AMADO V. HERNANDEZ: AN INTRODUCTION
By general consensus, Amado V. Hernandez (1903-1970) is the most serviceable Filipino revolutionary artist of the twentieth-century whose poetry, fiction, and plays in Filipino (the national language of 80 million Filipinos) continue to inspire the popular struggle for national democracy and genuine independence against U.S. imperialism.
Born in Tondo, Manila, on September 13, 1903, Hernandez began his career in journalism in the twenties when the initial massive Filipino resistance against U.S. military rule had declined. He became editor of the Manila daily Mabuhay from 1932 to 1934. In 1939 he won the Philippine Commonwealth Award for a nationalist historical epic, Pilipinas; in 1940 his collection of mainly traditional poems, Kayumanggi, won a Commonwealth Award. During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines (1942-45), Hernandez served as an intelligence officer for the underground guerilla resistance, an experience reflected in his major novel of neocolonial dependency and revolt, Mga Ibong Mandaragit.
After the war, Hernandez assumed the role of public intellectual: he organized the Philippine Newspaper Guild in 1945; and he spoke out on national issues as an elected councilor of Manila in 1945-46 and 1948-51. It was during his presidency of the Congress of Labor Organizations (1947), the largest federation of militant trade unions in the country, that Hernandez graduated from the romantic reformism of his early years to become a national-democratic militant. Meanwhile, the establishment of a U.S. neocolony in the Republic of the Philippines in 1946 extended the Cold War in the repression of local nationalist, progressive movements. It intensified the feudal landlord exploitation of the peasantry and reinforced the impoverishment of workers and middle strata, leading to the Huk uprising in the late forties and early fifties. An allegorical representation of the sociopolitical crisis of the country from the thirties up to the fifties can be found in Hernandez’s realistic novel, Luha ng Buwaya, and the epic poem of class struggle, Bayang Malaya, for which he received the prestigious Balagtas Memorial Award.
Owing to his anti-imperialist work, Hernandez was arrested on January 26, 1951 and accused of complicity with the Communist-led uprising. During the time in which he was imprisoned in various military camps for five years and six months, Hernandez wrote most of the satiric, agitational poems in Isang Dipang Langit and the pedagogical drama, Muntinlupa. His singular achievement is what I would call the invention of the Filipino “concrete universal,” the dialectical representation of socially typical situations that project the contradictions of ordinary life in a neocolonial formation, with its peculiar idioms and idiosyncratic nuances. Stories like “Langaw Sa Isang Basong Gatas” (see San Juan 1974) and poems like “Mga Muog ng Uri,” “Bartolina,” “Ang Dalaw,” and “Kung Tuyo na ang Luha Mo” exemplify this dialectical poetics in the service of what Mao calls in the Yenan Forum the twin tasks of partisan art: the uplifting of standards and the popularization of revolutionary ideas.
From 1956 to 1960, Hernandez wrote countless stories under various pseudonyms for the leading weekly, Liwayway; he also wrote columns for the daily Taliba, and edited the radical newspapers Ang Makabayan (1956-58) and Ang Masa (1967-70). But it was his participation in the Afro-Asian Writers’ Emergency Conference in Beijing, China, in June-July 1966, followed by his active intervention in the International War Crimes Tribunal (organized by Bertrand Russell, Jean Paul Sartre, and others) in November 1966, that demonstrated Hernandez’s renewed commitment to the advance of the internationalist struggle against global capitalism. His numerous honors culminated in the Republic Cultural Heritage Award (1962) and National Artist Award given posthumously in 1973, a recognition of his life-long service to the cause of liberatory poetics and social justice. Up to the day (March 24, 1970) he died, Hernandez was involved as a leading protagonist in mass rallies against imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism, for democratic socialism and national independence.
Hernandez, Amado V. Bayang Malaya. Introduction by Teodoro Agoncillo. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1969.
—-. Isang Dipang Langit. Manila: International Graphic Service, 1961.
—-. Luha ng Buwaya. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1963.
—-. Mga Ibong Mandaragit. Manila: International Graphic Service, 1969.
—-. Panata sa Kalayaan ni Ka Amado. Ed. Andres Cristobal Cruz. Manila, Philippines: Atang de la Rama Hernandez, 1970.
—-. Rice Grains. Translated by E. San Juan, Jr. New York: International Publishers, 1966.
