“Without literature, we cannot talk about our inner selves and our inner lives,” said Palanca award-winning writer Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr. at the Panayam Lecture Series, a knowledge sharing activity on appreciating literature, on March 15 at the CAS Auditorium in UPLB.
“Literature makes us better humans by teaching us discernment and critical thinking. It shows us our best and worst, and makes us choose the way we live,” Dr. Dalisay further said.
The lecture was part of the 56th UP National Writers Workshop held on March 12-19. This is the second year that the annual writers’ fellowship of the UP Diliman Likhaan: Institute of Creative Writing (ICW) was held at UPLB. Twelve writing fellows from across the country, together with communication arts and humanities students from UPLB, attended the lecture.
Dr. Dalisay, a professor of creative writing at UP Diliman and the vice president for public affairs of UP, helmed the lecture entitled “Why we write and why we read.” In his talk, he went back to the essence of literature and of being a writer and a reader.
“Many writers want to share to others their ideas and emotions; we share our private feelings with complete strangers,” Dr. Dalisay said. “When we share our loneliness with the world, we and the world feel less lonely.” He also talked about the qualities that a writer should have. These include a love of words and reading, an insatiable curiosity, empathy, a sense of narrative, and faith in art.
Dr. Dalisay was not the sole Palanca awardee to grace the event. Also present was Wilfredo Pascual, Jr., also a Palanca laureate, who talked about writing personal essays in his lecture entitled “Pending items, hidden timelines: writing the world through my fragmented self.”
Pascual underscored the use of brokenness, which in his context could be both literal and figurative, in building up a personal essay. “Brokenness is important – an essayist puts pieces of things and makes sense,” he said.
Pascual, who is based in the US, shared how his travels around the world, including his solo sojourns, had given him pieces of experiences and thoughts that he eventually put together until they made sense as one literary piece. He also emphasized the essence of putting “personality” and “face” to the voice of one’s essay.
After the lectures, representatives from the audience were given the opportunity to ask the writer-speakers about their perspectives on form, content, word usage, and latest trends in writing. The audience also asked about the memorable writing experiences of the two speakers.
Present during the lecture were National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera; Dr. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, professor emeritus at the UP Diliman College of Arts and Letters; Dr. J. Neil Garcia, director of the UP Press; and Dr. Rolando Tolentino, director of ICW.
Also present were faculty members of the UPLB Department of Humanities, led by its chairperson, Dr. Leonora Fajutagana, who gave the welcome remarks. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)