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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 183.



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Saturday, April 13, 2024

entry arrow11:05 PM | Natto, We Meet Again


So, when I lived in Japan 26 years ago I encountered natto for the first time. It is staple breakfast food for many Japanese but for me it was a horrific encounter. I haaaated it—and unfortunately it has stuck in my mind as probably my least favorite food of all time.

But over the years I’ve always wondered: what if I was just remembering it wrong? I was 21 in 1997, after all, and probably didn’t know what was good or oishii.

So tonight, after 26 years, I dared to try again this dish of fermented soy beans. Just to see.

And yes, I still don’t like it, hahaha. Honestly, my loss.

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entry arrow9:57 PM | All the Gay Boys They Awakened...




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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 182.



This is in celebration of National Literature Month and also National Food Month!

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Thursday, April 04, 2024

entry arrow10:00 PM | A Literary Feast in Dumaguete!



Celebrate National Literature Month with us with a series of events this April, culminating in the first ever Duma LitFest! The literary festival, slated on 26-28 APRIL 2024, will be a three-day event full of literary panels, readings, performances, and screenings. Everyone is welcome! Full schedule to be unveiled soon! Follow us on FB at Dumaguete Literary Festival and on IG at @dumalitfest.



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Wednesday, April 03, 2024

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 181.



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Tuesday, April 02, 2024

entry arrow9:58 PM | Pinoy Names

Most countries have standardized naming conventions [some even have regulations controlling the creation of names, like Japan]. But the Philippines is something else, no? Certainly, we have standard names that spring from local, or Spanish, or American derivations — but a quick look at contemporary name lists is always a revelation. It's mostly a postmodern mishmash of everything, including pop culture and random letters, and intentional misspellings of standard names. Kemyruth Jimenez? Nicki Minaj Montes? Xyzy Gomia? Elijah Yllys Garcia? Xybelle Flores? Maningning or Irene or Epefania could never. What's the strangest name of a Pinoy you know?

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 180.



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Friday, March 22, 2024

entry arrow1:42 PM | Almost There!

This is ready to go to my copyeditor! It is a phone book.



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Thursday, March 21, 2024

entry arrow12:52 PM | Happy World Poetry Day!

I rarely share poems I’ve written — this is really not my genre, although Cesar Aquino once blurbed my personal anthology Bamboo Girls by proclaiming me “a secret poet no more” — so here’s one I wrote back in 2021, when I was first dealing with ADHD in the middle of a raging pandemic. Never published this, or shared this publicly.


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entry arrow7:00 AM | Dumaguete in 1891.



This is the oldest photograph I’ve ever sourced of Dumaguete. For the sake of transparency, I’ve edited the image a bit to enhance the details, and to make the photo into a square. The real photo is on the Dumaguete Tourism social media. [From the Special Collections Library of the University of Michigan]

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Wednesday, March 20, 2024

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 179.



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Sunday, March 17, 2024

entry arrow11:51 AM | The Great American Novels

The Atlantic just dropped their list of The Great American Novels...



Goodness, I have only read 25 of these. Must really go back to serious reading. But happy for Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters making it. I read that book when I was studying in Japan at 21, and I loved it. [I lent it to a Finnish friend, and when she finished, she told me: “Now I understand you much better,” hahaha.] But I’m perplexed with its inclusion in this list, given its “American-ness” conceit: that novel is very much about post-war Philippines. Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart feels like the better fit.

The list, and my reads thus far:

[✓]  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
[   ]  An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (1925)
[   ]  The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein (1925)
[   ]  Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (1927)
[   ]  A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (1929)
[   ]  Passing by Nella Larsen (1929)
[   ]  The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929)
[   ]  Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (1936)
[   ]  Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (1936)
[   ]  East Goes West by Younghill Kang (1937)
[   ]  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
[   ]  U.S.A. by John Dos Passos (1937)
[   ]  Ask the Dust by John Fante (1939)
[   ]  The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939)
[   ]  The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West (1939)
[   ]  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)
[   ]  Native Son by Richard Wright (1940)
[   ]  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940)
[   ]  A Time to Be Born by Dawn Powell (1942)
[   ]  All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946)
[   ]  The Street by Ann Petry (1946)
[   ]  In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes (1947)
[   ]  The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford (1947)
[✓]  The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (1951)
[✓]  Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (1952)
[   ]  Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)
[   ]  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
[   ]  Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks (1953)
[   ]  The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (1953)
[✓]  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
[✓]  Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (1956)
[   ]  Peyton Place by Grace Metalious (1956)
[   ]  Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith (1957)
[   ]  No-No Boy by John Okada (1957)
[✓]  On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
[✓]  The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)
[   ]  Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
[✓]  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1962)
[✓]  Another Country by James Baldwin (1962)
[   ]  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1962)
[✓]  Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (1962)
[   ]  The Zebra-Striped Hearse by Ross Macdonald (1962)
[✓]  The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
[   ]  The Group by Mary McCarthy (1963)
[✓]  The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (1966)
[   ]  A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter (1967)
[   ]  Couples by John Updike (1968)
[   ]  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1968)
[   ]  Divorcing by Susan Taubes (1969)
[✓]  Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth (1969)
[   ]  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
[✓]  Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (1970)
[   ]  Desperate Characters by Paula Fox (1970)
[   ]  Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion (1970)
[   ]  Log of the S.S. The Mrs Unguentine by Stanley Crawford (1972)
[   ]  Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed (1972)
[   ]  Sula by Toni Morrison (1973)
[   ]  The Revolt of the Cockroach People by Oscar Zeta Acosta (1973)
[   ]  Oreo by Fran Ross (1974)
[   ]  The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (1974)
[   ]  Winter in the Blood by James Welch (1974)
[   ]  Corregidora by Gayl Jones (1975)
[   ]  Speedboat by Renata Adler (1976)
[   ]  Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (1977)
[   ]  Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)
[✓]  A Contract With God by Will Eisner (1978)
[✓]  Dancer From the Dance by Andrew Holleran (1978)
[   ]  The Stand by Stephen King (1978)
[   ]  Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (1979)
[   ]  The Dog of the South by Charles Portis (1979)
[✓]  Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (1980)
[   ]  The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara (1980)
[   ]  Little, Big: Or, the Fairies’ Parliament by John Crowley (1981)
[   ]  Oxherding Tale by Charles Johnson (1982)
[   ]  Machine Dreams by Jayne Anne Phillips (1984)
[   ]  Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (1985)
[   ] A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (1986)
[✓]  Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986)
[   ]  Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
[   ]  Dawn by Octavia E. Butler (1987)
[   ]  Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (1989)
[   ]  Tripmaster Monkey by Maxine Hong Kingston (1989)
[✓]  Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn (1990)
[✓]  American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
[   ]  How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (1991)
[   ]  Mating by Norman Rush (1991)
[   ]  Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (1992)
[✓]  The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)
[   ]  So Far From God by Ana Castillo (1993)
[   ]  Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg (1993)
[   ]  The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (1993)
[   ]  Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee (1995)
[   ]  Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth (1995)
[   ]  Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena María Viramontes (1995)
[   ]  Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1996)
[   ]  I Love Dick by Chris Kraus (1997)
[   ]  Underworld by Don DeLillo (1997)
[   ]  The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead (1999)
[   ]  Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (2000)
[   ]  House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)
[   ]  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000)
[✓]  The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt (2000)
[   ]  The Quick and the Dead by Joy Williams (2000)
[   ]  Erasure by Percival Everett (2001)
[   ]  I, the Divine by Rabih Alameddine (2001)
[✓]  The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (2001)
[   ]  Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (2002)
[   ]  Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling (2002)
[   ]  The Russian Debutante’s Handbook by Gary Shteyngart (2002)
[✓]  The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)
[   ]  Veronica by Mary Gaitskill (2005)
[✓]  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (2007)
[   ]  A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010)
[   ]  I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita (2010)
[   ]  Open City by Teju Cole (2011)
[   ]  Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (2011)
[   ]  The Round House by Louise Erdrich (2012)
[   ]  Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
[   ]  Nevada by Imogen Binnie (2013)
[   ]  A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (2014)
[   ]  Family Life by Akhil Sharma (2014)
[   ]  Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (2015)
[   ]  The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (2015)
[   ]  The Sellout by Paul Beatty (2015)
[   ]  The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (2015)
[   ]  Amiable With Big Teeth by Claude McKay (2017)
[   ]  Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (2017)
[   ]  Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (2018)
[   ]  Severance by Ling Ma (2018)
[   ]  There There by Tommy Orange (2018)
[   ]  Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (2019)
[   ]  Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (2019)
[   ]  The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell (2019)
[   ]  No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (2021)
[   ]  The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (2021)
[   ]  Biography of X by Catherine Lacey (2023)

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Thursday, March 14, 2024

entry arrow4:20 PM | Thinking Clearly



I’m going back to meds starting today. Been having enormous difficulty concentrating since December, and my usual tricks to go around the ADHD have not been working. I honestly didn’t want to go back to taking psychotropic meds, but I feel now that I do need to—for the sake of work. But this time around, I’ll take care not to get too entangled with the meds.

But I’ve forgetten this is how a normal brain works: without noise, without fogging. Today, while delivering my lectures, I knew exactly what to say, what words to use, what points to make. The ability to concentrate without trying too hard is a gift most neurotypical people take for granted. I envy this of them. The confidence that springs from raw brainpower is like no other. The world clears up before you, and you are able to breathe a little easier. I listen better, I read better, I speak better.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 178.



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Wednesday, March 06, 2024

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 177.



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Monday, March 04, 2024

entry arrow1:21 AM | Jaclyn Jose, 1964-2024.

What a loss. I hope she makes it to the Oscar In Memoriam, if only to commemorate her Cannes Best Actress win in 2016. [But that's not likely, sigh.]



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Saturday, March 02, 2024

entry arrow11:58 AM | David Bordwell, 1947-2024



All film enthusiasts/film students have their edition of Film Art. This was mine in college, and I still have it. RIP, David Bordwell.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 176.



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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

entry arrow8:08 AM | Cultural Amnesia

The older you get the more horrified you find yourself that many of the cultural milestones you know and that you thought would be forever are completely unrecognizable for younger generations. Sometimes that borders on ageism. I hate it for example when younger people make fun of Madonna today, like she wasn’t a firebrand that completely lit culture for decades and did a lot for the gays. But I take comfort in the fact that there will come a time that future younger people will make fun of Taylor Swift, and totally horrify her fans now. [Confession: Not that I was ever immune to this cultural amnesia when I was younger. When I first heard of the name “Engelbert Humperdinck” in high school, I was like: “The what?” And then laughed so loud. I thought the name so funny. And I actually remember refusing to believe the name was real. I had no idea he was a famous British pop singer in the 1960s. It’s probably just how culture goes. Nothing lasts forever, not even cultural cache.]

Other recent examples:

YouTube: The queens at Roscoe's not knowing who Kyra Sedgwick is.

The Atlantic: Generation Z being unable to read or write in cursive.

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