Malay, Rosario S. “Mga Ibong Mandaragit and the Second Propaganda Movement.” General Education Journal 17 (1969-70): 107-117.
San Juan, E. “Social Consciousness and Revolt in Modern Philippine Poetry.” Books Abroad (Autumn 1965): 394-399.
—-. Ang Sining ng Tula. Quezon City: Alemar-Phoenix Publishing House, 1975.
—-. Introduction to Modern Pilipino Literature. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc, 1974.
—-. Only By Struggle: Reflections on Philippine Culture, Politics and Society. Quezon City: Giraffe Books, 2002.
—–. Toward A People’s Literature. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1984.
Yu, Rose, Torres, ed. Amado V. Hernandez: Tudla at Tudling [Anthology of Published Poems 1921-1970]. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1986.
SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND REVOLT IN MODERN PHILIPPINE POETRY
By E. SAN JUAN, Jr.
(From BOOKS ABROAD, Autumn 1965, pp. 394-399)
While the western world has labored since the French Revolution under the destructive forces of alienation and exploitation, the Philippines, ever since its colonization by Spain in the seventeenth century and then more violently in the Revolution of 1898, has been searching for its integral image as a nation in which the material forces of production in all aspects of life are intensely unified with the breath and being of all the people. Originally social in conception and practice, its literature has been destined to lend the masses the virtue of its reconciling power. Its literature then was a literature of power, a power whose expression was the action of knowledge itself in human life.
Of the revolutionary spirits of the nineteenth century, Francisco Balagtas (1788-1862) first established the image of the poet as a propagandist, a leader of popular revolt. It was he above all who perceived that only by working within the dominant social structure and its ideological norms, as reflected by the public taste for escapist romances and zarzuelas (moro-moro plays), could he succeed in penetrating and seizing basic motivations, potentially charged but implicit, of the oppressed bourgeoisie and working-class. Indeed, such a vision of conflict between the productive and the parasitic ranks of society served a pivotal role in his art. Despite Balagtas’s grasp of dialectic, he could not transcend the urge of sentiment. His art was nourished by peasant and soil, by primitive feeling, and the natural elements. He could thus purely lyricize—this is itself a mode of sublimation and release under the feudal setup—a material that was utterly agonizing and afflicting in import:
Sa loob at labas ng bayan kong sawi
kaliluha’y siyang nangyayaring hari,
kagalinga’t bait ay nalulugami,
ininis sa hukay ng dusa’t pighati.
(Within and without my fallen country, injustice reigns supreme. Downtrodden are virtue and integrity, pushed down loaded with mockery into the pit of grief and hopelessness.)
Using a subtle kind of allegorical indirection and thinly disguised narrative plot, Balagtas plays on the theme of usurpation: a young Albanian prince, condemned to die in the jungle by usurpers of his father’s throne, laments his plight, his beloved, his country. By a gracious deus ex machina, a device that falls within the decorum of the genre, a Moorish prince climactically saves him. With the commonplace fairly-tale epilogue, Florante at Laura (“The Life and Adventures of Florante and Laura”) ends on a note that is the distinctive chord of all “capitalist-oriented” art, what Kenneth Burke calls its purgative or discharging effect.
Balagtas is now generally regarded as “the father of Tagalog poetry.” Criticism of his work, however, has been up to now superficial and altogether disillusioning. In the effort to emphasize his importance, the academicians have enlisted him in the futile and unnecessary language question. In the Philippines, language has predominantly tended to mirror underlying class antagonisms. However, there has been recently a continual revival of the old zarzuelas, and this nostalgic archaism contributes to the discharge of fantasy, which the movies and all sorts of religious ceremony accomplish daily. This is the general situation today. Searching for an identity of its own, for a justifying poetics, Tagalog literature meanwhile finally arrives at a crisis. Should it go on forever affirming eternal abstract truths and happy sentiments? Or should it devote itself to the refinement of its own self-contained formal properties? Is there any other alternative?
