Sunday, August 16, 2015
I managed to fully cover only two years in my research today. But what fruitful years they were! 1947-1948, I am beginning to think, were the years that literary culture in Silliman really began flexing its muscle.
Claro R. Ceniza, more than any other young writer of that time in Dumaguete, was the consummate campus poet, churning one poem after another, rivalled only by Teofilo Marasigan who wrote a vast amount of poetry in Filipino, and German Montenegro, who did the same in Spanish. Edilberto Tiempo was already in Iowa since 1946, and Edith Tiempo [who wrote the popular "Vignette" column in The Sillimanian
] would soon follow. As of 1947, she was still publishing poems of Romantic nature, like "Song of the Druid Maid," which first saw print in the 14 February 1947 issue of The Sillimanian
. In 1947, Rodrigo T. Feria [who came to Silliman with Dolores Stephens Feria] was also installed as the new adviser of the campus paper, and he effectively scrambled the old ways of doing campus and city journalism, leading to some upheavals that made 1948 a peculiar year -- there was no official editorial staff for the paper, which led to the Journalism class taking over its functions, with a revolving set of editors for almost every issue published that year. Aida Rivera [Ford] first made her presence felt in 1948, the same year Miss Silliman [then known as Miss Popularity] was founded. Also that same year, Cesar J. Amigo's “Who Live in the Night” [which was first published in Sunday Times Magazine
] was considered by Manila Chronicle
's This Week Magazine
as one of the best stories of 1948. Rivera and Amigo became the first editors of Sands & Coral, the new literary folio, which everyone described as a "quiet campus affair" that for some reason took the national literary scene by storm. That first issue somehow made quite a stir in Manila, leading to some prominent writers hailing it as Silliman's definite contribution to Philippine letters. NVM Gonzalez even wrote the staff, congratulating them on "a job well done." Ricaredo Demetillo started contributing poetry as well, and one of the campus literary finds was a certain Mamerto M. Espina, whose story “Matchsticks for the Suicide Squad” impressed everyone with its masterful prose.
Labels: dumaguete, history, journalism, negros, philippine literature, research, silliman, writers, writing
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