The Best of SAG’s Poems


The literary folios of the three sections

Part of my activities for the three poetry classes I am handling here in Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Institute in Taunggyi is a poetry writing contest. It’s an activity performed simultaneously with the class requirement of the literary folio: all poems in the folio are qualified for the contest, and because all the students are required to submit at least one poem, everybody is qualified. The author of the top poem will get a perfect grade, among other prizes.

This is the first time I did this activity for class, and it culminates a semester of the students’ exposure to diverse poetic forms, from Japanese Heian Waka to American Spoken Word.The kids are still beginning with writing, but the judges chose the poems whose author showed the most promise.

My judges were Filipino writers, so it also had the element of cultural exchange. One judge memorably observed that the kids ‘have very haiku voices’ in their poems, a result perhaps of my emphasis on image as a poetic element. The winner, though, won because most of the judges favoured the poem’s boldness to explore the surreal.

The judges were poet and Palanca awardee CD Borden, poet and Silliman/Iyas/Iligan National Writers Workshop fellow Roberto Klemente Timonera, and fictionist, Iligan National Writers Workshop fellow and Jimmy Balacuit awardee Nal Andrea Jalando-on.

The following are the winning pieces


First Place

A mirror for the blind
soft music for the deaf
singing for the dumb
a comb for a person without hair
Education for the mad
– Akhar Lay, 1st Year Faber


Second Place

When you drop a stone in the well
it sings
and the water shakes like a bull’s-eye.
Now the water calms again,
but the stone cannot emerge.
– Paulina, 2nd Year Ricci


Third Place

comes in from the windows
and goes out through the doors.
– Nan Do Dhar Sa (Noom), 1st Year Stanislaus


Fourth Place

I am a gardener
and I clean the grass sometimes,
but it always grows back again.
So I leave it for a month
and it becomes a wild thicket.
– Ngwe Judith, 1st Year Stanislaus





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