Canadian Filipino Karla Comanda is the winner of this year’s Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writer Award in poetry. The announcement was made during the LiterASIAN Literary Festival held in Vancouver last September.
[Note from The Editorial Board: Joseph Planta is the founding editor of TheCommentary.ca, a website that features audio interviews and commentaries. Since 2004, the Vancouver-born, -raised and -based conversationalist has interviewed hundreds of distinguished individuals in the arts, journalism, and politics. Planta spoke to Manila-born and -raised author Miguel Syjuco, whose debut novel Ilustrado was a New York Times Notable Book of 2010. The work also earned Syjuco the 2008 Man Asia Literary Prize, and a Palanca Award for novel in English. With Planta’s permission, the CanadianFilipino.Net is running the interview.]
The balagtasan is a traditional Filipino art form where two protagonists debate the merits of a theme – one supporting it and the other arguing against it. The first balagtasan recorded in Philippine history was held in 1924 to commemorate the birth of national poet Francisco Balthazar Balagtas, hence the name balagtasan. Balagtas is the author of the epic Filipino poem “Florante at Laura.”