failed
Wanted everything and nothing
Wrote to cope with life – to exorcise his ghosts, to achieve fame
Killed himself in a log cabin in Ketcham, Idaho (July 2, 1961)
His fiction usually focuses on people living essentials, dangerous lives – soldiers, fishermen, athletes, bullfighters – who met difficulty with stoic courage; direct, terse and monotonous
A Clean Well-lighted Place (1926) was about loneliness, sadness, aging and human connectivity (published in Winner Take Nothing 1933)
Hemingway wrote precisely and directly while Joyce enjoyed sprawling, witty, complex mixtures of worldplay

research done by: Vimischa Marga C. Balazo, 1-BS Bio. :)

The Cynthia Ozick File

Cynthia Ozick (April 28, 1928)

Cynthia Ozick was born in New York City, the second of two children. She subsequently moved to the Bronx with her parents, who owned a pharmacy in the Pelham Bay section.

At the age of five and a half, Ozick entered heder, the Yiddish-Hebrew "room" where, in the America of those years, Jewish pupils were sent for religious instruction. There she was confronted by a rabbi who told Cynthia's bobe [grandmother], who had accompanied her granddaughter to school, in Yiddish, "Take her home; a girl doesn't have to study." Ozick dates her feminism to that time and is especially grateful to her grandmother for bringing her back to school the very next day and insisting that she be accepted.

While Ozick describes the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx as a lovely place, she found it "brutally difficult to be a Jew" there. She remembers having stones thrown at her and being called Christ's killer as she ran past the two churches in her neighborhood.

Three of her stories have won first prize in the O. Henry Prize Story competition, and five of her stories were chosen for republication in the yearly anthologies of Best American Short Stories. The editor of the 1984 volume called her one of the three greatest American writers of stories living today.

-The author of novels, essays and plays, her short story collections include The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories [1971] and Levitation [1982].

-In 1980, Ozick published "The Shawl,"in the New Yorker, considered by many to be her most powerful short story.

~I'm so cool.. The first author file post.. Boo-Yah!


Monday, July 2, 2007

some guidelines

thanks for fixing up the blog, guys! :D

some guidelines on what/how to post:
1) each author file will be one blog post. this is to make the author info easier to find.
2) the author's name should be in the post's title. you can be creative and use a title like "meet cynthia ozick" or "a dossier on salman rushdie"
3) make sure you include photos of author and book cover in the post
4) you may want to include links to other sites where you found the most useful info
5) always include your name at the bottom of your blog post.

i do suggest that you post your author files individually because we wouldn't want to give the beadles too much unnecessary extra work.

thanks again, and see you in class tomorrow :)

~ sandra r

Hello! A Message From Ian, the Moderator

Good evening everyone! This is the English block R54's online database for our literature class headed by Ms. Sandra Roldan. This is where you will be posting your author files, essays, or the requirements that Ms. Roldan will require you to post. I hope that this will be helpful to all of us.

Ian, 1 of the 3 beadles and the person who created this blog.

P.S. I'll edit the CSS for this site later. Or, if anyone of you wants to edit the CSS for this blog, feel free to do so.