05 February 2009

Powell question # 9

Here is my unsolicited answer to the ninth question raised by Adam Donaldson Powell:

"Do you feel that most contemporary literary critics and editors are well-enough equipped to properly judge your bilingualism?"

I hate to say it, but my answer is a resounding NO. First of all, I myself as a critic am a total idiot when it comes to checking if Bienvenido Santos's statement that he writes in Capampangan using English words is true or not. I've written quite a number of articles on Santos, but I cannot read Capampangan and, therefore, probably missed the boat altogether. Secondly, my play Josephine, which I consider my best work even if nobody else does and which has lots of lines in Tagalog, Spanish, and English, as well as a line each from several other languages, has never been really understood, despite its having been staged a number of times by different theater groups and its being the subject of some critical studies. Of course, it's very possible that I wrote it so badly that my artistic intentions just were not communicated by the words on the page. On the other hand, if I give myself credit (which, of course, as an egoistic author, I do), it's the fault of literary critics who know only one or two languages.

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