Monday, March 15, 2010

Literary Period After EDSA 1986 - Present

The year 1986 marks a new beginning of a new scene for Filipino writers and artists. It saw the downfall of late President Ferdinand Marcos when he placed the Philippines under martial rule last September 21,1972. This action does not only oppress the writers' right to free expression but also created conditions that made collaboration and cooperation convenient choices for artists' struggling for recognition and survival. Furthermore, the growth of underground writing was created both in urban and in the countryside.

The popular "Edsa Revolution" (EDSA, a highway in Metro Manila that runs north to south from Caloocan to Baclaran) has paved the way for the flight of the dictator and his family to Hawaii, USA on February 24,1986. The revolt established the presidency of Corazon Aquino, which marked the "restoration" of a pre-Martial Law society. However, the Philippines did not recover that easily. The years that followed "Edsa" was a wild "roller-coaster" ride for many Filipinos. The unease times was caused by natural disasters that left the economic plans in shambles.
Militancy and belligerence best describes writing under the Martial Law regime. With the overthrow of the enemy in 1986, however, the literary activity showed certain disorientation manifesting itself in a proliferation of concerns taken up by individual writers and groups.
Creative writing centers after Edsa maybe grouped into two. Academic institutions where Creative Writing is part of the curricular offerings, and students majoring in Literature are able to come in contact with elder creative writers/critics/professors belonged to the first group. Such academic institutions includes the Silliman University; the University of the Philippines; the Ateneo de Manila University; De la Salle University; and last but not the least, San Carlos University in Cebu.
The second group is composed of writers' organizations that periodically sponsor symposia on writing and/or set up workshops for its members and other interested parties. UMPIL (Unyon ng mga Manunulat ng Pilipino), PANULAT (Pambansang Unyon ng mga Manunulat), Panday-Lipi, GAT (Galian sa Arte at Tula), KATHA, LIRA (Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo), GUMIL (Gunglo Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano), LUDABI (Lubas sa Dagang Binisaya) and P.E.N.
Writers get to hear about new developments in writing and derive enthusiasm for their craft through these twin centers. The two "unyon" function as umbrellas under which writers belonging to a diversity of organizations socialize with fellow writers.
Award giving bodies, annual competitions and publications provide the incentives for writers to keep producing. These actions perform the important service of keeping the writers in the public consciousness, making it possible for commentators and audiences to identify significant established writers and give attention to emerging new talents.
The National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), a post-EDSA state sponsored institution, was created by the law in 1992, superseding the Presidential Commission on Culture and the Arts which was established in 1987. The said institution has a Committee on Literary Arts which funds workshops, conferences, publications and a variety of projects geared towards the production of a "national literature". The committee has the aim of developing writing that is multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and truly national.
Non-governmental organizations have helped hand in hand with some institutions in giving recognition to writers from specific sectors in the society. These NGO's includes the Amado V. Hernandez Foundation; the GAPAS foundation, and the KAIBIGAN.
Campus publications are another group of outlet that is of importance as a source of non-traditional, experimental writing. These campus publications could either be a weekly student newspapers, quarterly magazines, or annual literary journals. The University of the Philippines has the Collegian; The Diliman Review; and The Literary Apprentice. Silliman University has Sands and Coral; Ateneo de Manila University issues Heights and Philippine Studies; De la Salle University has Malate, Likha, and Malay to offer; University of Santo Tomas publishes The Varsitarian.
Overall, the character of the Philippine literary scene after "EDSA" maybe pinpointed be referring to the theories that inform literary production, to the products issuing from the publishers, to the dominant concerns demonstrated by the writers' output, and to the direction towards which literary studies are tending.
1. There is in the academe an emerging critical orientation that draws its concerns and insights from literary theorizing current in England and the United States.
2. Post-EDSA publishing has been marked by adventurousness, a willingness to gamble on "non-traditional" projects.
3. The declining prestige of the New Criticism, whose rigorous aesthetic norms has previously functioned as a Procrustean bed on which Filipino authors and their works were measured, has opened a gap in the critical evaluation of literary works.
4. The fourth and final characteristic of post-EDSA writing is the development thrust towards the retrieval and the recuperation of writing in Philippine languages other than Tagalog.


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