I need not allude at this point to the steadfast living tradition of Tagalog literature which begins with the justly honored hymn, written in the old Tagalog script, found in the first book Doctrina Christiana (1593). From that period up to the turn of the nineteenth century, the native consciousness acted its dreams and hallucinations in kumintangs and native poetical jousts; it performed its nightmare in aborted uprisings and mute pain. This span of time, of course, demands a history of its own which we shall hope to outline here. When the first Philippine Republic failed to sustain itself before American might, it was felt that a new epoch had begun in a century of international upheavals. Only with the 1898 Revolution did the Filipinos really achieve for the first time what may be considered the historical and existential awareness in which the human being figures as the agent of his own freedom or his own servitude. Rizal, the national hero; Mabini, Marcelo del Pilar, Bonifacio, and others—each one embodied historical insights in his chosen literary form.
It was at this moment that the renowned scholar Epifanio de los Santos y Cristobal witnessed to an interpretation of Philippine history as a dialectical movement founded on distinct social relationships. This is implied in his Nuestra literature a travis de los siglos, an eloquent testimony to the Filipino quest for articulate identity. De los Santos observes with perspicacity the renaissance of the Tagalog theater:
De rechazo lanzose al descubrimiento de nuevos mundos el teatro Tagalo, y con base historica contemporanea, y por Io mismo, no muy depurada y sujeta a contenci6n, y con tendencia a simbolismos, pero con orientaci6n restauradora hasta cierto punto de los netamente nacional.
(Then the Tagolog theater went forth in quest of new worlds to conquer. Its plays now were based on contemporaneous history; these plays, not deriving from an established order, now reflect the changes of the times. They showed also a tendency toward symbolism and, to a certain degree, toward the restoration of everything purely national.)
Tagalog literature, de los Santos felt, now bega@ to reflect “la unidad de ideas y sentimientos del pueblo filipino, infundi’ndole ese espiritu de critica que le distingue” (“the unity of ideas and sentiments of the Filipinos, which is infused by the spirit of criticism that distinguishes it”). But what makes de los Santos’s reckoning a document of profound historical value lies in his perception, quite rare in his time, of the wholeness or unity of collective life which is an incontrovertible proof of national solidarity (for Rizal and Mabini only gave voice to a condition beyond the sway of their finite, historically determined wills and characters). This collective oneness, exercising its own spontaneous judgment, suggests its defining quality as a manifestation of the historical spirit which assumes phenomenal proportions in mass insurrection against established authority.
De los Santos describes the Zeitgeist in these terms:
Como entonces desconocianse las castas dominantes (que aparecieron en pleno siglo XIX), y el gobernalle de los pueblos Io manejaban buenos hombres de la tierra, la influencia de las campanas no podia ser entonces mis edificante y democritica. Por esto, las ideas y cuanto agita, intriga, y regocija la vida universitaria se reproducia en los pueblos, encontrando eco la cabana del labriego …. Del caso de la poblaci6n, la disputa de la lira emigraba a los bantayanes y huertos; de estos, de un respingo, salia disparada para la choza rustica, y de 6sta al parrado del pastor que sestea el ganado.
(As the dominant castes—which did not appear until the middle of the 19th century—were then unknown and the government of the pueblos was in the hands of the good sons of the soil, the influence of the country could not have been more edifying and democratic than it was in those days. The ideas and everything that agitates, worries and cheers university life were reproduced in the pueblos and found an echo in the hut of the husband-man…. From the town proper the lyrical discussion migrated to the outlying barrios, and thence, by a bound it would translate itself to the rustic hut and from it to the shelter of the herder tending the cattle.)
What Epifanio de los Santos understood in a direct though groping, exploratory mode was in fact an important historical movement of the spirit which found incarnation in the revolution against Spain, against the American military invasion, against rampant abusive landlordism. Its implications still reverberate today. But despite his keen intuition, de los Santos’s ideational approach and his formulation of his judgments were sorely limited by his class and situation. He was not without a certain Castilian haughtiness, an ivory-towerish stance when it came to confronting the illiterate underdogs and the emergent proletariat. Perhaps he was too discriminating. Events developed with a vengeance, for eventually the peasant Sakdalist uprising of the Thirties usurped the role which the native literature had abandoned for nostalgic and mawkish indulgence.
With the appearance of Lope K. Santos’s classic socialist novel Banaag at Sikat (1904) an era of disappointment and abortive dreams ended; an era of self-scrutiny and perhaps examination of conscience began. According to Julian Cruz Balmaceda, a literary historian, the “Age of Change” had run full circle; the “Age of Prosperity,” he optimistically predicts, has now begun. Apparently the period of the Commonwealth in which Balmaceda matured had blinded him into accepting categorical absolutes in disregard of social changes. For to conceive of progress or prosperity in literature is certainly to nourish a concept without factual basis; the historian succumbs to his own egoistic epigonism. I submit that it is precisely in the task of destroying illusions, deceit, and injustice that Tagalog literature has recurrently assumed its traditional but hitherto eclipsed function of being totally committed to the evolving realities of the human condition.
