Letter Issue 12

   Issue # 12: July-December 2009

Marc Gaba

      I felt nothing and dread, a dread that is empathy returned and transformed by my imagination of its object, and a “nothing” that is not indifference but an outcome of a fatigued disagreement with Philippine journalism, having imagined and wanted a kind of journalism that would take a decidedly thoughtful stand regarding consequence as it comes into being (the media is after all in the position to suggest the future shapes of a public’s life) and finding too often a pandering form of entertainment, fodder for trivia and talk, which the massacre is not. Yet if the news shocked someone older than 30, who is/are responsible?

      At the time of this writing, I am thinking of poetry and art as acquisitive, selective modes of communication, in which poets and artists eventually effect transfers. We recognize all sorts of values, take them and process them (at times keeping process alive—a sign of personhood) that they might become part of memory—I guess that no matter the style, I’m still with Keats and Shelley with respect to public realities: I think poets and artists are soul-making legislators, though our airwaves be light. Poetry and art that have value to the event would not misconstrue it, would not simplify violence, and poets and artists responding to it would not sacrifice the real for the true, nor adjudicate between them. We can do little more than to face up to these things without apologies. Else we could challenge the forms in which we work.