Thomasian poets join multicultural live poetry recital with European Union

Four award-winning Thomasian authors and poets, who are a part of the academic staff of the University of Santo Tomas and authors of the UST Publishing House, recited their self-written works at “Bersong EuroPinoy”, an online poetry festival organized by the European Union Delegation to the Philippines, the embassies and cultural agencies of EU’s member institutions, and the University of Santo Tomas. The event was live-streamed on May 27, 2022, through the EU in the Philippines’ Facebook page.

Together with the Embassies of Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany (and the German Academic Exchange Service), Ireland, Spain (and Instituto Cervantes), France (and Alliance Française), Italy (and the Philippine-Italian Association), Austria, Poland, and UST through the Office of Public Affairs, the European Union Delegation to the Philippines set the theme “Pagkakaisa, Pag-asa” (Togetherness, Hope) for the international event. The festival is part of the Viva Europa cultural program, in commemoration of Europe Day, which took place on May 9.

Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the Philippines Dr. Ana Sanchez Ruiz said in her opening remarks that Bersong EuroPinoy is a “festival of the richness and diversity of the European and Filipino languages, which brings to you the passion beneath 15 literary gems revered by European readers and Filipino poets. Poetry mirrors life, nurtures friendship and compassion, saves our core beings, our souls, emotions, and our identities.”

UST Secretary-General Rev. Fr. Louie R. Coronel, O.P., EHL, called the program “a celebration of oneness, which bridges the east and the west, and brings a message of hope to every nation. We may be thousands of miles apart, but we feel and think as unified citizens of this world. We dream for our sustainable and peaceful future, and we hope for harmony in our social relationship with all our brothers and sisters as stewards of God’s creation.”

UST academic staff Asst. Prof. Joselito delos Reyes, Ph.D., recited “Ang Init Na ‘to”; UST PH Assistant Director Asst. Prof. Ned Parfan presented “The Waves”; Asst. Prof. Paul Castillo delivered “Para Lang Sa Langit”; and Assoc. Prof. Nerisa del Carmen Guevara presented “How to talk to the Dead in the Garden.”

Diplomats and representatives from the Embassies of Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany and the German Academic Exchange Service, Ireland, Spain and the Instituto Cervantes Manila, France, Italy and the Philippine Italian Association, Austria, and Poland recited poems in their original languages with English subtitles.  

Included in the presentations were: “Tree of Justice” by František Novotnŷ (recited by Dalibor Mička, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Czech Republic); “Hope” by Freidrich Schiller (recited by Dr. Monica Fröhlich, German Academic Exchange Service); “When all the others were away at Mass” by Seamus Heaney (recited by Irish Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. William Carlos); “Wild Swans” by William Butler Yeats (recited by Brian McCrohan, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Ireland); Variaciones Sobre El Instante Eterno (The Eternal Instant) by Jose Hierro (recited by Professor Carmen Ruiz de Apodaca, Instituto Cervantes Manila); Liberté by Paul Eluard (recited by students from the French School Manila); Un Adesso Immenso (Immense Now), by Filippo Balestra (recited by himself with audio-visual rendition by Alessio Bertallot); Amo (Love) by Grazia Deledda (recited by Cristina Morrica, Philippine-Italian Association); An Mauern Hin (Along Walls) by Georg Trakl (recited by Tajana Platzer, Embassy of Austria); and Stepy Akermanskie (The Akkerman Steppe) by Adam Mickiewicz (recited by the Chargé d’affaires a.i. Mr. Jarosław Roman Szczepankiewicz, Embassy of Poland).

A special presentation of “Doordeweeks” (On Weekdays) was recited by its author, the poet Mustafa Kör, who is the 5th Poet Laureate (National Poet) of Belgium.

The UST Singers, two-time winners of the Luciano Pavarotti Choir of the World trophy, delighted the audience of students and diplomats from Europe and the Philippines with song renditions.

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