Patricia Calzo Vega examines the world of Lang Leav for Fully Booked Zine.
In stark contrast to the layered cultural references, the veneer of madcap and mayhem, and the polished finish of Akina’s world and her visual artworks, Leav’s verses are sparse, self-referential, and tentative (sometimes to the point of feeling incomplete). Like short verses scribbled off the cuff and sent off with nary a glance—a distinct possibility, given their social media origins; Leav was also known to respond to poem requests left in her ask box. Emily Dickinson is an acknowledged and quite obvious stylistic influence, and her partner, Michael Faudet—also an artist and poet—is both muse and collaborator.
Emotion it has in spades, and is laid bare for everyone to see. Love and Misadventure tackles the entire breadth of experience of a young person awakening to love: solitary musings of unrequited feeling, the comfort of phantom lovers, the transitory nature of relationships, the bitterness of heartbreak and regret, and, finally, the delirious joy of finding love and discovering its pleasures. Perhaps the experience of watching this story unfurl online, as Leav relived loves and imagined in verse, made readers invested in the outcome and seeing her happy ending.
Dante Gagelonia ponders the life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
While the concept of magical realism came about years before Garcia Marquez published One Hundred Years of Solitude, it was his novel that best illustrated its spirit. One Hundred Years of Solitude did more than tell the story of a family: it did so in a way that demonstrated the way he saw the realities of Latin American culture, and of Colombian identity. Through the lens of metaphorical Macondo and by utilizing the complex shadows cast by the Buendía family, García Márquez depicted ideas, morals and realities that would inspire an entire generation of Latin American expression. The Latin American Boom of the 1960s and 1970s counted One Hundred Years of Solitude as one of its seminal works, and García Márquez as one of its four undisputed pillars alongside Mario Vargas LLosa, Carlos Fuentes and Julio Cortazár.
There is so much more to García Márquez’s writing than what can be found in One Hundred Years of Solitude, however. While it stands as a capital city in the landscape of his work, his other novels, novellas and short stories still comprise the rest of a bountiful and detailed map. Each of his stories is different yet familiar, staying true more to a sense of being rather than to a strict sense of style. He would reference specific historical periods while generalizing locations, dissect emotions while obfuscating intent, and employ other fluid narrative techniques. It’s an elusive sort of vitality, giving readers a grounded sense of reality while leaving just enough unspoken. There is room to interpret, to feel, to explore.
Originally published in the Fully Booked Zine, June-July 2014.
Originally published in the Fully Booked Zine in March 2013, Paul Catiang writes about one of his favorite science fiction authors. Here’s an excerpt:
“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” This is the sky above Chiba City in the post-World War III dystopia of William Gibson’s the Sprawl trilogy. It is a world described by metaphors derived from the scorched earth, ubiquitous technology, and mercenary cutthroats that comprise its denizens’ preconscious memories.
The Sprawl trilogy tells stories located in the vast divide between the upper and lower classes, with the middle class all but obliterated, forced into drone-like consumerism and poverty. For those who can escape the previous generation’s post-industrial entrenchment, they can swim in the waters of the emergent, innovative class of mercenary professionals. Here, professionals pit competence, discretion, contacts, and savvy to stay relevant to the black-market world of biz—one misstep and they’re dead.
Gibson likewise takes punk’s in-your-face anger, discontent, hairstyles, and internecine gang wars, and overlays it all onto the matrix of cyberspace and dystopian wastelands. Where business and government respond to this digital void by imposing orderly data lattices, console cowboys introduce chaos through socially engineered mass hysteria, chemical warfare, and cybernetic implants—a madness that conceals their precise methods.
Mary Ann Marchadesch writes about the many ways Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted, reworked, translated, performed and updated, in the Philippines and around Asia.
The earliest theatrical performances of the plays were in schools, with the opening of “As You Like It” in the Philippine Normal School and “The Merchant of Venice” in Ateneo de Manila, both in 1910, and the performance of “Julius Caesar” in Silliman Institute (now University) in 1911, all performed with a “ridiculous fidelity,” Dr Ick notes—rote productions with no room for alternative interpretations.
These performances were not solely limited to the elite learning institutions of the time. Provincial high schools also got in on the action, with Batangas High School mounting “The Merchant of Venice” in 1916.
However, of all of Shakepeare’s dramas, none holds more sway over Filipino sensibility and sentimentality than the tragedy of star-crossed lovers in “Romeo and Juliet.” The melodrama of forbidden young love struck—and still strikes—a chord in the Filipino masses, and “Romeo and Juliet” has racked up more adaptations and performances in the Philippines than any other play—from Soto’s Kapampangan adaptation to the awit, “Ang Sintang Dalisay” (1901); the 1917 novel “Bulag and Pagibig” by Pascual de Leon, and Salvador Magno’s “Romeo Kag Julieta” in Cebuano (1932).