Departing from his last neoconceptualist poetry collection, Mendiola Masaker (2014), U.S.-based author E. San Juan, Jr. crafted this new offering of anti-poems, experimental graphic word-art, and “unexpressive” writing. AMBIL , the book’s title, signifies irony, ambiguity, subversive or iconoclastic meanings.
San Juan’s point of departure is conceptualist art inspired by dadaist, surrealist avantgarde modes initiated by Duchamp, Schwitters, and postconceptualist artists. In one project. the poet seeks to renew or resituate conventional proverbs and banalities by using satiric and parodic techniques to defamiliarize orthodox conventions. In doing so, AMBIL rejects institutionalized art validated with prizes, honors, awards. Instead of commodified spectacles, it seeks to provoke critical resistance to consumerized culture and the narcotic fetishistic spectacles saturating the corporate mass media and the neoliberal public sphere.
In line with his previous critiques of traditional Filipino poetics, San Juan extends his inventions or installations found in Alay sa Paglikha ng BukangLiwayway (Ateneo U Press, 2000). This new work elaborates the experiments in three subsequent volumes: Sapagkat Iniibig Kita (UP Press, 2004). Ulikba (UST Publishing House 2012) and Kundiman sa Gitna ng Karimlan (2014). Ultimately, AMBIL seeks to disrupt the status quo and provoke the emergence of the new in situations and events that violate orthodoxies and conformisms.
Emeritus professor of English, Comparative Literature and Ethnic Studies, San Juan was previously a fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University; and of the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas. He has taught at the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, Leuven University (Belgium), Tamkang University (Taiwan), University of Trento (Italy), Brooklyn College, Wesleyan University, and Washington State University. His recent books are In the Wake of Terror (Lexington), Critique and Social Transformation (Mellen), US Imperialism and Revolution in the Philippines (Palgrave), Toward Filipino Self-determination (SUNY), Critical Interventions (Lambert), and Between Empire and Insurgency: the Philippines in the New Millennium (U.P. Press, 2015).–#
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