Fulbright Scholar Compares Poems by Filipinos in US, Phils.

Fulbright Scholar Compares Poems by Filipinos in US, Phils.

New York-based poet Mr. Joseph O. Legaspi arrived on campus on January 22 as a Fulbright research scholar for four months.

Mr. Legaspi chose Silliman University for his comparative study between the kind of poetry written in English by Filipinos in the Philippines and those written by Filipino-Americans in the United States.

The University not being in Manila but in the charming city of Dumaguete, which is an hour away by plane from the country’s capital, was a serious factor in narrowing down his options. And Silliman being home to Asia’s oldest running creative writing workshop, the Silliman University National Writers Workshop, sealed the deal for him.

 “A lot of people think Manila is the Philippines, but it’s not,” says Mr. Legaspi. He, however, admits learning nothing about the Philippines outside Luzon, until he received suggestions to pursue his research interest in literature in Silliman.

His choice also reflects something intimate and personal. “Writers here focus more on their craft. And I want to see what that looks like,” he said.

Mr. Legaspi works at Columbia University in New York.  He has published a book titled “Imago”, a collection of poems, which he refers to as “love letters” to his home country, the Philippines. 

It was at age 13 when Mr. Legaspi migrated to the United States with his family.  This was the year after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, which sparked the first EDSA People Power Revolution.

While in Dumaguete, he plans on working on his next book. He is also scheduled to handle three activities over the period of his Fulbright fellowship in Silliman: a poetry reading and discussion on February 23, a workshop with alumnus and award-winning poet Dr. Cesar Ruiz Aquino on February 28, and a lecture on his current works on April 20.