Closing Time

Posted: March 13, 2009 in All and Sundry

the Pogiboys

So today marked the last day of the thesis defense for our BAEnglish major in Creative Writing students. Fittingly, the rounds ended with my advisee Jasper Nikki De La Cruz’s collection of short stories titled “Spider Dealers and Other Stories.” Indeed it was a finale worth remembering as  the collection received rave reviews from all of the members of the panelists; quite an unexpected feat for Nikki who’s often humble about his storytelling abilities. But Nikki is one talented young writer with an original voice (mark my word for it), someone who might be the answer to F. Sionil Jose’s search for an original yet grounded voice in Philippine literature in English. If you are looking for a sense of place, his works reflect that and more, creating a world very familiar yet somewhat strange and grotesque.

Well, I don’t want to preempt this so I’ll stop here and perhaps will just wait for Nikki to publish his works soon.


Jasper Nikki listening to the panelists

This week was a greatly fulfilling week for my advisees. It started with Roselle Jimeno defending her collection of short fiction titled “Deaming Memories,” which also got rave reviews from the panelists. Some of her stories were deemed publishable by fictionist Timothy Montes. So I hope that helped boost her ego (yes, this girl is talented yet insecure) to finally decide to publish her stories and/or submit them to workshops. While Nikki writes long sweeping stories and is more than capable of playing with “character as action,” Roselle on the other hand, relies on her beautiful lyrical and poetic prose, her “old soul” voice, and almost perfect exercise of restraint reminiscent of Anne Beatie. Both are very talented student writers, mind you. And I couldn’t wait to read more stories from them in the future. That is, if they decide to embrace the writer’s life.

I am honestly proud to be their adviser. And happy that I had advisees as good as them during what might be my last year in the University. What a fitting way to end the schoolyear, indeed.

*Congratulations to all of the students who impressed me as well for coming up with wonderful collections of poetry and fiction. I hope another week of revision won’t be as hellish as you might be all thinking. 🙂

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