Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

Bobis, M. C. (2004). Pag-Uli, Pag-Uwi, Homecoming. Poetry in Three Tongues, Manila: University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 94p.



Research Background
Bilingual poetry books are common, trilingual collections less so. The poems often develop in one specific language and end in another. What if the writing of a trilingual collection plays randomly, uncertainly among languages? What if other new ‘languages’ are added?

Research Contribution
This trilingual collection plays with English, Pilipino and Bikol, the poet’s native dialect. ‘Play’ is the operative word: the points of origin and destination in the process of translation are not fixed in one language. All languages are constantly ‘contesting-romancing’ each other. ‘Like in any romance, they surrender pieces of the self. Words, images and metaphors are sacrificed. Time and context are shaken; all must forego precious affinities.’ (Preface, p1) This work includes other ‘languages’: the poet’s line drawings and her notated musical piece. The layered nature of the poetic image is pushed to the extreme: all senses are literally and metaphorically engaged, even interrogated.

Research Significance
This collection contributed to the Philippine National Balagtas Award (2006), a major lifetime award for Bobis’ literary works. She adapted one of the poems, ‘Covenant’, into a radio piece produced by the ABC. It was broadcast four times (2002-2009) and was ABC’s entry to the 2002 international US Third Coast Festival. Two poems, ‘GapoBatoStone’ and ‘Ko’, were published in a Singapore-Australia anthology (2007), and the first is being developed by the poet and a composer as sonic installation. The work’s excellence resides not only in its original form but in its potential to be re-invented as other ‘languages’.