American poet Louise Gluck wins 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature

Louise Gluck

STOCKHOLM — American poet Louise Gluck won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”, the Swedish Academy said on Thursday.

Louise Elisabeth Glück is both a poet and essayist.

According to Wikipedia, the 77-year-old Gluck has won many major literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, National Humanities Medal, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, Bollingen Prize, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. 

The Nobel prizes are named after dynamite inventor and wealthy businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.

Nobel prizes for medicine, physics and chemistry were awarded earlier this week, and the peace prize is to be announced on Friday.

The literature prize has been dogged by controversy over the past several years.

In 2019 the Academy exceptionally named two winners after postponing the 2018 prize in the wake of a sexual assault scandal involving the husband of one of its members.

The secretive, 234-year-old Academy later announced changes it billed as improving the transparency of the awards process.

But one of the literature laureates announced last year, the Austrian novelist and playright Peter Handke, had drawn wide international criticism over his portrayal of Serbia as a victim during the 1990s Balkan wars and for attending the funeral of its nationalist strongman leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Milosevic died in detention in 2006 while awaiting trial on genocide charges at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

The 2016 literature prize granted to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan sharply divided opinion over whether a popular musician should be given an award that had been largely the domain of novelists and playwrights.

Like much of public life around the world, this year’s awards have taken place under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the cancellation of the splashy Nobel prize-giving ceremony held each December in Stockholm.

Instead, a televised event will be held with winners receiving their honours in their home countries.

(Justyna Pawlak & Mark Heinrich, Reuters)

Makati wall artists dedicate work to Covid-19 front-liners

Mural artists apply finishing strokes and light touches on a wall art or mural in Makati City that they dedicated in honor of the country’s front-liners in the battle against killer coronavirus disease.

The National Capital Region acknowledged as the epicenter of Covid-19 infections is still under general community quarantine although the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases hinted at putting the NCR and nearby provinces under a more relaxed modified GCQ restriction to perk up the battered economy.

PH is one of the most impacted country of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia.

Jhun Mabanag / BENJAMIN CUARESMA

Jafri paints giant canvas for children of the world

British artist Sacha Jafri

By Tracy Cabrera

PACING barefoot back and forth across his giant canvas stretched across the ballroom floor of a luxury Dubai hotel, British artist Sacha Jafri aims to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest art canvas and raise $30 million to fund health and education initiatives for children in impoverished parts of the world.

The 44-year-old contemporary painter listens to the singing of a young girl as he completes the extraordinary masterpiece just under 2,000 square meters (20,000 square feet), before it is broken down into 60 framed works of art.

The young girl performed as inspiration for Jafri, who has dubbed his creation as ‘Journey of Humanity’ for its depiction of the world and mankind. Parts of it will go up for auction in February next year.

“They will own a piece of the largest painting ever created, but more than that they’ll own a piece of history and, ultimately, humanity,” Jafri, in paint-splattered jeans and shirt, disclosed in an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP).

For seven months and at a pace of 18-20 hours a day, Jafri has been working on his latest creation with almost 300 layers of paint, using 1,400 gallons (more than 5,000 liters) and about 1,000 brushes.

“It’s been a big journey,” he said.

“It depicts the soul of the Earth, nature, humanity itself, the love and nurture of the mother, the guidance and protection of the father as they guide their child through life and enable them to feel safe, loved and brave, so they can grow their wings, make their dreams come true and take them into the solar system,” Jafri added.

The artist said coronavirus has focused his efforts towards connecting people to counter its impact on children. 

Children from 140 countries submitted paintings online to be included in Jafri’s creation with its eight ‘portals’.

“I paste those into the circular portals . . . I want to take us to a better world through the hearts, minds and souls of our children,” said Jafri enthused.

The children’s paintings depicted their own journeys, with many drawing a spikey ball representing the disease.

“Imagine what . . . people can do if we actually stopped all the nonsense and realized one world, one soul, one planet,” Jafri pointed out.

