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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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Sunday, November 12, 2023

entry arrow7:54 PM | The Poetry of Gemma Racoma Tadena

I knew of the late Dumaguete poet and dancer Gemma Racoma Tadena, but except for a poem or two published in the pages of the Sands and Coral, I barely knew anything about her. I knew she was the wife of Artemio Tadena, the much-awarded poet and teacher who gave Foundation University its literary glories [but died too young at the age of 37, of a heart attack, a day before he would have turned 38]. Of Artemio, at least we know a sufficient amount of information, and a few years ago Myrna Peña-Reyes and National Artist for Literature Gemino H. Abad edited together a book of his poems [This Craft, As With a Woman Loved, published by UST Press], most of which came from several Palanca-winning collections. But of Gemma, almost nothing. Which is why I was so happy to stumble across a slim volume of her poems, a chapbook really, titled Tidal Edge, which collects 26 of her poems, and is dedicated to her family [including her sons Ireland Luke and Adrian Gregory], and to Edilberto and Edith Tiempo. Published in 1981 by GT Dance Center, her dance studio, it's only 46 pages in all — but this contains the poetic voice of a Dumaguete writer long sadly forgotten. I'm glad I got hold of this book. Hopefully Foundation University can reprint this book.

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