Verses Versus the Virus: Bersong Europinoy 2020 Poetry Reading sets to capture the hearts of the viewers

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As part of the “Viva Europa” celebration of Europe month the Bersong Europinoy 2020 Poetry Reading is launched and joined by acclaimed Filipino writers and other officials from the embassies and consulates.

Dubbed as VERSES VERSUS THE VIRUS, this literary heritage, which is a part of the many activities of VIVA EUROPA 2020 will be participated by the EU Delegation to the Philippines in collaboration with the Embassies of Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy through the Philippine-Italian Association, Poland, Spain through Instituto Cervantes and multi-awarded Filipino poets together with LIRA will be streamed live at the FB of EU Delegation.

Mr. Thomas Wiersing, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the EU Delegation to the Philippines said that the poetry recital was revived to provide a platform to better understand and appreciate each other’s culture and to strengthen people-to-people links between Europeans and Filipinos. A brainchild of  Instituto Cervantes, it used to be held under the framework of “Dia del Libro” gathering all diplomats and literary enthusiasts from among the members of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, EU member states’ embassies and cultural institutes. 

Strong Literary Line-up

No less than Hungarian Ambassador Jozsef Bencze and Polish Embassy’s Chargé d’affaires Jarosław Szczepankiewicz will read literary masterpieces “Még nem éleg” (Not Yet Enough) by Vaci Mihaly and ”The Remembrance” by Julian Tuwim, respectively. Both diplomats are book authors themselves.

Eight-year-old Dora Sediva, daughter of Czech Ambassador  Jana Sediva,  at such an early age, is also into poetry. Dora shall read  “ZNÁM KŘIŠŤÁLOVOU STUDÁNKU” (The Crystal Spring) by Josef Václav Sládek.

Mr. Rafael de Bustamante, Political Counsellor, EU Delegation to the Philippines,  who is from Spain, shall read some stanzas from  Dr. Jose Rizal’s “Mi Ultimo Adios”. 

Multi-awarded poets Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta and Alma Anonas-Carpio shall share their poems about life and living. Mookie shall read her piece “ On Breathe”  which she wrote in February this year while the world was still on the brink of the pandemic.

“We had not yet seen its profoundly heartbreaking effects. It was my way of dealing with something so unprecedented and so unknown – the poem makes the case that our intimacies  (the many kinds there are)  are what keeps us going”.

Mookie is author of three poetry collections “The Proxy Eros”, “Burning House” and “Hush  Harbor”.

Ms Alma Anonas-Carpio is the Literary Editor of the Philippines Graphic magazine. She is also a member of the Manila Critics Circle and a judge of the annual National Book Awards in the Philippines.  She was a Palanca awardee for poetry in 1994  and was a Palanca judge for the Kabataan essay in 2001.

She shall read a recent piece she wrote “Pandemic Love”,  a stirring “love” poem amidst this pandemic.

As if the above are not enough, get ready for Mr. Alessandro Milani, General Manager of the Philippine Italian Association for his reading of “Canta La Giola” (Sing the Joy!); Amiel Diaz, Political and Cultural Affairs Officer of the Czech Embassy shall read “Awit ng Pag-ibig” translated by National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario from the poem “Zhudebněná milostná báseň” – A Love Poem Set to Music by Jan Kresaldo.

Mr. Javier Galvan, Director of Instituto Cervantes de Manila, shall read “Remedia Amoris 1” written by Julio Martinez Mesanza, from his book “Europa.” Emma Briffaut, Education Attache, French Embassy shall read the famous poem “Liberté” by Paul Eluard with English translation by Martin Macalintal, Audio-Visual Attache of the French Embassy. 

Soprano Mary Louise Alcantara shall provide a special intermission as she will sing the “Vissi d’arte” from Act 2 of the opera “Tosca” by Giacomo Puccini. This piece was sung by Tosca thinking of her fate and that of her beloved. Mary Louise played the role of “Sisa” as a soprano in the highly-acclaimed “Noli Me Tangere”, The Opera at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. 

Young Filipino poets, Ralph Fonte and Kid Orit of Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo shall recite their pieces “Mapa ng Pagsibol” and “Summer in Isolation”.