For the day’s last show on the canvas, girls and boys performed an acrobatic, interpretive dance to John Lennon’s Imagine, with Jafri on the sidelines giving encouragement.

“Completely intertwine with what’s in front of you. Become one,” he appealed in conclusion.

Gueño Life: SK Balayan Batangas Spoken Poetry Competition Winner 2020

Gueño Life with Con. Carlos Ermita Alvarez is a new segment in Maharlika News Batangas, which features Batangueños, Balayan life, and events. 

Mariel D. Gatpandan,18 years old, bags first place in the Spoke Poetry contest of the SK-Balayan last August. The theme was “Youth Engagement for Global Action.”

From Maharlika TV, Gueño Life, and Con. Carlos Ermita Alvarez, Congrats, Mariel!

Stay tuned for more announcements. (IA/DS)

Featured Photo: Balayan, also known for its good food and goodwill. 

LET ME BEGIN

Let me begin by mocking the face of danger,

Daredeviling the unknown and the uncertain.

I swallow my pride and borrow from the sea

Some of its winds, to sail on, to keep sailing on.

A bird perches on a dead tree,

A bird that doesn’t sing but stares.

With its silent stillness it stares at me,

With its blue and white plume it stares at me,

There atop a tree that has resisted

The strength of a dozen men,

Their saws and bolos utterly useless

Against the hard skin of the dead tree,

Abode of a forest spirit for half a century,

Now killed by the expanding city,

Its green leaves that used to shelter travelers

From the heat of the sun now gone,

Its fruits that used to tempt wild and playful children

Now mere memory,

And the spirit returns to Mother Earth’s bosom,

Cursing the invaders of its space,

But such is reality, population multiplies

And sacred spaces become strange memory.

Alas! The persistence of men

Overcomes the timber, it falls,

Oh, how it falls with its dead root and all,

Its dead cry a thud upon hitting the ground.

I want to save it from the saws and bolos,

I want to preserve it in-front of the edifice,

I want to make it a monument of the forest

That is no longer there. But in the dead of night,

A roaring vehicle snatches the dead tree,

The dead fallen tree, to bring it

Somewhere where destiny reduces

The once proud bearer of life to mere lumber.

But the spirit visits the building once in a while,

Disturbing the peace of those who sleep there,

It doesn’t matter if it’s daytime or nighttime

The spirit becomes motion, becomes a whisper,

Becomes a presence among the living.

Business is not good but I persist

In that part of the city, giving employment

To those who have nowhere else to go to,

To those whose families have nothing to eat,

To those whose dreams don’t meet the national

Dream and don’t count in government affairs,

To those who make it to the national statistics

As faceless and nameless numbers.

To them, I am the final and last recourse.

To them I am an angel among the damned.

It’s an October in the once sacred space,

Now littered with population

And a backhoe rules the verbing

Where animistic nouns may only

Watch with wonder and disgust,

There in October, in the now of October,

In the October also of cursing memories,

Of deeper hurts, of daytime nightmares,

Of a parting with two thousand trees

And a hundred springs, there in the now

Of October, of the nevermore October,

I am at the once sacred space in an unholy hour,

While the earth wet with rain,

I fall into the backhoe-wounded path,

I roll onto the slippery mud,

In my long-sleeves shattered

By the fall and the rolling,

I try to grab at anything to break the momentum

But there’s only mud,

And there, an inch before I am delivered

Into the twenty-foot deep pit

Where concrete pipes await my falling flesh

The rolling stops – I am saved

By a piece of lumber planted into that part

Of the earth to mark where the backhoe

Stops filling the pits.

I bear the long wound of the fall on my back,

As if a wing has just been surgically removed

From my body. I am supposed to be dead

But am still alive, and the dreams

That haunt me bear the metaphors

Of those who claim to be living.

Copyright © 2012, Edwin M. Cordevilla