At the head of this renaissance today, Amado V. Hernandez leads all Filipino writers on all fronts. Indeed no one could be more fit to be the noble heir of the tradition that sprouted from the ancient odes of praise, victory, mourning, and celebration; a tradition which flourished in Balagtas, Marcelo del Pilar, Lope K. Santos; and in English, Arguilla, Salvador Lopez, and Rotor, among others. Hernandez has proved true to the implicit fidelity of the Filipino poet to feeling and thought. The poet, particularly in times of crisis, has always mobilized his spiritual resources and talent in the name of concrete human goals. His life in fact bears witness to the archetypal fate of the prophetic voice crying in the wilderness of political anarchy and civil dissolution.
Within the span of this century, Hernandez’s career epitomizes the radical transformation that the character of world literature itself has undergone. His development parallels that of William Butler Yeats—a worthy comparison. For in youth Hernandez, like Yeats, supremely valued feeling, private and subjective ideals, solitude, dreams, as central topics of concern. And like Yeats, Hernandez toward old age elected themes of immediate social significance: reform, honesty in public office, civic virtue, heroic selflessness. To be sure, his art was not even at the start an entirely personal affair. The Filipino poet has always been the figure of the verbal magician, priest of town-fiestas and crowning of queens; himself moving at the center of the crowd, moved by it and moving it.
Since the beginning of this century, Philippine poetry in the venacular has sustained itself in visions and sentiment; in pathos that found resonance in the tropic languor of the atmosphere and the docility of colonial-mindedness. It lived on and throve in the popular battle of wits called balagtasan (after Balagtas), a modified form of “fly-ting” in which two poets extemporaneously rhymed on a given argument. But these arguments, trivial as they may appear, drew their perpetual vitality from the people—their fortunes and their hopes. The masses indulged in romantic subjects: e.g., Who should possess the flower kampupot (for example), the bee or the butterfly? Hernandez himself participated in the first balagtasan on April 6, 1924; moreover, he wrote poems in the sublime mood during his early apprenticeship. The titles of his pieces reveal a complacent romanticism undisturbed by the ironies of daily existence: “Ang Halik ng Buwan” (“The Kiss of the Moon”), “Halimuyak ng Gunita” (“The Fragrance of Memory”), “Sa Kandungan ng Gabi” (“In the Bosom of Night”), etc.
Like all cultural outgrowths of the historical process, poetry embodies and reflects in its reconciling movement the dialectic of social and personal experience. It proves inevitably the rule in Tagalog poetry, despite the bourgeois appeal to self-indulgence in pure mawkish melodrama. When the joust was held in 1926, the debate involved the current political dispute between two groups in Congress, the Coalition versus the Anti-Coalition. I need not describe in detail the political circumstances that then obtained in the country. Suffice it to say that the urgency of man’s historical existence invariably reveals itself in all the manifestations of mind and spirit, while such manifestations may in themselves illumine the tensions inherent in the predicaments of life. From this perspective, such an event becomes symbolic: the balagtasan finally came to acknowledge and uphold its lineage from the social custom of the duplo, a poetical tournament usually held on the ninth night of a funeral vigil. In the duplo, the collective virtually acts as the chief protagonist. With the rite itself-for it was functionally a rite-the opponents, the belyako (male) and belyaka (female) performed, with the dead in the background, man’s affirmation of life and the ceaseless pursuit of justice and truth. What could be more appropriate for this role than the Dionysian masks of the belyakos?
