YR 47 Issue 1 2011
 
 
Faces
Conceptual writing taken to a new level
By ZARA JANELLA M. CACHA
“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression  The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than what appears on the paper,” - Isaac Bashevis Singer

SOME people say that writing is a skill that needs to be developed. This premise may ring true for many, but not for Angelo Suarez, whose prowess in the field of literature may have been naturally ingrained in him.

A graduate of AB Literature in 2005, Suarez is one of the widely-recognized young poets in the country. His exceptional skill and talent in writing made him win different literary recognitions from the Carlos
Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, the Maningning Miclat Foundation, and the National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle.

Despite all of the achievements he obtained at a young age, Suarez recognizes the fact that winning an award is not the full realization of his passion, but just the beginning of the long road he must tread
as a writer.

With enthusiasm for writing and excellence combined together, an open book awaits him and all of his escapades in the realm of Philippine literature.

Brilliant beginnings

When he was young, Suarez shared that he was a fan of comic books. He said that during his childhood, he aspired to become a comic writer and editor, but as years passed, this childhood dream did not materialize.

His love for books made him realize his passion for writing and prompted him to pursue this dream. 

“When I read Howl and Great Philippine Jungle Energy Café by Alfred Yuson, I sensed that this is what I want to do—to write,” he said.

On his first year at the University, he won the Rector’s Literary Award from The Varsitarian’s Gawad Ustetika, the University’s annual student awards for literature. His talent flourished further and on his second year, he was named Thomasian Poet of the Year.

Backed by his natural skill in writing and the recognitions he obtained from different award-giving institutions, he became editor in chief of the
Flame in his senior year. Some of his books that were successfully published were The Nymph of MTV (2003), Else It Was Purely Girls (2005), and Dissonant Umbrellas: Notes Toward a Gesamtkunstwerk (2007).

The first, which was his first poetry collection bagged the Struga International Poetry Prize from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the Republic of Macedonia.

Despite these literary achievements, Suarez believes that he is just one of the typical writers of his age who does not feel completely free in his writings. He added that Filipino writers are still bound by a set
of rules and standards in doing their craft. “It is more of a sense of compliance—how obedient you are to a particular regime of thinking that made you win,” he added. “In short, I am just going with the flow, I know it is jaded but it is just how it is—being compliant.”

The ‘conceptualist’

Belonging to one of the country’s young contemporary poets, Suarez follows no style and is very unorthodox when it comes to his writings. “I avoid style,” he said.

The conceptualist idea in his compositions makes his writings unique. He believes that what he writes is only mechanical and what is more important is the process of generating the ideas contained by his compositions.

“I read Vanessa Place, one of the good conceptualist writers, and the famous Kenneth Goldsmith, the poster boy of conceptualist writing,” he said. Currently, Suarez works as an advertiser. He is in the process of working on two books namely,
Joint and Circuit. He describes Joint as a one-liner poem spread across multiple pages, totally comprising a bunch of words linked together in approximately 100 pages.

On the other hand,
Circuit is an anthology of blurbs that Suarez considers closest to his heart. It is an anthology of anthologies wherein around 80 people whom he invited to contribute heeded his request.
According to Suarez, if there is one thing good about conceptualist work, it is the fact that you do not have to exert great effort to produce something.

“The content is always instantly generated. Just have one concept, and you can put anything inside that,” he added. He is also working on another project, the
Adventures in Parataxis, a self-published book that will hopefully be out by the end of the year. The book is a unique compilation of write-ups and transcriptions of the conversations he had with taxi drivers.

Playing the game

On a side note, Suarez said that students should take every opportunity and strive hard to get good grades in order to obtain a good scholastic record. In his case, he treats his awards as his aces. According to him, they serve as the assurance for companies to trust his capability to write.

“Resume is the first foot in the door,” he said. “It is easy to rebel when you are within the rules. You have to play the game.” Addressing all the budding writers who wanted to venture the same path he treaded, Suarez said they must keep on practicing the craft to improve.

“Don’t stop writing,” he said.
“Mahirap pero pakapalan lang ‘yan ng mukha.” Adding to this, he noted that writing is done not just to express oneself, but to contribute something as well. However, he emphasized that the contribution to be made must be influential because in an industry where everyone can write, crossing borders is an advantage.

“There are so many things we can do. Why are we stuck in a particular way of thinking?” he said. “Do not be stuck doing something worthless. Do what you really want.”
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Year 47 |  Issue 3 |  2011
Angelo Suarez
Year 47 |  Issue 4 |  2012