School of Humanities lauds new National Artist Gemino H Abad
13 Jun 2022
The School of Humanities congratulates Gemino H Abad on his induction into the Order of National Artists of the Philippines.
Abad is the author of several collections of poems and essays, including Poems and Parables (1986) and Past Mountain Dreaming (2015), both of which received the National Book Award. Apart from his poetry and critical essays, his contribution to Philippine literature consists in his historical anthologies of Philippine poetry in English, beginning with Man of Earth (1989), co-edited with Edna Z Manlapaz, formerly with the English Department, and published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press. He held the Irwin Chair in Creative Writing at the English Department in 1993 and periodically taught at the Department in the 2000s.
Abad's notion of "writing from English" is possibly his chief (and controversial) contribution to Philippine literary discourse. In Abad's view, imaginative writing, poetry in particular, is an act of "forging"; a foreign language is transformed by the writer's sensibility so that literature written in English is actually written from English and as such is Filipino, not foreign.
Abad is the son of Antonio M Abad, who wrote novels and plays in Spanish, including El Campeon, reprinted in 2013 with notes by Salvador Garcia and Luisa Young of the Department of Modern Languages, and the father of Cyan Abad Jugo (AB Literature '91), who writes fiction in English and is the associate editor of the School of Humanities journal Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia. He is also the teacher of a number of faculty members of the School of Humanities.