A survivor of the generation that first initiated self-awareness in vernacular letters, Hernandez underwent a rebirth after the harrowing ordeal of the Second World War. Everybody then seemed implicated in the reconstruction of the whole country. Some withdrew entirely from the chaotic scene to roast in their private hells or roost in their private heavens; others submitted their conscience and responsibility either to the Church or to Mammon. In opposition to the general ennui, Hernandez faced, with consciousness of his full complicity in the fate of all his countrymen, the landscape of physical desolation and political confusion. He committed himself to articulate in public modes the dreams of the poor and the protests of the victims. just as Yeats did not refuse the call of the Irish Republic and accepted the role of senator, Hernandez likewise abandoned his “laurel and lyre” in order to serve twice as councilor of the capital city of Manila. More importantly he worked as president of the Congress of Labor Organizations (CLO), the largest labor union in the Philippines. Corruption in the government drove the masses to revolt; soon the country neared total collapse. in the witch-hunting hysteria compared to which the McCarthy interlude in the United States was a mild analogue, Hernandez fell a victim to the iron heel of a quasi-totalitarian establishment. More than six years spent in the prison of Muntinlupa was more than enough to persuade him the more forcefully of a truth that no doubt he has already fused with his flesh and blood as a sacramental verity: that every man has a responsibility for the fate of his fellow man. When the government under a new regime finally atoned for its guilt by awarding him the i962 Republic Cultural Heritage Award, it was merely putting its “official seal” to an accomplished fact: Hernandez was the acclaimed tribune of the common people.
While Yeats, aware that art withers if deprived of the renewing energy of organic physical life, exploits myth and supernatural beliefs for his poetic synthesis, Hernandez operates on an absolutely modern premise. Hernandez accepts time and history as the groundwork of the transcendent; man’s surpassing can only be executed under mortal contingency. His theater is historical experience, his themes and motifs are existential confrontations of fundamental dilemmas. Consequently, Hernandez’s poetry may be called “Impure” if by “impure” we refer to the discords of tone, nuance, and implications subsisting within the harmony of rhythm and singleness of effect. His poetry is therefore impure in the sense that Pablo Neruda’s Odas elementales or Brecht’s ballads or Mayakovsky’s speeches-in-verse are impure. Such an impurity constitutes the essential dimension of life that the poet embodies in verbal form, qualified by his recognition of man’s potentialities for good and an apprehension of the temptations that beset him. In this context Hernandez’s achievement represents the integrity of a consciousness whose activity, the source of all meaning and significance, is its own viru and vindication.
With the publication of his collected poems in 1961, Isang Dipang Langit (“An Armful of Sky”), Hernandez takes the spearhead in the drive of the creative imagination to acquire its being and significance in the life of the people. Hernandez constantly emphasizes the creative principle of a poem. He declares, for instance: “A poem is a virtus of the mind arising out of the dynamic synthesis of experience (absorbed from the outside), and memory and feeling (active inside) attained through the powers of the word” ["Ang tula ay hiyas-diwa ng pinaglangkap na karanasan (mula sa labas) at damdami't guniguni (sa loob) ng makata, sa bisa ng salita"]. Hernandez also supports Albert Camus’s allegiance to the concrete, immediate dialogue of man and his worldly destiny. With Karl Marx he believes that the creative act and its product is not for all time, but is rather for the historical situation that it objectively and concretely interprets—the necessary premise which art must accept before it can hope to transcend the historical situation. Man must recognize that only in the acceptance of necessity, as Engels once wrote, will he gain his freedom. Although admitting the identity of art as a “concrete universal,” Hernandez however affirms the primacy of human experience here and now. After all, what Dante conceives as the four levels of exegesis cannot be realized unless the literal or denotative level is first thoroughly understood.
A cursory look at Hernandez’s body of work will show that his range encompasses a multitude of subjects and modes of treatment that no other poet writing in the Philippines today can approximate or equal. In form and content his poetry exploits all particulars and universals: ants, Mahatma Gandhi, revolution, freedom, love, prison, fate, etc. He mixes styles, invents tropes, combines perspectives in the most effective arrangement of diction and tonalities of imagery. Expert in the traditional patterns of prosody and poetic syntax, Hernandez daringly introduces new, unorthodox approaches: he is both reformer and rebel in the traditions singular paradox. Since man lives in time, Hernandez implicitly assumes, the poem, while preserving its essence as an independent aesthetic organism, displays plural modes of existence in relation to man. The scope of the authors he has translated will at least indicate the breadth of his sympathy and interests: Shakespeare, Balzac, Whitman, Lorca, Eliot, Pushkin, Robert Graves, Vallejo, Jimenez, Ruben Dario, Sandburg, and many others.
