Do you remember the literary anthologies titled Mondo Elvis and Mondo Barbie (stories and poems)? Snarky, arch, but also a bit nostalgic.
Well, now we've got a Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos equivalent: Mondo Marcos: Writings on Martial Law and the Marcos Babies (in English) and Mondo Marcos: Mga Panulat sa Batas Militar at ng Marcos Babies (in Filipino), both published in late 2010. These books are essentially a two-volume anthology because their contents are different — not merely translations of each other, that is — adding up to almost 400 pages! Like Mondo Barbie and Mondo Elvis, the Mondo Marcos books' takes on the subject(s) are multidimensional and complex in their emotional and intellectual approaches.
A couple of days ago — huzzah, huzzah! — my contributor's copy of the volume in English finally arrived via snailmail. Evidently administrative mishaps had held up my copy. I have three poems in the Mondo Marcos anthology, focusing on Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, and their son "Bongbong" Marcos (as announced in this blog on 26 June two years ago). Immediately below this announcement in that post, read my description of my own family's strange, opposed connections to the Marcos mondo bizarro.
Here's what the book looks like; the volume in Filipino has a contrasting red cover. It's fascinating how the book designer's choice of bright blue next to bright red for both volumes causes visual vibrations that mirror the frenzied lives and reps of the Marcos family. (It just occurred to me that some readers may not know much or, in fact, may know nothing about the Marcos saga
A couple of names were left off because they were not writers: Rolando B. Tolentino (co-editor) and Andy Zapata (photographer). A writer, however, who was left off the back-cover listing is a poet "named" Anonymous
The introduction to Mondo Marcos is cagey about whether or not the poem had been originally submitted to the editors without a name; the editors had some computer-virus problems during their collection of manuscripts and this poem's by-line could have been lost that way. In any case, this anonymous appearance is fitting because of the way Marcos hog-tied free speech during his rule, causing many to protest against him in secret. The Marcos regime is said to have kept a notorious "black list" of opponents and dissenters &mdash quite probably this was more than rumor.
Here is the poem published nameless in Mondo Marcos:
Such a marvelous poem that gets to the heart of the Marcos dynamic. Mondo Marcos editor Frank Cimatu had tried to locate and identify its author via the blogosphere some time back, without success. I hope the poet will come forward and announce her or his identity
I'm very glad to have my three Marcos poems appear finally in Mondo Marcos. One concern: the poems were edited into 14-line blocks rather than my intended three quatrains and a couplet. Nonetheless, I recommend Mondo Marcos highly. These books and the works they contain are crucial historical and personal comments to the ongoing Marcos story and legacy, from writers who were born during martial law or grew up during that time.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about and responses to the larger Mondo Marcos project overall or the specific poem Requiem. Would you please comment below? It's Mondo Marcos, yo! Let's talk.
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