In the complex structure of Hernandez’s poems, the world always reveals itself in the process of creation and metamorphosis. Such a process takes account of the contradictions and unities we feel and see around us; it always pursues the direction of a controlling will which, though it ultimately refines and idealizes, is geared, however, to, declare its fidelity to the verities of raw fact and sensory experience. In the craft of Hernandez’s poetry, attitudes and values are seen always in the ascendant. Humanistic principles order images, diction, and syntax within clearly outlined situations. The classic balance of thought and sentiment consistently serves the purpose of the whole configuration, namely, to show the “realizing” function of the mind that discerns the nexus of intention, the style and telos or informing purpose which integrate objects of sensory perception, thought, and instinct into a significant whole. Though Hernandez often suggests the hold of the Christian faith as a means of dramatic resolution, a sort of apologia, his confession nevertheless acquires validity only insofar as it is deeply personal, instinctive, and liberated from the tyrannizing rigidity of established doctrines or the paralyzing influence of institutions that serves as the most efficient weapon of the class in power. Hernandez seeks to transcend the vicissitudes of actuality through an acceptance of natural human limitations. We may aptly call Hernandez’s art a vow of humility. But it is also in its humble way a poetry of revolt, infused with the spirit of defiance against the forces of nihilism and death. Its singular aim is the affirmation of life in its creative continuity. Consider how, in the following poem, all these traits and qualities find exemplary objectifications:
Kaputol na bakal na dungkal sa bundok,
dinalisay muna sa apoy, lumambot;
sa isang pandaya’y matyagang pinukpok,
niyari ng panday na nasa ng loob.
Walang anuano’y naging kagamitan
araro na ngayon ang bakal na iyan-,
ang bukiri’y buong sipag na binungkal,
kasabay ang tanim ng dilig ng ulan.
Nguni’t isang araw, sumiklab ang gulo
at ang sambayanan ay bulkang sumubo;
tanang makabansa’y nagtayo ng hukbo
pagka’t may laban nang nagaalimpuyo!
Ang lumang araro’y pinagbagang dagii,
nilagyan ng talim nang pandaying muli:
naging tabak namag tila humihingi
ng paghihiganti ng lahing sinawi!
Kaputot na bakal na kislap ma’y wala,
nguni’t ang halaga’y hindi matingkala—
ginawang araro’t pambuhay ng madla,
ginawang sandata: pananggol ng bansa!
Pagrnasdan ang panday, bakal din anaki,
walang kayabanga’t nasa isang tabi;
subali’t sa kanyang kamay na marumi
ay naryan ang buhay at pagsasarili!
A piece of iron-ore pried out of the mountain
Yielded to the fire’s caress till it softened,
Then hammered with patience in a smithshop,
Molded by the smith to his heart’s desire.
In a moment’s lapse a tool emerges;
That ore is now a steel plough;
With all energy the soil’s torn up
To the rhythm of sowing, to the blessing of rain.
But one day, revolt blazed up!
And the whole country was a fiery volcano,
And all patriots formed an army
Deep in the struggle’s destructive rage!
Swiftly the old plough glows white-hot
Forged anew with burning edge;
This is the blade that seems to beg
Vengeance for an injured race.
A piece of steel without even a glitter,
But its value can never be measured—
Forged into a plough: nourisher of all!
Forged into a weapon: anvil of the land!
Behold the blacksmith solid as steel,
Bearing no pride, humbly quiet in his corner;
But in his dirty hands he holds
Life, liberation, and national selfhood.
If there is any writer in the Philippines today who can be said to represent the promise of a native literature that is intensely lived by the people in spirit and deed, Amado V. Hernandez duly deserves this citation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
E. SAN JUAN is co-director of the Board of Philippine Forum, New York City, and heads the Philippine Cultural Studies Center in Connecticut, USA He was recently visiting professor of literature at the National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, and professor of American Studies at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. Among his recent books are BEYOND POSTCOLONIAL THEORY (Palgrave), RACISM AND CULTURAL STUDIES (Duke University Press), and WORKING THROUGH THE CONTRADICTIONS (Bucknell University Press). Three books in Filipino were launched in Manila, Philippines, recently: HIMAGSIK (De La Salle University Press), TINIK SA KALULUWA (Anvil), and SAPAGKAT INIIBIG KITA (University of the Philippines). His award-winning book of criticism, TOWARD A PEOPLE’S LITERATURE, is being re-issued by the University of the Philippines Press.